Oracle bigs up hardware


Infrastructure giant Oracle is using the promise of improved performance to encourage end users to dig deeper into its product portfolio.

Oracle has made more than 70 acquisitions since 2005, including its $7 billion takeover of storage vendor Sun Microsystems in June 2009, which has been credited with kick starting its hardware business.

In the firm's recent fourth quarter financial results, the performance of its hardware operations was lauded for exceeding expectations.

Speaking to IT Pro, John Abel, senior director for engineered systems at Oracle, declined to comment on its financial performance, but fleshed out some areas he thinks may have helped.

For instance, Oracle has been encouraging customers that joined the company through acquisitions to adopt a wider range of products from its portfolio.

"The [customer] entry point into Oracle [through acquisition] is the critical bit for us to understand," said Abel.

"They may know nothing about the Oracle infrastructure or our database products...[and] one thing we have to articulate is that...we want them to look above and beneath the products of ours they already use."

Oracle encourages this by extolling the business and operational benefits users stand to gain by purchasing more of their products from the same vendor.

"If [customers want to] look at an Oracle product as a stove pipe, we have no issue with that, but as soon as customers start to look across those boundaries, they start to get immediate business value," he claimed.

For instance, customers that want to add functionality to an Oracle piece of software often find its quicker and easier to use products from its portfolio than from somewhere else, claimed Abel.

"If [customers are looking for an] upgrade or new implementation or they're looking to extend capability, typically [you're talking about a new] platform or piece of infrastructure," he said.

"[We can] offer them an optimised solution...that has been tested inside Oracle, meaning when the customer wants to scale to a new position or carry out some new business function, we can provide them with a blueprint we've already designed...which just speeds everything up."

The vendor's cloud stance is another area he suggested may have contributed to the firm's Q4 success.

"We don't really have unique types of technology that runs in [the private or public cloud], what we have are offerings that have properties [that let them run in either environment], which means customers can move between [the two], which is good because it gives them choice and flexibility," he added.

Caroline Donnelly is the news and analysis editor of IT Pro and its sister site Cloud Pro, and covers general news, as well as the storage, security, public sector, cloud and Microsoft beats. Caroline has been a member of the IT Pro/Cloud Pro team since March 2012, and has previously worked as a reporter at several B2B publications, including UK channel magazine CRN, and as features writer for local weekly newspaper, The Slough and Windsor Observer. She studied Medical Biochemistry at the University of Leicester and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism at PMA Training in 2006.