Saturday, October 31, 2009

De-Mystifying the "Cloud"



Cloud Computing is drawing attention from almost all the CIO's. Is it another fad or is the Cloud "real." Since the field is evolving, let us look at some of the details here.

In general Cloud Computing allows users and organizations to use computing power on demand just like water or electricity from the grid. Users can request computing power, storage, enterprise applications or even databases from such Cloud services providers. These Cloud Services providers will act as data centers, except they are no longer privately owned by each company. I simpler analogy would be single family home v/s a condominium with multiple tenants who share the common facilities like the hallway, elevator, pool and the club house. The users of Cloud pay only for the computing or storage they use. Thus, companies no longer need to create their own data centers thus do not need to buy servers and massive storage arrays.

Cloud Computing is not really something obscure, a lot of us are actually using it in daily lives perhaps not realizing that. For instance, Gmail, Twitter, Skype and YouTube are all built on the Cloud Computing technology. All these collaborative applications are delivering services to PC's and mobile devices. The users do not have to worry about the "location" of these service providing computers and storage. Hence, a key concept of Cloud Computing is Virtualization. Virtualization allows a single powerful computer to function as multiple virtual servers running a diverse range of operating systems and different applications. This is the key concept as physical computers are not dedicated to single or a group of related users, say from a small company.

Are all organizations ready to embrace the public Cloud? There is also a concept of Internal Cloud where the Cloud infrastructure sits inside the corporate firewall. The BigBlue (IBM) is a promoter of Internal Cloud or Private Clouds. In this approach, typically a large company would create an internal cloud to meet the diverse software application needs of its user base. No single server or SAN is dedicated to a unique application and user groups or departments use computing resources on demand from this internal cloud.

If you are an individual user or a small to mid-sized company, how can you get a first hand feel of the Cloud Computing. You can test drive services like Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud or EC2. Developers can buy computing power and storage as they need it. IBM provides Cloudburst as a hardware and software package to allow organizations to build their private cloud. In others words it is a "cloud in a box" approach. Companies often invest in storage space for data backup. EMC provides Decho or digital echo to backup data-storage cloud. Microsoft cloud play is called
Azure and is comparable to Amazon's EC2.

Cloud Computing is not an altogether new IT concept. We have known SaaS or Software as a Service, Grid computing, remote hosting (webservers, ftp sites etc) and different kinds of utility computing. "Cloud computing is really a culmination of many technologies such as grid computing, utility computing, SOA, Web 2.0, and other technologies." While a precise definition is still being debated, Open Cloud Manifesto was signed in 2009 by companies like IBM, EMC, Boeing etc. The goal is to put the CIO's and IT leaders at ease to make it easier for end customers and developers to plan transition to cloud services.

The origin of the term Cloud Computing is from the metaphor that computer architects often create graphic designs to show flow of information. When the source of information in such diagrams, is external or unknown, often cloud is used to depict that. Will the Cloud Computing be disruptive technology? It seems to be evolving that way. Today Google Docs seems to be going after Microsoft Office, Salesforce.com is giving Larry Ellison's Oracle CRM a run for money. Likewise, Mozy.com is competing with EMC's remote storage capability and Amazon EC2 may hit the sales of Intel servers for private data centers.

Is Cloud Computing free of any silver bullets? On Aug 31, Google's GMail server was down for a while, it seemed to bring up the question of risks associated with over indulgence in the Cloud computing model. Let's us see how it plays out over the next few months and as we get into 2010!

[ This blog posting was inspired by the Wall Street Journal Article titled How Well Do You Know... the Cloud?]

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

OOW Wed

The keynote sessions have started and CEO of Infosys S (Kris) Golapakrishnan is now speaking on innovation and how he create a culture of innovation in his company. Each department has to come up with at least 2 new innovations for productivity boost every year. Every building looks different in Infosys, some even like flying saucer. Thus the culture of innovation has to be ubiquitous.

Kris is explaining the need for simplifying Organizational complexity. They operate in 27 cities but airline booking is done from one city (Bangalore). Anyone can email Kris (Ask Kris) directly, he gets about 600-800 emails a week and directly responds or are posted in company blog.

Kris saus we often use 2000 year old learning techniques..."Learning through collaboration and personalization delivered at their own pace" is most effective" Infosys uses web based training delivery internally to achieve these.

