I read Jason Kotsaftis's recent blog post with interest, since I too am very biased. Rather than commenting on Jason's post (everyone knows comments very seldom get read), I thought I would wade in with my own take on this issue.
When I came to EMC, I was shocked at how Microsoft-centric we are. Not that Microsoft is an uninteresting technology space. Far from it. I simply maintain that Oracle is more interesting, and that Oracle has been woefully neglected by EMC in the past (although that is turning around rapidly due to the great work of folks in Jason's organization).
Looking at the two spaces: Microsoft and Oracle, which is more interesting for us? I maintain that Oracle is more interesting because of several factors:
- First is the halo effect. I talk about this a lot, but for those who don't know me, here is the idea. Oracle is the most expensive piece of software ever written for general purpose use. (It is also the most complex.) To give you an idea of the cost of Oracle, I recently visited with a major Fortune 500 company and met with their DBA group. They shared the cost of their Oracle license with me. That cost for them is $22 per GB per month. They have petabytes of this stuff. Think about that for a minute. That is an astounding number. This company is launching an entire project to reduce the cost of the Oracle license, because it is such a huge component of their IT budget. The effect of the fact of the cost of Oracle is simply this: The customer cares, and cares deeply, about the Oracle infrastructure. It is their crown jewel. They have paid dearly for it. In order to play in that space, you need to be the most enterprise-ready, robust, reliable, resilent technology in there entire environment. What does this mean for you? If you can store and manage the Oracle database data, you are by definition the best vendor in their datacenter. You are handling and helping manage the customer's most important, expensive, precious environment. Are you then good enough to store and manage the Microsoft data? I would say, virtually by definition, yes. So, if you qualify yourself to store Microsoft data, you do not automatically qualify yourself to store Oracle data. On the other hand, if you have qualified yourself to store the Oracle database data, you are almost all of the way there in building credibility in the Microsoft space, especially with the higher level managers in the customer's organization who have visibility into both those technology spaces. This is the halo effect. It is very real. I have seen this work in exactly this manner many, many times in my career.
- Of the two companies, Microsoft and Oracle, who is more aligned with EMC? Microsoft still makes the vast majority of their revenues off of the sale of consumer-oriented desktop software. Oracle is truly the enterprise software company. They dwarf Microsoft in that space. This is exactly the business we are in. If you look at the Symmetrix and compare it to Oracle, it amazing how many similarities there are in terms of the market they address. We own this space and so do they.
Is Microsoft easier? Absolutely. Oracle is a tough company to work
with. They have a killer technology and they know it. They want to own
the market. They do not believe that they need us. They know we need
them. Their technology is far more complex and difficult than Microsoft.
All of that is true. But people make money doing things that are hard. Doing a great job of addressing the Oracle market will yield huge rewards, far beyond the costs of doing so. I strongly support the effort of Jason, Jeff, and Vince in building the Oracle relationship, and I am in for the long haul in helping them to do so.