This week, Oracle reminded me of a classic scene from The Naked Gun, where Lieutenant Drebin (the late Lesley Nielsen) grabs a bullhorn and states, "Please disperse...there is nothing to see here." Meanwhile, directly behind him, you see gunfire, explosions, helicopters, chaos, etc. It is great satire, demonstrating that despite very obvious conditions, some people remain oblivious and pretend that nothing is happening.
Oracle presented their own flavor of "Please disperse...there is nothing to see here." on their earnings call this week.
To paraphrase their comments: We make alot of money in relational databases. Therefore, we will do anything to protect this franchise. We will pretend that the world has not changed since our first government project, code named Oracle.
Their actual comments were:
Well, Hadoop... is going to be one of the feeder systems to the Oracle Database. We have announced interfaces that allow you to take your Hadoop systems and connect them to Oracle systems so you can load your Hadoop data into Oracle. So we think it's going to increase the usage of Oracle. Furthermore... we're going to come up with 4 new-engineered systems, one of which is SPARC Supercluster, and we're also going to have a big data engineered system that we're going to introduce at Oracle OpenWorld. So we think as more and more data gets computerized, a lot of that data finds its way into an Oracle Database and it allows our database business to grow at an accelerated rate.
After Hadoop finishes filtering the data, the place you want to put that data is in Oracle Database, and that's what a lot of our customers are doing. And we are exploiting the trend, the big data technology and the big data trend, if you prefer, by building a Hadoop appliance that attaches to the Oracle Exadata database or any Oracle Database for that matter. But you don't have to buy our Hadoop appliance if you can use whatever servers you want running Hadoop, and we provide the interface between Hadoop and the Oracle Database. The idea is all of your data should be -- you should be able to put all of your data regardless of data type into the Oracle Database where it can be stored securely and reliably. And you could search it and get answers to your questions very quickly.
Anyone that has spent any time looking at Hadoop/Big Data and has actually talked to a client, knows a few basic things:
1) Big Data platforms enable ad-hoc analytics on non-relational (ie unmodelled data). This allows you to uncover insights to questions that you never think to ask. This is simply not possible in a relational database.
2) You cannot deliver true analytics of Big Data relying only on batch insights. You must deliver streaming and real-time analytics. That is not possible if you are biased towards putting everything in a database, before doing anything.
3) Clients will demand that Big Data platforms connect to their existing infrastructure. Clients don't think that Big Data platforms exist solely for the purpose of populating existing relational systems. Big difference.
Once you consider what is happening in the market around Big Data, it becomes obvious that there really is something to see here.