ICICI bank of India is power by Infosys solution and is an exaple of branchless bank, an example of IT led banking. Today Infosys has 62% revenues from North America, 25% from Europe and rest from rest of the world. However, the company envisions that in longer run it will be spread as 1/3 from each market as the most growth is in the rest of the world like India, China and Latin America for IT services.

The next event is Larry's keynote, and as usual what will be the new announcement? He started talking about open source Linux. He will talk about Exadata V2, a tool using data mining for discovering problems proactively.

Oracle VM is being used by companies like Dell, BT etc are using it. 65% of Linux users are running Oracle DB on Oracle Enterprise Unix, per survey by HP.

Larry is now talking about SUN Oracle DB Machine (Exadata). However, the machine he talked about on Sunday for TPCC benchmark, that is a SPARC Solaris machine running Oracle DB. Larry is presenting customer testimonials from Exadata V1, where the performance improvements are over the older configurations in their organization.

Larry is explaining that fast computers like Teradata, Neteeza are mainly for Data Warehousing only but not for OLTP or transactional system. The use of Flash Memory allows high speed random I/O.

The memory hierarchy in the Exadata V2 allows high speed random hierarchy, as there is no need to spin the disks for seek, on Solid State memory. The Exadata is meant to be fault tolerant with redundancy at every level.

Flash is slower than DRAM, but it is used to keep most of the database itself in the Flash memory. The use of compression allows 3X the size of DB on disk by use of OLTP compression. Thus a full 15TB database can reside in a single RACK of Exadata, theoretically. The RACK can do 1 million I/O's per sec.

Exadata is compared to IBM - 8 IBM DC8300 Turbo (76 racks) with cost of about $10.7 million. The capacity of two Exadata RACKS is compared here. Larry is now introducing the Hybrid Columnar Compression for Data Warehousing applications only.

In memory parallel query execution feature is used to compare with Parcel and other in-memory databases. The grid architecture helps to make the Exadata faster, allowing multiple CPU's to be used. The Flash and the Compression helps to improve the speed.

Porting applications to DB machine - "runs existing applications unchanged" However, we saw in customer panel from the V1 customers, that they had to leave behind the indexes and then add back some of the indexes. However, partitioning remains key in DW workloads. Larry is now showing the price without the software costs like the DB cost per node and Exadata software or Compression (OLTP).

So far no new announcements from Larry today....Arnold is too funny so I am not blogging any more... just Tweeting...

shyamvaran #OOW09 Who needs the $10m more than State of CA & Arnold at this time..may be will buy him the new house if he makes 2 much fun of his wife!
less than 5 seconds ago from web

shyamvaran RT @eyesonopen Here comes arnold schwarzenegger. Maybe state of CA wants to grab that 10 million dollar prize. He's actually hilarious.
2 minutes ago from web

debralilley Very funny, cell phones, action, food supplements, much funnier than I expected = Arnie is great #oow09
3 minutes ago from web

shyamvaran #OOW09 Arnold could not have done it - Terminator without the Technology, or his body building with the technology for Training and food
3 minutes ago from web

OOW Tuesday

Highlights include key note by Michael Dell
Release of Oracle BI Apps 7.9.6.1 with support for databases like DW DB2 and Teradata.

My session was at 5:30PM

Monday, October 12, 2009

OOW Monday - OTN Night

The OTN night started at 7PM, in the Tent, good food as usual and the drinks! Entertainment in the far side of the tent, Middle Eastern dancers... On the near side (towards 3rd st) was the Trivia sponsored by Blackberry. I was drafted to be on the stage with 5 other contestants to fight it out for a Blackberry, in front of the crowd!

It was a tie with 300 points each, the other contestant from was from Canada. The questions were in three different categories - about Oracle , about RIM/Blackberry and about San Francisco.

So what was my winning strategy? Let me explain it in Exadata terms. The storage index is a new concept which is not a pointer to the row or block rather a negative index, i.e. where not to look for data. Likewise, I won with a similar strategy today, the last question was about San Francisco and neither on knew the answer, the other contestant answered and lost the point on the tie breaker, I won... so my "negative" strategy of not answering won me the Blackberry!!

