21 December 2011


The sky is falling. Oracle reported down, a bit, but, in particular, didn't report above expectations. Larry has been sly for a long time, in setting guidance low enough that bettering it is a piece of cake. Not this time. As I type, it's down 15%, and news is that much of the tech sector is getting the flu.

The knee jerk reaction: mortgage the farm and buy Oracle stock. IIIIIIIIIIII'm not so sure this time. Here's why.

Oracle didn't get quite the *new* software sales and *new* hardware sales. The latter is, by all accounts, due to customers waiting on the new machines during the quarter. The former is more speculative. The reports are vague. My take: given the aggressive pricing of Oracle RDMBS, ditto for MySql (yes, it's GPL, but Oracle blasted its support prices into the sky in the past year), and putting the screws to java adopters; folks are looking for a safer port.

On the RDBMS side, Postgres gets ever closer to Oracle, if you're not a Fortune X00 company (and even if you are, and building apps off the mission critical axis). Mainstream pundits are crying that "Da Cloud, boss, Da Cloud" is putting Oracle in an untenable position. It is said that cloud providers use dirt cheap components, soft and hard, and Oracle's RDBMS and Sun-ish machines are just too expensive Up There. As if being cheap were the best way to make money!? "Cheap goods sold dear" is an aphorism that's been around forever. The Cloud is shaping up that way, and if so, I'd avoid Fortune X00 companies that chose to put *my data* Up There. In this nascent era of Cloud, too many stories of wandering data to suit me.

What's really stupid about Larry's ploy: the Oracle RDBMS is built on an engine (the piece that actually does all the inserting and updating) which uses Multiversion Concurrency Control (MVCC, as it is known) which is better suited to the asynchronous nature of the Web/Cloud than the locker paradigm that most other (notably, not Postgres) RDBMS have been using for decades. They've been backing in, so to speak, MVCC support recently, but none is a true MVCC database. In other words, Larry has the proper mousetrap for the setting, but has managed to offend his customers. But, that's Larry's way.

Reports say that Oracle claims the shortfall is due to last minute non-signings. If so, then this is an aberrant glitch. Given that Fortune X00 companies are sitting on, by some accounts, more than $3 trillion, there's no macro reason to not buy new IT. Unless you're a Fat Man yearning for Famine.

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