Tag: ellison

Ellison declares victory over Amazon in cloud wars

oracle-founder-larry-ellisonOracle supremo Larry Ellison has announced Oracle’s second generation cloud package and is already claiming that it will clean Amazon’s clock.

The announcement was made at Oracle’s OpenWorld conference in San Francisco  and it is basically all about Oracle’s  second generation of cloud infrastructure for third-party developers to run their applications in Oracle data centers.

It is pased around different virtual-machine s that Oracle is making available in this second-generation offering. The first is dubbed the Dense IO Shape and it offers 28.8TB, 512GB, and 36 cores, and will set you back $5.40 per hour. This product offers more than 10 times the input-output capacity of Amazon Web Services (AWS), specifically the i2.8xlarge instance, Ellison told the assorted throngs.

“Amazon’s lead is over. Amazon’s going to have serious competition going forward,” Ellison said.

For those who came in late, AWS leads the cloud infrastructure market, with Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, and IBM trailing behind. Oracle’s public cloud was not included in the most recent version of Gartner’s highly regarded cloud infrastructure as a service (IaaS) Magic Quadrant, which was released last month.  This is mostly because Oracle also does not have enough market share to qualify for inclusion.

Ellison clearly thinks that will all turn around now. The new offering takes advantage of regions, each of which contains three separate “availability domains,” or connected data centres. Oracle’s competitors in the cloud also offer regions of data centers. But this represents a step forward for Oracle.

Ellison said that he respects Amazon for being the “first mover” in the business of cloud infrastructure. “But now we’re aggressively moving into infrastructure, and we have a new generation of data centers that we’re building around the world.”

He also announced a new product called Cloud@Customer, which lets customers place servers that are identical to Oracle’s cloud infrastructure in their own on-premises infrastructure (the servers run the same software as the software on Oracle’s cloud servers). These servers have the same price structure as their corresponding cloud versions.

Sparc returns to Ellison’s eyes

oracle-founder-larry-ellisonAfter seeing its Sparc processor as its red-headed stepchild, Oracle has started getting motivated about the chip again.

It has been talking about selling a Sparc M7 processor since 2014, It’s a RISCy business.

Oracle has done so with all the speed and motivation of an archaeologist on his way to a dig at Palmyra.

Now suddenly Oracle’s chief oracle, Larry Ellison, is talking about the 64 bit CPU’s security defences.  Yesterday, Ellison was sitting in front of lots of slides which suggested that the M7 will have the ability to tag regions of memory so software hijacked by hackers cannot read or write data.

It should render vulnerabilities such as Heartbleed useless to attackers.

The M7 has a defence mechanism called Silicon Secured Memory (SSM) which seems incredibly similar to Oracle’s Application Data Integrity (ADI) technology.

When an application requests some new memory to use via malloc(), the operating system tags the block of memory with a version number, and gives the app a pointer to that memory. The pointer also contains the version number, which is stashed in the top four bits.

When a pointer is used to access a block of memory, the pointer’s version number must match the memory block’s version number, or an exception will be triggered.

This would stop all major Adobe Flash and Internet Explorer exploits.

Ellison reckons it would have stopped the OpenSSL Heartbleed and QEMU Venom buffer-overrun attacks dead. He was keen to stress this feature will be always switched on and available.

“We’re pushing security down into the silicon. This gets us ahead of the bad guys,” Ellison told his audience.

Oracle reckons its M7 has broken “world record results in over 20 benchmarks.” The M7 is a 4.13GHz 32-core, 256-hardware-thread CPU with 64MB of on-chip L3 cache. It can scale up to 512 cores and 4,096 threads, and address up to 8TB of physical RAM. The CPU architecture is Sparc V9.

New Servers

The chips will be seen in the following new servers:

SPARC T7-1 32-core 4.1GHz M7 CPU, up to 512GB of RAM, four 10GbE ports, up to eight 600GB or 1200GB 2.5in SAS-3 drives, or up to eight 400GB SSDs or four 1.6TB NVMe drives. Oracle Solaris 11.3 or later recommended.