OOW Monday Evening

I spent a good part of the day in the Exhibit Hall (Moscone West and Moscone South). Some of the things that caught my attention were:

1) Pretty Large Presence of Salesforce.com ( I think it is their first time at OOW)
2) Focus on Oracle on the Cloud, Amazon is also present
3) A real Sumo wrestler in the booth on Application Security - You don't know who you are up against?


Steve Miranda is talking now about Oracle Applications including Application unlimited. The customer Smucker is also expected. Janet Foutty of Deloitte will be on the stage.

Deloitte is the sponsor of this session. "Business Led and Technology Enabled" is the mantra. Tie back every penny to shareholder value. Janet is talking about Value maps that Deloitte uses to map business problems to Oracle products. Janet has a financial services background. Clients are focussed on cost cutting, efficiency and re-tolling their IT.

What's next, in the mind of clients - Improved Agility... is one of them. Next is Information Integration. According to Janet, Exadata enables new slices and dices of data that was not possible a few years ago.

Upgrading software is good hygiene, so customers should upgrade, per Janet. However, upgrade is not a casual decision, business and IT should co-own it. Janet believes that cloud and SAAS is truly a flex point in the IT history.

Steve Miranda is now going over the different application releases across the product suites. Rapid Planning is a new VCP (Value Chain Planning product) and it will be demoed. You can drill down to Sales and Operational Planning (S&OP) to see the detailed budget that has come from Hyperion via AIA.

Rapid Planning can help to bring demand fulfillment with the supply. The Planner can setup alternates and launch the plan. Integration with Web 2.0 is available, such as IM and Meeting request using Webcenter. Overall, it can help to solve the business planning problem without the use of 'spreadmarts'.

OOW 2009 Ann Livermore of HP

According to Ann 40% of Oracle deployments are on HP!!! Ann will tell how HP and Oracle work together to unleash the business potential. Now that EDS is part of HP, it is a big services company as well. Businesses spend 70% of IT budgets on routine operations and 30% on innovation. HP's goal is to help businesses reverse this tread.

HP has 3400 Oracle related professionals. I wonder if that includes that came with EDS. HP's goal is to help manage the Information explosion. Now Ann is talking about BI solutions? HP is number 1 on number of server for BI deployments, a lot of these are on Oracle software stack. She mentioned about Neoview - the HP DW appliance.

Oracle Openworld 2009 - Day 2 Monday

It's Monday at the Openworld. Having breakfast when my biological clock thinks it is lunch hour (almost!).

Karen Tillman VP of Oracle Corporate Communications is sharing details with the media today. Now Oracle is a software and a systems player rather than just a software company. This is the media briefing event. The keynote today is called the Art of the Impossible by Safra Catz and Charles Phillips. Next is Ann Livermore from HP.

There are general sessions today in the Hall D (keynote hall) such as the Andy Mendelson's session on Database.


Judy Sims is now introducing the event - 1900 sessions, 81,000 hotel room night impact, will serve 170,000 cups of coffee to the guests!!! Spin to Win is a new attraction where some attendees will be able to spin the wheel for VIP status in the customer party. This year most of the reading material will be in the Virtual Collateral with e-bag. Show your badge and get 15% off with 138 merchants here. Use opentable to book dinner. Tonight is the OTN Night is a great event for networking.

Join AeroSmith on Wed night. Roger Daltery, Three Dog Night, Shooter Jennings... the event closes with It's a Wrap on Thursday after noon at 4PM.

If you sign up for OOW10 now, its a $900 discount. Now Judy is giving out her tips such as schedule builder...wear comfortable shoes.... leave high heels home!

meet 5 new customers everyday....there are total of 345,000 customers of Oracle.


Now Charles Phillips and Safra Catz are here... who welcomed the 37,000 registrants for OOW, down from 44,000 last year. Safra is talking about the onus on customers in past to put the different parts of software together, image having to order car by parts and assembling it together... Likewise, it seems Oracle will focus on integrating different parts to make it more enterprise ready...

Wy is this event called "open" world, Safra explained that is Oracle's commitment to Open standards, Oracle's $3B spend in enterprise R&D.

According to Charles, Oracle listens to customers via Customer Advisory board, User Groups and Special Interest Groups (SIG) and this feedback is used to channel the $3B for R&D.

A lot of customers of SAP are using Oralce products (AIA) for SAP to SAP integration. He mentioned 5X savings in storage by compression. Oracle VM 2.2 is out along with OEM 10gR5.

