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December 09, 2016




While i 100% agree w your observations re the on prem storage market, cloud providers like AWS, GCP and Azure also have quite a different stack than on prem or Oracle with scale-out built-in to the Application/databases coupled with DAS

You praise Oracle ZFS when in fact it serves legacy workloads, to compete Oracle need to redesign for scale-out and cloud-native (12 factor) as well, or it won't manage to become relevant in the cloud wars, i suggest you look up the Architecture of AWS SQL DB Aurora or Google Spanner


Chuck Hollis

Hi Yaron

I think your views might be too simplistic. When it comes to enterprise IT, the vast majority of workloads aren't cloud-native, and won't be anytime soon. Today, Oracle offers various cloud storage services that are similar to what you'd find in both AWS and Azure.





the $13B (and rapidly growing) AWS revenue is not from legacy workloads, its people that understand legacy Apps don't help them with the Digital transformation or the existential threats and they consume services/APIs to move faster vs run IT shops or VMs/vDisks.

yes, you are right about Enterprise IT having many legacy apps that wont transform easily but this $ is shrinking, some are just going to be ditched on the road in favor of Office365, SalesForce and the so many mobile first modern apps. if you are betting Oracle growth on Legacy Apps u wont be in a different shape than those storage companies, and AWS will pick the data in 100PB trucks.

believe me i know Oracle, AWS, GCP & Azure (& EMC) tech inside/out, helped to build it in my previous jobs, there is nothing similar. building S3 or some NoSQL doesn't come close to the amount of modern services and tight integration that AWS offers. i can go into details offline why Exadata/RDS is nice but not going to take you far in terms of scale or TP/s.

i work with many enterprises, haven't seen them considering Oracle seriously for cloud beside existing workloads or some that break under the huge pressure of Oracle sales, they need a cloud vendor that innovates and takes them through the digital transformation, not one that focus on the legacy, or one that is known for unfriendly licencing.

you may want to check my 1yr old post, they have progressed quite a bit since: https://sdsblog.com/cloud-data-services/


Chuck Hollis

Hi Yaron, thanks for your comments. Best of luck with your new venture.

I think you've got a lot of your basic facts wrong.

Yes, Amazon AWS is growing nicely. But it's a small fraction of the >$1 trillion IT market. And significant enterprise adoption has yet to begin. I would argue this is for several reasons, one of the biggest is that it's completely incompatible with what most enterprise IT organizations need.

I remember a time when we all thought AOL would rule the internet, and Netscape would be the browser of choice. Early days in the cloud world, my friend.

Yes, SaaS is a factor. As I understand it, Oracle is the #2 SaaS vendor behind Salesforce, growing faster. And we also have nicely growing IaaS and PaaS businesses in addition to on-premises.

No one is betting on the growth of legacy apps. But one of the unique aspects of enterprise IT is is that old and new have to work together. No one gets the luxury of throwing everything away and starting over in some cloud. Tactical projects can be greenfield, but if they're successful they'll get woven into everything else an enterprise does.

I love how all the cloud fanboys talk about "scale", but never discuss use case or relevancy. "Scale" means one thing if I'm Facebook, something completely different if I'm a bank in the Middle East. The forms of scale relevant to most enterprise IT organizations is what Oracle tends to focus on.

Everyone in this industry is focused on digital transformation, including Oracle. To claim otherwise is insincere. Some are zealots, others are pragmatists.

And, to this day, none of the alternative data management approaches have even begun to recreate the rich functionality of the Oracle Database (I'm thinking Aurora, RedShift, MongoDB et. al.), nor have they enjoyed even a small fraction of the market success. This may change in the future, of course.

I do believe that new forms of applications will require new forms of data services. Scale-out IoT comes to mind, as do cutting-edge analytics, not to mention ML and blockchain. All nice shiny topics for startups to invest in -- as well as established, well-funded vendors such as Oracle.

Trying to pit an established, proven and credible IT vendor against newer tech ignores the fact that the same exact same tech is available to all players. The variability come in how different companies evolve as the market evolves.

Good luck with your startup. If you have the opportunity, I'd recommend you might spend more time in traditional IT settings -- it's a very different form of IT.

Best of luck

-- Chuck

Sukh Grewal

I'd never count Oracle out. There was a time when they were infants and competing with Ingress. Guess who won.
For storage, take a look at Peaxy. They are at the extreme high end for storage and the market need is still very far from being met for extreme in both speed and quantity at the same time. We certainly have quantity if that's all we want and we can speed with flash arrays and on board storage - but getting both at the sametime is still the challenge?



thanks for the wishes, i hope Oracle succeed as well, we are far more likely to partner with you than with AWS :) already integrate with Oracle and most of our customers are T1 Enterprises, IoT, and SaaS.

yes, technology is available to everyone, but not everyone knows how to make the most out of it or execute at the same pace.
my point is that Block/POSIX abstractions are not optimal for scale-out data services (especially in the age of NVMe & NVM), Oracle actually pioneered that notion w Exadata Smart-scan & column compression. we just took that concept 2 steps further. can also see most new data platforms, not just cloud/hadoop (also Vertica, Splunk, ..) use DAS, this means trouble for NAS/SAN.

happy to give you a deeper dive/demo on how we process 2M records/sec/node, cut analytic queries from hours to seconds, or process events from billions of sensors and visualize in real-time. only way to do it is avoiding the traditional serialized memory and storage stack (a.k.a ZFS).

not confused about Enterprise IT, we spend much of our energy in delivering the industry most secure data platform, data governance, and ways to seamlessly integrate with both traditional DBs/Filers as well as Hadoop, Spark, Cloud and emerging IoT patterns. but what makes the most impact on our customers and why some call us "magic" is how we solve very hard business challenges. learned the hard way that its hard to sell to IT, IT is process oriented and move slow, you need to solve biz problems and the Biz unit will push IT. its another challenge the shrinking storage camp have, they can hardly make a difference at the App/Biz layer to justify decent margins.

