Ellison Bashes Fat Clients, Microsoft

LAS VEGAS – Larry Ellison’s COMDEX keynote address Monday night was more like half and half -- half Oracle Corp’s. new vision for uniform, homogenous computing, and half Microsoft-bashing.

Ellison, Chairman and CEO of Oracle, said that “it dawned on me in 1995 that (the computer industry) was making a fundamental mistake in making the PC more powerful and complex, when we needed to make it simpler. We were totally thinking about it the wrong way.”

For years, applications have been migrating off of desktops and onto servers, Ellison said, and for good reason. “Every child should be unique, but not every computer,” he commented. The same problem existed with servers as well as PC’s -- “millions of permutations of hardware and software which make them impossible to test.

“Everything is custom made, custom configured, and custom managed. This can’t be right, this can’t be reliable, this can’t be cost-effective,” Ellison continued.

All those different configurations have contributed heavily to the shortage of technical workers in the industry, Ellison claimed, because of the enormous support needs of so many different configurations.

Ellison’s remarks supplemented those from an earlier press conference in which Oracle announced a partnership with Compaq Computer Corp. to produce the Oracle9i Application Server.

Compaq Chairman and CEO Michael Capellas briefly joined Ellison onstage to tout the partnership. He had to tread gently, however, given Compaq’s close working relationship with Microsoft.

Never willing to pass up an opportunity to blast Bill Gates and Microsoft, Ellison spent a good deal of his keynote disparaging Microsoft’s claims of faster-than-Oracle performance on recent TPC-C benchmark tests. The only application that runs faster on Microsoft’s SQL database is the benchmark test itself, Ellison claimed.

He also took issue with the way Microsoft set up their test, spreading the database over a three-node cluster in three equal parts. Thus, said Ellison, if one server goes out, the whole thing crashes. He said Oracle’s three-node cluster was more reliable, since the database is on one box, and all three servers can access it, so if one server crashes, the other two still have full access to all the data.

Microsoft got in their own shots, handing out mugs that poked fun at Oracle and claiming their software is grossly overpriced. Keith Ward

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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