Oracle Makes Case Against IT Complexity

Michael Vizard

Oracle used the launch today of Enterprise Manager 11g to drive home its argument that IT has become too complex to manage, and that the primary culprit behind this tragic state of affairs is all the vendors that an IT organization has to deal with to deliver a complete end-to-end system.

Speaking at the Guggenheim Museum in New York, Oracle president Charles Phillips said IT organizations need a "business-driven" approach to managing enteprise IT that can only be achieved when one vendor is managing everything from the disk to the application.

While there's nothing all that unexpected in terms of new features, which include deeper integration with Sun Solaris, Exadata data warehouses and WebLogic application servers, the release of Enterprise Manager 11g marks the first time that Oracle is making a comprehensive approach to IT management a core part of its selling proposition.

Richard Sarwal, Oracle senior vice president of product development, said that while Enterprise Manager 11g can be used to manage as many as 43 non-Oracle systems today and that third-party organizations are free to add their own plug-in modules, the primary focus of Enterprise Manager 11g is to manage the entire Oracle stack from hardware platforms through the the applications layer. This approach not only saves costs in terms of replacing many systems management tools needed for specific products, it ultimately allows a customer to identify, track and tag a business process as transactions move through the entire Oracle ecosystem.

A big part of that capability is business transaction management software that Oracle added to its portfolio with the recent acquisition of AmberPoint.

During the event, Jean-Pierre Garbani, a principal analyst with Forrester, painted a pretty bleak picture for the furture of systems management, which he said will not be able to keep pace with the rapid growth of data and systems unless IT organizations move to standardize on a single integrated platform.

But many rival vendors would take great exception to the Oracle position. Vendors such as CA, IBM and HP would argue that they are moving to a federated view of systems management where enterprise management systems are tightly integrated with systems management tools for various products that are developed by the vendors most familiar with those technologies. In that model, systems management software from VMware essentially becomes a component of a federated systems management framework from CA. Once integrated, companies such as CA, IBM and HP can then lower the real total cost of enterprise computing by automating IT process management across multiple systems.

Sarwal said Oracle is dubious of this approach because on a practical level it's never been deployed. What customers want is an integrated framework that resolves most of their IT management issues.

Phillips said what customers are going to see is the evolution of Oracle into a company that essenitally delivers "the iPod for the enterprise," where all the hardware and software more naturally works together because it all came from the same vendor.

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