Oracle “late to the game” with in-memory database

Enterprise Applications

by Joe Curtis| 12 June 2014

Larry Ellison’s firm knocks SAP HANA, but analysts say it lacks mindshare.

Oracle plans to gain more customers for its in-memory database in one year than the combined total of those using similar technologies from SAP, Microsoft and IBM - but one analyst dismissed it as coming "late to the game".

The ERP giant knocked its main rival, SAP, for lacking a "large installed base" as it outlined plans to market its real-time data processing kit, Database In-Memory, to the estimated 300,000 organisations currently using its database.

The in-memory option was announced this week and will be released for an unspecified price in two months as part of Oracle's Database 12c update.

VP of product management Tim Shetler said: "Just because of that [our database customer base] we expect it to be a fairly robust take-up of the option as opposed to say SAP, which really wasn't in the database business before they purchased sybase. They don't have a large installed base to start with."

Asked whether the firm fears competition from rival in-memory options from Microsoft and IBM, he claimed their technologies suffer from "some serious limitations".

He added: "Within a year we'll have more companies running on our in-memory option than all the others combined," pointing to an extension to Oracle's partner programme to develop more applications for the in-memory option, as well as the compatibility of current Oracle applications with the database.

However, MSMD advisors analyst Mike Davis told CBR it could be too late in the day for Oracle to try and step into the market.

"Oracle has been on the back foot since SAP announced HANA [in 2010]," he said. "Oracle has all the byte guys in the world however what they don't have is mindshare. They are late to the game."

He added that reputation counted more than technological advancements when it came to capturing some of the in-memory market.
"Mindshare or profile is really everything in the industry. HANA is seen as the top dog so why go for Oracle?" he claimed.

"It's a bit like Oracle is the plumbing and HANA is the intelligence."

Though he did point to Oracle's customer base as one indicator of take-up, echoing Shetler's confidence.

Shetler said Oracle expected customers to extend the in-memory option to non-critical applications once they saw the real-time speed it gives critical apps.

Quocirca analyst Clive Longbottom said the main benefit would be to existing Oracle customers.

"Those using Oracle applications will get a pretty hefty uplift in performance by upgrading the database without the need to change any code," he said.

"The announcement is pretty much as expected: Oracle has had to respond to SAP HANA and the influx of different in-memory data management approaches. As far as I can see, there is nothing spectacularly different in this.

"So, a good move by Oracle, but it still leaves it open to issues from the small and nimble less schema database plays, and will do little to get people to move off other relational databases onto Oracle."

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