Examining the ongoing challenges of delivering high-quality, value-added ERP services in Higher Education.

Monday, October 3, 2011

OOW Day One

Sunday is for SIGs – Special Interest Groups oriented around geographic regions, products, or business processes. These groups, associated with the Oracle Applications User Group (OAUG), typically meet twice each year – at OAUG Collaborate and Open World. In between, most of the SIGs have e-mail discussion boards, educational webinars, etc. For more info start here: OAUG SIGs

SIGs are a great way to meet people and hear from Oracle. Unfortunately, they’re also held on Sunday before the conference has officially kicked off, so they can be a little sparse. Yesterday, I missed the Upgrade (R12) SIG and E-Business Suite SIG but made it to the Moscone Center in time for the Hyperion SIG. In that session, I learned that Oracle would be announcing later that evening the release of “Exalytics” – an optimized “parallel-everything” pre-built server for analytics, with Essbase at the core. I knew that a major focus for this conference was going to be the Exadata (purpose-built appliance for Oracle Database) and Exalogic (purpose-built appliance for Oracle Middleware) but this was interesting news indeed. Unfortunately, I would have rather found out the release date for the next major Hyperion EPM version, but was told merely “2012” which is not particularly helpful.

The Higher Education User Group (HEUG) is an unusual SIG in that rather than focusing on geography or technology, the HEUG focuses on an industry. We have long been involved in the HEUG, with two current members (Ryan and Tom) of Product Advisory Groups (PAGs) that interface directly with Oracle development to lobby for higher education interests. There was a strong turn-out (at least 50) for this session and they held a reception immediately afterwards at a nearby restaurant to allow for more networking time. Since we use a small piece of pretty much every Oracle product except JDE, we have a little something in common with everyone there. The most interesting dialogue I had was with Lone Star College, which implemented 44 modules (!) of PeopleSoft Enterprise and Campus Solutions in 18 months, with a total of 40 (!!!) customizations platform-wide. Ouch. Makes me feel just a little better about our current slate of upgrade projects…

After rubbing elbows and trading business cards for an hour, we returned to the Moscone Center for the main event – Larry Ellison’s keynote speech. It was a strange one. The San Francisco Giants gave Mr. Ellison a world series ring for his years of support. Partner and CIO of-the-year awards were presented. And then Mr. Ellison began his presentation. For one hour, he talked about hardware. Data compression. Infiniband. DRAM. Parallel everything. Lots of math. Some talk of customer case studies, with the final punchline each time the performance gains. 60x, 18x, 23x, 40x. All very impressive, but a little boring for those of us with application software on the mind. Exalytics was announced with ten minutes to go, and Ellison showed some ugly stats that looked eerily like our own Hyperion Planning performance, and then what would happen if we had Exalyctics. Very exciting, though all talk of pricing was omitted from the slides…

I hope to learn enough this week about Exa- this and Exa- that to put a more layman’s definition together, but my head is spinning far too fast. Off to see Exalytics in action at the 8am keynote; will report back tomorrow!

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