Oracle Corp. customers are intrigued by recent musings from Larry Ellison, the company's chief executive officer, suggesting Oracle might offer its own Linux distribution. Users would welcome the tighter integration a complete Oracle software stack of operating system, database, middleware and applications could provide, they said in interviews this week.
"An Oracle-hatched version of Linux would undoubtedly be the most optimal when running Oracle [databases]," said Tony Jedlinski, vice president, administration and warehouse operations of Roman Inc., a wholesale gift-ware distributor based in Addison, Illinois. "I don't know if there's a need yet. I'd have no hesitation adopting it if the Oracle brand name was on it." An Oracle Linux would give more credibility to the open-source operating system and lessen any doubts users might have in adopting the software, he added.
Jedlinski is also executive vice president of the Independent Oracle Users Group (IOUG) and vice president of the group's Web operations. Linux is set to become the dominant operating system used by IOUG members, displacing Sun Microsystems Inc.'s Solaris flavor of Unix, according to a survey conducted earlier this year.
Whether Oracle ends up developing or acquiring its own Linux or puts in place a strategic Linux partnership to get closer to the open-source operating system, Ari Kaplan, IOUG president, likes the idea of a complete Oracle software stack. More tight coupling between Linux and Oracle databases would result in both faster database performance and improve manageability of the software, he said.
The software stack idea will be one likely discussion topic at the Collaborate 06 technology and applications forum due to take place in Nashville, Tennessee, April 23-27. Expected to attract over 5,000 attendees, the forum will bring together three leading Oracle user groups as well as Oracle executives and third-party vendors.
The user groups are the IOUG, which focuses on technology and databases, the Oracle Application Users Group (OAUG) and Quest International Users Group. OAUG serves a broad community of Oracle application users while Quest concentrates on the PeopleSoft and J.D. Edwards application customers Oracle acquired through the January 2005 purchase of PeopleSoft.
Key concerns among Oracle users include security and how the vendor is progressing on its road map to bring its applications together, according to Kaplan, Jedlinski and John Matelski, president of Quest and chief security officer and deputy chief information officer for the city of Orlando.
While Oracle users appear happy with the company's improvements in providing patch management, a major issue remains how to secure their systems from internal and external threats, Kaplan said.
Oracle's attitude towards customers changed when President Charles Phillips joined the company in 2003 from Morgan Stanley, Kaplan said. "Charles set a tone that customers are to be listened to and appreciated," Jedlinski added.
In the wake of Oracle's buying spree, users will be keen to get a first-hand look at the technologies Oracle has recently acquired, according to Kaplan, such as the InnoDB and Sleepycat databases and the identity management technologies from the purchases of Thor and OctetSpring. While users can see the strategy behind Oracle's acquisitions, they're interested to understand the new technologies and how the company plans to incorporate them into its product portfolio, he said.