SPARC T7-2  Two 32-core 4.1GHz M7 CPUs, up to 1TB of RAM, four 10GbE ports, up to six 600GB or 1200GB 2.5in SAS-3 drives, or up to six 400GB SSDs or four 1.6TB NVMe drives. Oracle Solaris 11.3 or later recommended.

SPARC T7-4  Two or four 32-core 4.1GHz M7 CPUs, up to 2TB of RAM, four 10GbE ports, up to eight 600GB or 1200GB 2.5in SAS-3 drives, or up to eight 400GB SSDs or eight 1.6TB NVMe drives. Oracle Solaris 11.3 or later recommended.

SPARC M7-8 Two to eight 32-core 4.1GHz M7 CPUs, up to 4TB of RAM, up to 24 low-profile PCIe 3.0 (x16) slots. Oracle Solaris 11.3 or later recommended.

SPARC M7-16  Four to 16 32-core 4.1GHz M7 CPUs, up to 8TB of RAM, up to 48 low-profile PCIe 3.0 (x16) slots. Oracle Solaris 11.3 or later recommended.

SuperCluster M7  in lots of flavours

Ellison gives blessing to government snooping

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison did his best to play down concerns about NSA hacking into his business customers’ private data.

At an industry conference in San Francisco, an audience member asked the Oracle co-founder what to tell potential Oracle cloud-computing clients who worry that the National Security Agency could access their information.

Ellison chose his words extremely carefully. He said that “to the best of our knowledge,” an Oracle database has not been broken into for a couple of decades by anybody.

He said the databases were so secure there are people that complain they are too difficult to use.

However, Ellison implied that the only thing businesses have to worry about is the NSA cracking an Oracle database. If they managed that, Ellison is saying he had no knowledge of it. But he is also not saying what Oracle would do if an NSA spook showed up with a court order and demanded he handed over all the data on a business client, which is a scenario that many businesses are worried about.

However, David Litchfield, an established security expert and frequent speaker at top hacking conferences, disagreed with Ellison’s comments and said he regularly sees Oracle systems being compromised.

In fact he told Reuters that of all of the commercial databases, Oracle is the least secure.

Ellison got his start doing work for the CIA. In 1977 the spooks asked him to design a database, codenamed Oracle. The same year, Ellison and his colleagues founded the database company that would eventually be renamed Oracle.

Ellison and Oracle have also been one of the few IT outfits in the US who has publically endorsed the NSA’s spy programme. In an interview with CBS News’ Charlie Rose in August, Ellison said he believed the NSA’s widespread surveillance was essential to preventing terrorism. Still nothing to worry about eh? 

Oracle becomes open source's Dr Evil

Oracle has practically declared war on the open source movement and become public enemy number one amongst the weirdie beardy penguin fans.

When Larry Ellison wrote a cheque for Sun Microsystems, he became one of the significant Open Source players, something that he was not exactly happy with.

His outfit’s handling of core Open Source projects such as OpenOffice and MySQL failed to earn any respect from the Free Software community. Then, after Oracle attacked Android with its Java and failed miserably, it lost any remaining mojo it might have had.

Now it seems to want to make matters worse by releasing a report attacking Open Sauce. It has published a paper in which it repeats everything that proprietary outfits have been saying about Open Sauce for years.

In the paper, Oracle claims that total cost of ownership goes up with the use of open source technologies. It claims that the total cost of ownership for open source software often exceeds that of commercial software.

“While minimising capital expenses by acquiring “free” open source software is appealing, the up front cost of any software endeavour represents only a small fraction of the total outlay over the lifecycle of ownership and usage. And while cost effectiveness is important, it must be carefully weighed against mission – effectiveness,” the report said.

If this sounds familiar it is exactly the sort of stuff which Microsoft was releasing with its research papers until it worked out that it was better to have open source on its side.

Oracle said that community developed code is inferior and less secure than company developed products.

Apparently, only proprietary code is low on defects and well documented code.

“For the intensive, mission critical capabilities required by most DoD projects, Oracle recommends its flagship commercial software products,” the report said.