Now Primavera is being introduced by Joel Koppelman who is in his first OOW. A lot of Primavera customers are in Oil & Gas, Utilities etc... Often accounting information is not made available from project management. Primavera P6 will not have integrations with JD edwards and E-business Suite using the AIA. Next will be for Peoplesoft, Agile etc... More so with Oracle BI ( I look forward to that!)

I wonder how it competes with the E-business Suite Project management modules. The acquisition of Primavera completed over 11 months... Next person on will be Paco Aubrejuan who heads Peoplesoft development. He is talking about challenges related to disconnect of budgeting from the day to day operations and differences between budget and actuals. Commitment control in PSFT can pull data from Hyperion Planning and use the concept of commitment spend and encumberances...this way there is continuous check on budget v/s actual throughout the year. Every new hire or speding can be checked with the budget.

This can lead to budget exception, so a PO can be blocked right away if it is not in line with the budgeted spendings. The budget from Hyperion can be published in PSFT.
Thus there is closed loop between budgeting and spending.

The next is the Retek and Profitlogic product. Duncan Angove is on the screen. From 2 seasons in traditional retail to 10+ floor sets now with 20% or less gross margin. a lot more mix and match of merchandise. So the floor set is constantly changing. No longer last season's information is enough for fast fashion. Oracle Retail now has Integrated Fashion Planning with modules like Clearance Optimization, Retail Demand Forecasting, Item and Asortment Planning. All these integrates with OBIEE. Planned obsolesacence is the key...

A good live demo of Retail levers that the retailer can pull say price or alter the product assortment. Good use of integration with mapping and BI. At this time the system's price optimization may help to reduce the give up of the margin by too much reduction in price. The demo used Profit Logic for price optimization and send the information to Retek for operationalizing "fast fashion."

The next section is Anthony Lye Senior VP for CRM. He is talking about Trade Promotions. How to optimoize the Trade Promotions? How to integrate Demantra with Siebel CRM and Demand Planning? The link to Promotions and supply chain was missing. What is being presented is Siebel CRM with Advanced Planning of Demandtra using AIA.
The demo is Siebel CRM and Demantra integrated flows.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Oracle Openworld 2009 - Day 1 (Sunday) - Keynote Session

It's 5:30 PM (PST) now and am getting situated for the first keynote of the OOW. Just finished a hectic day of user group events, most of the BIWA SIG and Exadata SIG sessions were very well attended (multiple sessions with over 100) in the audience. That is impressive as there were ~140 user group sessions today at Moscone West.

The day ended in BI Panel discussions that I moderated where Mark Hornick, Mark Rittman, Greg Rahn and Marty Carangelo kicked off some really interesting discussions with good audience participation.

Now I see Safra Katz, Larry and Judy Sim walking in to take their seats... at 5:48PM
The event starts with a video on Scott.... He is dressed in almost red... and he commented that as Sun is "almost" an Oracle company but not fully red yet. He started with his top 10 list that is known for....top 10 list that makes engineers go wild...

Scott's list of top 10 innovations (after 27 yrs of business) under the "SUN":
PC NFS
SPARC first 64 bit computer
Open source
BSD + UNIX System 5 = Solaris
Java
E10K (64-bit Solaris, RISC SMP way)
ZFS/Open Storage / Flash (Exadata)
Project Blackbox (modular data center or data center in a shipping box)
SunRay (thin clients)
Chip Multi-threading (cool threads)

Scott is talking about MySQL, whether it will get clobbered? In his view is does not compete with Oracle or DB2, but with Microsoft. Likewise, InnoDB is still alive after Oracle bought it.

Jave is on 1 B PC's, on 2.2 B mobile phones... "Jave speaks for itself" Now the father of Java, James is invited on the stage...The Oracle's fastest growing products are huge bags of Java code. Oracle is involved in almost all the JSR's in some way... 15 million JRE's are downloaded a week. In Brazil the tax system is Java based and can be done only online...it spikes the Java downloads at that time. The London Oyster card for local trains uses a Java card... Scott is concerned if Moscone center can hold Openworld and Java one together...

Sun is also a storage company. About 1/3 people run their business on Oracle, Java and SPARC. It begs the question the question when will Exadata come out on SPARC?