i hope you wont dismiss my feedback too easily, i like to see you succeed, I have many Oracle friends, but it may require you to adopt some fresh approaches

thanks again, yaron

Steve Kenniston


I wouldn’t actually call it “confirmation bias” but more like vendor marketeering bias. It’s a little disappointing that you, of all people, would write this and not expect people to see through it. It’s a little disheartening. Yaron (in the comments below) and yourself are two of the most prolific bloggers in the industry and I read almost everything you guys write. Usually your posts take a vendor neutral approach and you lay out the facts as facts, not put down a vendor or industry. But Chuck, come on, since going to Oracle I have seen your stuff lean a little into the wind when it comes to software and cloud as Oracle have more solutions in that space. Yes, people write about the environments they are in, but this piece is over the top. If you had predicted the demise of the storage business while you were at EMC (and written about it), I would give you the props to say, “see, I told you so,” but never once did you talk about what may happen in this space.

I don’t know where to begin. First, I need to take exception with your statement about “supply exceeding demand.” If you look at the chart from your post and understand anything going on outside the database world, it is clear “supply has” NOT “exceeded demand.”

When you think about what is going on in Genomics, IoT, electronic medical health records, AR/VR, fog computing etc… It continues to grow – exponentially. If you read Chris’s post more deeply though, it comes down to money and yes, I would agree, consumption models. Clients want to store as much as they can, as cheaply as they can. While it does talk about the AFA market growing – growing from zero to where they are today would explain the growth, not that utilizing fast media provides any advantage more than speed. As Chris rightly points out “In general, enterprises want their bits to live in trailer parks and not fancy condos. But they'll pay for condos if they can get really fast access to all the floors.” We see this all the time with our conversations with clients at INFINIDAT. Clients don’t need to get to all the floors really fast.

The rosy years you speak of in the business, transformed in part due to the fact there was no innovation, vendors just charged $100,000 for their software on top of a $5,000 commodity server. So, the storage days of old may be gone, but to that I say, good riddance. The reality is the old guard of incumbent storage vendors encapsulate everything that is terrible about the old storage industry. The business model of running storage companies like they deliver a luxury product has failed and is never, ever coming back. While it is true that storage has matured, you say early on there was unique IP and differentiation – mind you that unique IP and differentiation was developed by Moshe Yanai, founding innovator of EMC’s first serious foray into storage, and now the founder of INFINIDAT and with 130 patents, there is plenty of innovation in storage.

I would agree that putting the most expensive media in an array to solve a problem isn’t innovative or the answer, so just throwing SSD drives at the problem doesn’t address the bigger issue, but that isn’t what all vendors are doing. Your argument that Oracle’s differentiation is the fact that it works with its own database is an advantage is really vendor lock-in, the one thing clients hate the most (and I do hear it when I visit with them). This again is nothing more than saying “If you want your database to run right, you need to buy my stuff.” It doesn’t help the customer, because you are right, there has been no new computer science developed in storage for decades – until now.

I also would disagree that the storage vendors have seen their best days. Today we, as a storage industry, have one job; build new kinds of software for storing incredibly large amounts of information at radically lower cost than EMC, and other old world tech companies, as well as the likes of new cloud storage solutions from folks like Amazon, and do so in a much more flexible, cost effective manner.

No matter what Chris’s article says, data is still growing and it needs to be stored somewhere – people are going to want to store it where it makes the most sense, so vendors will need to continue to innovate – not something I have seen from the database market.

Chuck Hollis

Hi Steve. Thanks for the lengthy comments. I gather your at INFINIDAT now?

You accuse me of vendor bias. Guilty as charged. I freely admit it, but I think you might have the causality reversed. I came to Oracle because I believed in certain things, and not the other way around.

I saw the demise of the traditional storage array business as a serious threat about five years ago. That was part of the reason I left for VMware when I did. And worked on VSAN by the way ...

To be realistic, no one in their right mind would publicly proclaim the demise of the company that's paying their bills. You wouldn't, and I wouldn't.

I stand by my assertion that the market demand for differentiated IP in traditional storage arrays is dwindling. All those storage boxes are starting to look like, well, commodities to me. You may have a different opinion, naturally.

I also stand by my assertion that supply for traditional storage arrays is greater than demand. The IDC numbers bear this out. Yes, that overall demand for storage is going elsewhere -- got that.

You call it lock in, I call it co-engineering. The technical evidence is compelling, when you co-engineer the database and the storage together, you can do meaningful things that are relevant to customer outcomes.

If someone doesn't see the value of that integration, the Oracle database runs nicely on just about anything. Of course, it won't run as fast or as efficiently. Think of it as another choice.

Best of luck with your new venture. It would be great if you and the crew at INFINDAT could prove me wrong.

-- Chuck

Raj Srinivasan, CCS Technologies

A very well researched write-up. But this change was long time coming.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Chuck Hollis

  • Chuck Hollis
    SVP, Oracle Converged Infrastructure Systems

    Chuck now works for Oracle, and is now deeply embroiled in IT infrastructure.

    Previously, he was with VMware for 2 years, and EMC for 18 years before that, most of them great.

    He enjoys speaking to customer and industry audiences about a variety of technology topics, and -- of course -- enjoys blogging.

    Chuck lives in Vero Beach, FL with his wife and four dogs when he's not traveling. In his spare time, Chuck is working on his second career as an aging rock musician.

    Warning: do not ever buy him a drink when there is a piano nearby.

    Note: these are my personal views, and aren't reviewed or approved by my employer.
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