Oracle unveils new hardware for managing cloud computing

Sun Sep 19, 2010 11:29pm EDT

* Unveils Exalogic, showcasing hardware and software

* No signs of HP rift as annual conference opens

By Gabriel Madway and Noel Randewich

SAN FRANCISCO, Sept 19 (Reuters) - Oracle Corp ORCL.O, the world's No. 3 software maker, unveiled a new all-in-one product to help companies manage so-called "cloud" computing.

Chief Executive Larry Ellison opened Oracle's annual technology and user conference on Sunday by revealing Exalogic, which combines server, storage and networking technology with Oracle's software, that companies will use to run their business applications.

Oracle competes with European software giant SAP AG (SAPG.DE) and International Business Machines (IBM) (IBM.N) in the business software and database products markets.

It also vies with hardware vendors such as Hewlett-Packard (HPQ.N) after a multi-billion dollar purchase of Sun Microsystems earlier this year.

Ellison attempted to wrest control of the term "cloud," a word that's meaning is the subject of much debate, as he described Exalogic as a "cloud in a box."

"The whole idea of cloud computing is to have a pool of resources that is shared amongst lots of different applications inside your company," he said.

He said Exalogic takes advantage of virtualization technologies and is elastic enough to meet surges in demand for computing power within companies.

Ellison hopes to double the size of Oracle's hardware business, taking share from IBM and others.

BACKDROP OF DRAMA

The OpenWorld conference -- which attracts more than 40,000 people -- is expected to feature more drama than in years past because of Mark Hurd, the recently ousted CEO of Hewlett-Packard, who Ellison has just hired as president.

The move prompted HP to sue Hurd, and Ellison to fire some harsh words HP's way. The two companies have been partners for more than two decades -- with more than 140,000 joint customers -- but the relationship has appeared strained.

The spat did not prevent HP from making a high-profile appearance at the Oracle conference, although Ellison did not appear on stage with any HP executives.

Ann Livermore, who runs HP's enterprise business, had been scheduled to speak at OpenWorld long before the Hurd controversy erupted.

Livermore noted how connected the two companies' businesses are. HP has roughly 12,000 IT services employees who do nothing but work on Oracle systems, she said.

Oracle's software runs on HP servers and storage products, but the companies are now competing more directly, as Oracle pushes into the server market.

Oracle on Thursday reported better-than-expected net profit and sales, helped by strong demand for its new business software and faster-than-expected growth of its new hardware business. [ID:nN16154992]

Hurd was named co-president of Oracle on Sept. 6, replacing Charles Phillips. Oracle shares surged when his hiring was announced. [ID:nN06144965] (Editing by Dhara Ranasinghe)

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