Top Oracle predictions in 2011

Oracle storage, Fusion Applications and Oracle cloud computing to be big topics this year, according four IT experts.

Predicting what Oracle will do can be a tricky venture. After all, who would have thought two years ago that Oracle would snatch Sun Microsystems from under IBM’s nose? Not many. That being said, we at SearchOracle.com thought we would give predictions a try. So we contacted four of our favorite experts and asked them their 2011 Oracle predictions. Those experts are:

Here is what they had to say.

Oracle to buy EMC or other storage company?

Guyer and Wang both predict that Oracle will buy some kind of storage company this year. Their logic: Oracle’s aim is to control the entire IT stack, from application to chip. Sun, though it has some storage devices, isn’t the kind of storage player that EMC or NetApp is.

“As with the BEA sabre-rattling during the middleware wars, Oracle's storage war with EMC could lead to the acquisition of EMC or NetApp as Oracle looks to fill out white spaces in its stack,” Wang said.

Guyer agreed, going further and predicting a hostile takeover of EMC similar to Oracle’s acquisition of PeopleSoft. 

“Oracle needs storage, but more importantly, the EMC install base is a goldmine of maintenance renewals,” Guyer said, adding that the deal could put some strain on the VMware-Cisco-EMC partnership and that could lead to uncertainty [bb1] regarding Cisco’s new line of server hardware.

An Oracle purchase of EMC would also mean Oracle control of VMware. With Oracle pushing hard for Oracle VM, its own server virtualization technology, the acquisition would make for interesting questions regarding what Oracle would do with VMware. Especially considering Oracle’s current lukewarm support and licensing policies on running Oracle software on VMware.

Oracle Fusion Applications hit the mainstream

Our experts also predicted that Oracle Fusion Applications will make a big splash in 2011. Fusion Applications are expected to be generally available in the first quarter of 2011.

Teter said customers will like the new user experience on Fusion Applications, as well as the “disappearance of the division” between transactions and business intelligence. But he said it won’t all be easy.

“They’ll also have to adjust to the idea of planned incremental releases of functionality,” he said.

Wang also predicted movement on Fusion Applications; in particular, he thinks Oracle will launch an Exadata-like appliance for Fusion Applications.

“Oracle will expand deployment options to include integrated appliances where clients avoid the hassle of implementation and spend time tuning and configuring in Oracle's hardware offering,” Wang said

Wang added that he thinks Oracle will buy a social business software company, mainly for incorporation into Fusion Middleware and Applications.

Speaking of Exadata, Niemiec predicted that it and Exalogic will go from testing to production in many more shops this year, saying that they will “start hitting the mainstream with many corporate CIO buyers.”

Oracle cloud computing to take a bigger role

Though cloud computing is a popular buzzword and Oracle professionals have expressed interest in putting applications in the cloud, actual deployment to the cloud is slow, and practically non-existent in production environments.

That could change in 2011. Teter predicted that Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) will become the preferred platform for companies moving their ERP software to the cloud.

“And the number of companies doing so will not be insignificant,” he said, adding that “2011 will be the year of ERP in the cloud, and Amazon will be the leading provider.”

The rest of the 2011 Oracle predictions

The rest of our experts’ predictions don’t fall into any unifying category, as they range from predictions on Sparc and Java to ERP support costs and investment decisions. Here they are:

Teter said that 2011 will be the year that the current business model for ERP software support “begins to implode.”

“Customers just can’t continue paying 23-25% of license fees for annual maintenance,” he said, and attempts by Oracle and SAP to drive third-party support vendors out of the market through lawsuits and the like will be futile.

Teter also said Generation Y will become the dominant segment of the workforce, leading companies away from centralized procedures and processes and toward collaborative creation. Finally, Teter predicted that IT projects getting funded in 2011 will be customer-facing or provide significant cost savings and that more maintenance activities will be outsourced.

Guyer said he’s still skeptical that Oracle will continue its Unix and Sparc business, adding that it won’t go away in 2011 but the signs will begin to emerge. He expects Intel to take over, with Solaris optimized for the x86 chip. Guyer also predicted that a competitor to Java will emerge as Oracle makes Java more proprietary. He said IBM could do such a thing with the support of Google, Salesforce.com, Amazon, SAP and others.

Finally, Niemiec predicted that Oracle will be rated the No. 1 big company to invest in 2011. That’s hard to argue with, as Oracle’s stock outpaced the Dow Jones Industrial Average in 2010 by quite a bit.

Mark Fontecchio can be reached at mfontecchio@techtarget.com.

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