Arik Hesseldahl

Recent Posts by Arik Hesseldahl

Oracle Sets Database Speed Record; Larry Ellison Disses HP

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison is having a big day. On the day of the premiere of a high-profile Bloomberg TV documentary that promises to burnish his legend, he also got to brag that Oracle had retaken the current land speed record in database computing from IBM.

Of course he used the opportunity to engage in his favorite new hobby: Taunting rival Hewlett-Packard.

The announcement was straightforward. Oracle’s forthcoming SPARC T3-4 Supercluster has achieved a performance record of more than 30 million transactions per minute, as verified by the Transaction Processing Performance Council, an industry benchmarking organization. This bested the previous record holder, a model of IBM’s Power 780 Server, which delivered more than 10 million transactions per minute.

Farther down on the TPC’s list, in fifth position, is HP’s Integrity Superdome, clocking a performance of a little more than 4 million transactions per minute. Oracle is using the results in ads that portray Oracle as a cheetah, IBM as a respectable stallion and HP as a poky turtle. (Full disclosure: This ad ran in today’s print edition of The Wall Street Journal, which like this Web site is owned by News Corp.)

At this point in his remarks, Ellison beat the war drums against HP rather loudly: “We think the HP machines are vulnerable. We think they’re expensive. We think they’re vulnerable in the marketplace. We’re going to go after them. We’re going to go after them in the marketplace with better software, better hardware, and better people.”

I’ve asked HP for a response, and will update if I get one. [Update: And here it is, courtesy of company spokesman Michael Thacker: “HP is the number one provider of enterprise servers in the marketplace. We are focused on our customers, and the combination of our technology leadership, product performance, and pricing continues to meet the needs of those customers. The numbers prove it–we experienced 25 percent revenue growth year over year during our last quarter, and we are the only major UNIX vendor that reported server growth.”]

[Another update: An HP spokesperson just sent the following additional statement: “Larry Ellison bought a money-losing business that had steady market share declines for years, and which still ranks at the bottom of the market. Customers aren’t fooled by outdated benchmarks, no matter what Oracle says. HP’s market share results prove it. Sun customers are running to HP in droves because they recognize we deliver superior technology, performance and pricing.”]

One thing HP and IBM have going for them is that the Oracle system in question won’t be on the market until next June.

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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