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Top five questions for Oracle OpenWorld 2009

This’ll be easy. As Oracle keeps trying to close its Sun Microsystems acquisition, the top Oracle OpenWorld queries are locked up this year. But partners and solution providers still have other nagging issues they want addressed at the show. So, here goes:

1: What will Oracle do with Sun hardware (and Sun’s hardware channel?) Granted, with those pesky EU regulators breathing down it’s neck–mostly on MySQL questions–Larry Ellison needs to reassure Sun partners and customers that Oracle wants their business but without saying anything detailed that could further inflame the law-and-order crowd.

2: Specifically, how will Oracle deal with Exadata? The first, HP-based big-bang “database machine”  was a direct sale from Oracle although any Oracle partner worth his or her salt knows that can be finessed if they file a non-standard deal and can best the Oracle rep. With a new Sun-based box, will Sun hardware partners get to play? If so, how much will they love competing with Oracle partners (and Oracle direct sales?)


3: What’s up with Fusion apps? A perennial question mark since this best-of-the-best-of-PeopleSoft-Siebel-Oracle-JD Edwards-ya-de-ya-de-ya applications suite should have been here long ago.


4: How does all the software Oracle acquired and built really fit together? Oracle talks up AIA and its pre-built integrations, but even Oracle’s biggest and best partners still would like a clear picture of how all this mishegas will be rationalized and strategized.

5: When will Oracle’s CEO show some partner love?It’s all well and good for Charles Phillips to talk about how partners are important and most agree that Ted Bereswill and Judson Althoff have done a good job re-strategizing the Oracle PartnerNetwork. But when push comes to shove, Ellison is a no show. Contrast that to Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer who appears at many Microsoft partner events and actually knows partners by name.  Even HP’s Mark Hurd keynotes at HP PartnerWorld –although to be fair, there was no PartnerWorld this year.

“That Larry never shows up for any channel event tells me all i need to know,” said one long-time Oracle and Sun partner on the east coast.

BTW, a non-scientific poll of Sun partners around the country shows that many have either picked up another hardware vendor or are now leading with non-Sun hardware. Some of these changes started percolating before the Oracle buy was announced, but many were apparently speeded up by the news. HP appears to be the major beneficiary.  Ellison may have to do more than take out ads.)


Bonus question:Will Scott McNealy be able to muster any enthusiasm for tonight’s keynote? His noticeable lack-of-affect on the call announcing Oracle’s $7-billion-plus Sun buy was striking.

Read about changes to the Oracle PartnerWorld network.


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