Sunday, September 19, 2010

Oracle Open World

I was at the GlassFish Community Event at Oracle Open World earlier this evening. The theme for Oracle Open World Conference this year is "Hardware and Software. Engineered to Work Together". The entire block of Howard Street was blocked off by a huge tent for the event. A Half Pipe with the "Future of Java" is the first sight that greets you as you make the left turn into Howard Street from 4th Street.

Other than this blue, the area was swathed in a sea of Oracle Red. I have been attending JavaOne conferences at Moscone for the last 15 years. I have not seen the area transformed in this fashion.
As you enter the Moscone Convention Center, the first thing you see is the America's Cup trophy - with two guards stationed to ensure that it stays there! The crowds were quite huge. I was not surprised when Judith Sim (Oracle CMO) announced that there were 41,000 people in attendance. The Opening keynote of the conference was delivered by HP Exec VP Ann Livermore. I am not sure if I was the only uncomfortable person in the room when she was introduced. Here are two companies that are bitterly feuding out in the open. Her introduction might as well have been , "HP paid mucho bucks to sponsor this conference. There was no backing off their keynote slot. So here is Ann Livermore." Ms. Livermore made the mistake of asking the audience how many people used Oracle solutions on HP hardware. About a dozen people raised their hands. Usually, when the audience is asked a question, the lights go brighter and the camera is turned towards the audience. Luckily (for HP) the logistics folks at Moscone realized the disastrous response and quickly dimmed the lights. Ms. Livermore recovered glibly and unconvincingly said, "Good. That is a sizable number". The rest of her talk focused on the HP panoply of solutions.

The lowlight of the evening was Larry Ellison's keynote. Perhaps my expectations were too high. I had gone there to hear an industry visionary provide a state-of-the-industry, an Oracle-State-of-the-Union, where-is-technology-headed, state-of-feud-with-HP. Instead, we got a dull, boring, sales pitch on Oracle's new Exalogic Cloud server. I was curious to check if it was just me who was uninspired. Just about everyone I checked with afterwards gave a resounding, unequivocal thumbs down. In my opinion, here are the mistakes Mr. Ellison did:
  • Beating up and Marc Benioff openly. Also, Mr. Ellison made some simplistic assumptions on and started bashing this mythical entity.
  • Insulting the IQ of his audience by repeating just about everything he said not once, not twice, but at least three times. We got it the first time you said it, Mr. Ellison.
  • At one point in his drone, Mr. Ellison said, "They asked me not to add this information." "They" suggested that for a good reason, Larry. By putting it up and reading it out loud (as if by rote), you did not help yourself.
At around 8:00 pm (the keynote was already 15 minutes past the scheduled end time), I could not take it anymore and walked out. I looked back and most of the seats were empty ...

Oh! and as I was explaining what Micello does to a few folks at the conference, the unanimous response was, "I could totally have used that at this conference". Especially this year, where JavaOne, Oracle Open World and Oracle Develop are all combined into a single event!

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