John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

"Sun + Oracle is Fast"? Not So Fast…

About 1987 word got out that the Ingres database would soon have a sexy new function: It would be able to do distributed queries… Ellison told [Oracle ad man Rick] Bennett to prepare an advertisement announcing Oracle’s distributed capability. Then he assigned an engineer to whip up a distribtued feature so the company would actually have something to sell when the ad appeared. Ten days later Bennett’s advertisement hit the trade press: “Oracle Announced SQL*Star,” it said. “The First Distribtued Relational DBMS…”

“The fact of the matter was Oracle didn’t have anything,” said George Schussel, the trade show promoter who had followed Oracle from the beginning. “But that was the way they worked. Everything was marketing, everything was image. You simply announced the product and then figured out later how to deal with it from a technological point of view.”

Excerpt from The Difference Between God and Larry Ellison

oraclead2If you’re going to claim in an advertisement that Transaction Processing Council benchmarks show that a hybrid Sun-Oracle server runs faster than a competing product from IBM, it’s probably wise to make sure you have the TPC benchmarks to back up your claim.

Not if you’re Oracle (ORCL), though. On Aug. 27, the company ran an advertisement in The Wall Street Journal and the Economist claiming that “Sun + Oracle is Faster” compared to a TPC-benchmarked IBM (IBM) system. “Oracle and Sun together are hard to match,” Oracle said in the ad. “Just ask IBM. Its fastest server now runs an impressive 6 million TPC-C transactions, but on October 14 at Oracle OpenWorld, we’ll reveal the benchmark numbers that prove that even IBM DB2 running on IBM’s fastest hardware can’t match the speed and performance of Oracle Database on Sun systems.”

A boastful claim. Thing is, at the time it was made, the Sun (JAVA)-Oracle system hadn’t yet been audited by the TPC. In other words, it was based on an unsubstantiated benchmark. And that didn’t fly with the TPC, which fined Oracle $10,000 and ordered the software maker to pull the ad. “Oracle’s claim that it is faster than IBM using a TPC-C benchmark result it claimed would be announced on October 14, 2009 was not supported because Oracle did not have a TPC result at the time of publication,” the TPC explained in an official statement. “The TPC requires that claims based on TPC benchmarks must be demonstrable using publicly available data from official TPC benchmark results.”


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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik