Oracle Open World opens up on Sunday with a keynote at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. The annual convention will attract about forty thousand people to the Bay area and promises to be exciting and interesting on multiple levels.
This will be the first Open World post Oracle’s acquisition of computer pioneer Sun Microsystems. Last year Oracle introduced a version of its Exadata storage unit based on Sun architecture (and presumptive deal close) and with the company finally in the fold you can bet there will be more product announcements that mix hardware and system software.
I don’t know if there will be net new announcements, but Sun was the driver of the Java revolution and reduced instruction set computing among other things, so I think it’s way safe to say there will be interesting things coming out of that camp.
This is also the first year post limited release of Oracle’s Fusion architecture. Fusion, you may recall, is a platform intended to unify the many disparate applications that Oracle bought up a few years ago. It is also the platform for merging and rebuilding applications along a more or less consistent Oracle product direction. With another year of development and roll out of Fusion, there will be much more to discuss and announce next week.
There’s also cloud computing to consider. A little over a year ago Larry Ellison was caught on tape at the Churchill Club pooh-poohing cloud computing but that was before Oracle really had a dog, a pack actually, in the hunt. Now that Oracle is better positioned, and given that Oracle’s database and servers support so much of cloud computing, look for Oracle to claim credit for the sunrise — to paraphrase an old Bill Clinton line.
Then, too, you can expect the usual shenanigans from a whole host of characters and partners. Everyone in this business today is into coopetition so look for fun announcements from Dell, HP (we want our secrets back) and Salesforce.com for starters.
Speaking of Salesforce, back by popular demand (or whatever) Marc Benioff will again address a crowd at the Yerba Buena Theater just down the street from the conference. Last year’s inaugural talk was expected to be some kind of challenge to Oracle but turned out to be a very successful symbiotic and statesman-like address. Too bad too because we all waited outside in the rain for the doors to open expecting something more combustible. This year, I hope it’s a sunny day.
On the CRM front, Anthony Lye and company have been working hard all year (Sounds like Christmas and the North Pole, doesn’t it?) to advance the front office suite on multiple fronts. The CRM team has scheduled two hundred sessions for the conference just on CRM. Forget the database, Java and Sun, if you’re into CRM the conference will have you drinking from a fire hose.
Trying to register for sessions is a Byzantine process though, which uses an on-line system that looks like it was built by monkeys on crack. To keep my sanity I have decided not to register for anything but to simply show up. I have a hard copy schedule. I know this strategy might exclude me from a few popular sessions but I figure that’s what beers are for.
The real star of the show, for me, will be the city of San Francisco. It’s not a perfect place for sure, but there is a wonderful energy in the city any time and it’s triply true during Open World and Dreamforce. You walk around high on the possibilities uncovered in the sessions and accented by the environment — the hills, the cable cars, the fog, the restaurants and most importantly the indefatigably optimistic crowd of natives and visitors. Did I mention the California wines?
I digress. One week till Open World. I don’t know what will be announced because I won’t get briefed till later and then I’ll be in quarantine. So, I don’t know any more than you. But I can’t wait.