Put Larry Ellison on a stage and he’s going to make someone’s blood boil. Even if Oracle OpenWorld is his party and he’s supposed to be its host. 

But yesterday the database mogul outdid even his most flamboyant self when he snubbed a large part of the conference’s 60,000 attendees. Rather than give his much anticipated keynote, he chose to ride in a chase boat following Oracle’s America’s Cup yacht.

Attendees whose employers spent as much as US$5000 - US$ 6000 to send them to the conference were understandably upset when they didn’t get to hear their hero unveil his vision for the cloud. Not only that, but there’s just something about a guy like Ellison showing his followers that his hobby is worthy of more of his attention than they are.

And just imagine how Ellison’s stand-in, Thomas Kurian, Oracle's executive vice president of product development, must have felt when he was forced to fill in for Ellison and OpenWorld attendees fled from the Moscone Center where the conference is being held.

Maybe it’s just another day of working for Larry.

Can SAP Hana and IBM’s In-Memory Database Measure Up to an Oracle Capability that has yet to be Widely Tested?

Suffice it to say that Ellison is a visionary and always an entertaining speaker to follow. Sunday, at Oracle OpenWorld’s first keynote, he introduced an in-memory option for Oracle’s 12c database that he claims will run at “ungodly speeds” and provide “real-time analytics and instantaneous results.”

The magic is, of course, in the design. The in-memory system joins two forms of storing data in databases -- in columns or in rows. Ellison claims that the in-memory option will improve database search queries a hundred-fold and that the rate of transaction processing will double.

In a world where the talk around “fast data” is beginning to challenge Big Data’s buzz, this could be a big deal, especially for Enterprises that already use Oracle, provided that they run transactional and analytical processing exactly as Ellison thinks they should, and that they haven’t switched, or made plans to switch, to SAP HANA or IBM DB2 10.5.

AND provided that Oracle delivers and that everything will work as seamlessly as promised. (Is that even possible with new technology?)

Can A Leader Be Late To The Game?

Now it’s worth noting that Oracle wasn’t late to the In-Memory game because Larry was busy chasing his scary yacht, relaxing at one of his lavish estates, or shopping for his next car. Instead he thought that in-memory processing had no place in the market, although his words were a wee-bit more dramatic.

In fact here they were:

When SAP and, specifically Hasso Plattner, said they're going to build this in-memory database and compete with Oracle, I said, 'God, get me the name of that pharmacist, they must be on drugs.'”

Oracle’s Flip-flopping Doesn’t Bother Salesforce Boss Marc Benioff

Last year, at this time, Ellison and Benioff were impassioned foes, taking jabs at each other every chance they had. 

Benioff at one point had called Oracle’s cloud a “roach motel where you could check-in but never check-out.” Ellison had kicked (or literally taken) the stage away from Benioff at an Oracle OpenWorld where he was supposed to be a keynote speaker.

This year the two tech tycoons are buddies and have pledged a Salesforce/Oracle partnership for the next nine years. So it’s no surprise that Benioff gave Ellison’s database spiel big time support.

(Hey, he could have provided a little more support if he stepped-in for yacht-chasing Ellison on the Cloud keynote. Attendance would have gone up, not down. Plus Benioff know just a bit about the Cloud)

SAP Welcomes Oracle to Its In-Memory Database Party

SAP always shows a gracious, welcoming face. Though they seem to be more relaxed and speak a little more slowly than the rest of the tech world, you know that there’s fire under their skin (and a brain cell or two).

Since they certainly weren’t blindsided by Oracle’s announcement, they had a video blog ready to share. We’re sharing it with you.

And, hey, while you’re watching, do you think it’s intentional that Vishal doesn’t say the word “Oracle” until the very end?

Title image courtesy of Christopher Halloran /