Oracle/Dell relationship ‘deepens’ at OpenWorld

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On stage at last week’s Oracle OpenWorld conference in San Francisco, Michael Dell announced integration moves that will bring the two companies closer together than ever before. For Dell, tighter links with Oracle will be helpful as it outlines its strategy for the next decade, at a time when it is finalising details of the re-acquisition of the firm by its founder and a group of equity partners. For Oracle, getting cosy with Dell - already a preferred partner for x86 servers - could help bolster the company’s cloud strategy.

“With deep partners like Oracle, we can bring the power of Oracle’s information platform and our infrastructure, systems management, security and services to more customers than every before,” Michael Dell told OpenWorld attendees in his keynote presentation. “We can jointly innovate and engineer to make technology less complex and easier to own and operate.”

Accordingly, his first announcement concerned the merging of management software: Dell is integrating its OpenManage tools for managing hardware infrastructure with Oracle’s Enterprise Manager tools for managing databases. In essence, this offers IT teams the opportunity to more easily optimise Oracle databases running on Dell hardware via a single, integrated console. In theory, that should make it easier to pinpoint problems and rectify them.

The second major announcement concerned converged infrastructure, the bundling of server, storage and networking resources into a single, pre-engineered stack. It’s a market where Dell competes with its ‘Active Infrastructure’ range. At OpenWorld, the company announced that it will be offering Active Infrastructure for Oracle Linux and Oracle VM, enabling it to deliver to customers entire integrated Oracle stacks and offer first-call support for them.

Finally, Dell announced updates to the Toad database development and management tool it acquired through its 2012 purchase of Quest Software and its SharePlex data replication tool, enabling these to work with Oracle’s latest database version, 12c.

The deepening relationship between Dell and Oracle throws out a clear challenge to rivals IBM and HP in the battle for supremacy in customer data centres. At the same time, the mutual benefits for the two companies are clear: Dell needs access to Oracle’s established base of corporate customer in order to strengthen its claims to being a vendor of enterprise-class hardware, while Oracle needs access to a volume hardware business outside of its acquired Sun Microsystems business, which will give it more software opportunities.

And according to Michael Dell, being taken out of public ownership means that his company is now able to focus on its strategy for the next five to ten years and beyond.

“We need to look at not just the quarter ahead, but the decade ahead, and investing for long-term success,” he told OpenWorld attendees. “We were at the heart of the PC and server revolution - but our future is deep at the heart of the data centre.”

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