Scott invited John Fowler, who had unveiled with Larry, the Exadata V2 (Sun Oracle Database Machine) on Sep 15. John announced that Sun holds all 7 key commercial benchmarks...on SUN SPARC platform like OLTP, OBIEE, Hyperion etc...

Scott showed the Sun FlashFire card to emphasize the small size... In old days flash wore out quickly so question is - is it reliable. It seems the flash technology has improved over time and is quite reliable now...

The future of data center is compute, networking and storage...

Larry is now on the stage...the slide where they say IBM... we're looking forward to competing with you in the hardware business. Larry thinks that IBM is dissuading SUN customers and telling them that Oracle will get rid of hardware business. Larry says that is why the ads about competing with IBM....

Larry says that they will demonstrate that Oracle works best with SPARC...Oracle will increase investment for MySQL. They had bought Innobase and have not killed the product. InnoDB is integral part of transaction processing. Larry believes that Apple has done a good job in managing the H/W and S/W problems together. It seems Oracle with Sun wants to do the same. Oracle talked about the TPC benchmark that exceeds IBM's Power series benchmarks.


At a later session during the Titan Awards, IBM picked up a few Titan awards and a Global Partner Award..... more details to come

Oracle Openworld 2009 - Day 1 (Sunday)

Oracle Openworld 2009 is here, sitting in Moscone West (Room 2002 BIWASIG, Exadata SIG 2004), in San Francisco downtown. The sessions are open to all categories of registrant of Oracle Openworld 2009. The Special Interest Group sessions will go on till 5 PM.


The first BIWA SIG session was on real world OBIEE implementation related experiences and had over 100 (114) attendees which is a good number for a session right 8:30AM in the morning while folks are busy picking up their badges and taking care of registration.

The room 2004 is full of Exadata SIG sessions, the 8:30 session was kicked off by Matt Morris of TUSC and then Dan Norris did a session on best practices. The next session in 2004 is a panel of X team experts from Oracle.

More to come....

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

BIWA SIG at Oracle Openworld 2009

BIWA SIG is very excited to be present at the Oracle Openworld 2009 with its sessions as below (all these are on Moscone West on Sunday Oct 11):

1) Deep Dive into Oracle Data Integrator Enterprise Edition Support in Oracle BI by Mark Rittman

2) BI Panel: Critical Success Factors for Business Intelligence/Data Warehousing Projects, Moderated by Shyam Varan Nath

3) Lies, Damn Lies, and Visualizing Data with Oracle Business Intelligence Applications by Dan Vlamis

4) Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition Implementations in Real-World Environments by Richard Solari and Teresa Wong

5) Oracle Industry Data Model: An “off-the-shelf” Data Warehouse- Faster and Cheaper by Sudip Majumder


Thus the topics covered range from Data Warehousing, Business Intelligence, Data Mining to OLAP. Enough content to keep you busy for whole day on Sunday!

What to Expect at Oracle Openworld 2009?

I attended the Speakers meeting on Monday (Oct 5), and wanted to share some of the things I learned:

1) There are 5 Streams, 47 Tracks, ~1963 sessions and 398 Partners in the event. Last year the attendance was close to 45,000, I wonder with the developments with SUN, what will be the attendance this year!

2) Management and Infrastructure Track is new this year. This stream talks about OEM, Storage/Flash Storage, Compliance, Oracle VM ...

3) Primavera Conference is new this year with a separate 2 day registration.

4) Oracle Develop is a 3 day event at Hilton, San Francisco. Tom Kyte is one of the Keynote speakers in that event.

5) The Sunday keynote, after a full day of User Group and SIG sessions (140+), will feature Scott McNealy and Larry Ellison at 5:30PM. This is followed by the Tent Party on Howard Street, yes it is really a tent....

6) There will be a Green Market Place this time. others things of interest are Solution Spotlight, open to Discover Oracle Openworld pass holders, Callaway Experience by Tata (practice your golf swing there), Digital Playground by Blackberry (RIM), BMW Oracle Racing Experience etc...

7)On Wed the keynote is by Infosys CEO S Gopalakrishnan and Larry Ellison. That is the day some accouncements about SUN (SPARC) + Oracle is expected.

8) Unconference is the powerpoint free zone with demos and informal discussions...this is the third year of the event.

9) No throw-away water bottles, rather water station serving city of San Francisco tap water!

Watch out for more details to come....