Writing in his bog  Open Saucer Swapnil Bhartiya pointed out that Oracle needed a reality check on the effectiveness of proprietary software.

It needed to deal with its own Java insecurity, it needs to be told how Adobe Flash is a cracker’s heaven and how Internet Explorer and Windows are used as ‘tools’ by crackers to hijack computers, Bhartiya said. 

Oracle's Larry Ellison enthusiastically applauds NSA spying

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison has given his enthusiastic support for the National Security Agency’s global surveillance of the internet and everyone on it.

In a CBS interview, Ellison said some things people were saying about the NSA were misleading. He said that data was already being collected long before the NSA was seeing it, besides, firms like credit card companies had all this data long before the NSA.

There are some significant differences between a credit card company building a file on you and the most powerful government of the world potentially keeping files on absolutely everyone. Credit card companies usually don’t have the power to arrest you and lock you up in solitary for the rest of your life, either, and we can’t think of a single time a failed card application confiscated someone’s passport.

Ellison said that the privacy debate is “fascinating” to him as he has never heard of information being misused by the government. He can’t have been looking very hard or has had his fingers in his ears.

Clearly Ellison has never heard of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court which said that on at least one occasion, the Fourth Amendment protections of an American citizen were violated. Through collusion with other allies such as the United Kingdom, it is possible for the US to get around irritating technicalities like Amendment protections – so in all likelihood it was many more.

The NSA, though, is as transparent as a brick, so most details about the spying programmes were classified for “national security” and would have never been revealed if not for the actions of a whistleblower, Edward Snowden, who was horrified by the actions of his representatives.

Ellison said that surveillance is “great” and “essential”, citing the need to minimise terror attacks like in Boston. But blanket surveillance of citizens did not stop that tragedy from happening, and the FBI even admitted snooping could not have flagged the Boston bombers.

Ellison admits that he is a little concerned about the possibily of the technology being used for political targeting rather than terrorism, but the US government would never do that – would it?

Why, then, could Ellison be such an enthusiastic supporter of the NSA spying programme? Well, the answer is that the technology does not come cheap and a top supplier for the NSA just happens to be Larry Ellison’s Oracle.

Oracle, the Atlantic points out, also solicits other defence contracts and just last June signed a $680 million deal with the Defense Information Systems Agency.

Based on that, Ellison is never going to question the antics of one of his best customers using gear his company has designed. In fact , the way Ellison downplays the Snowden revelations is downright misleading. The extreme, systemic surveillance, and collaboration between US allies to get around pesky barriers like the constitution, is one of the most important stories this decade.


Has Larry Ellison been body snatched?

It is starting to look like the abrasive CEO of Oracle Larry Ellison has been bodysnatched and replaced by someone who wants to make friends with everyone.

While we knew he had buried the hatchet with long term enemy Salesforce, and signed a friendship agreement with Microsoft, the comments he has been making about CEO Marc Benioff indicate a dramatic shift in personality.

According to USA Today, the depths of the change were obvious in a conference call the pair made to outline their new pact. They seemed to be like a couple of love-sick teens talking about each other in terms which could be dangerous for our diabetic readers.

Ellison remembered the days before he called Salesforce a cockroach hotel when the pair worked together in perfect harmony.

As Benioff waxed on the praise in the conference call, he said: “the pre-integration of the application layer, the continuous improvement, the security and performance and the economy at the infrastructure level, are not going to come from a customer-supplier relationship but from a partnership relationship and that is what is very important to Oracle”.

While most of the world would not have a clue what he was saying, you could tell that love was in the air.

This is a far cry from Ellison slaming Salesforce.com, for using the “wrong” cloud model – unlike Oracle’s, Ellison dubbed Salesforce.com’s multi-tenancy architecture 15 years out of date, saying it has a “horrible” security model.

Now it seems that Ellison is looking forward to working with Salesforce for years to come.

Benioff said that this is “a new world, this is a new time”. The couple were in the “third wave of computing and companies like Salesforce and Oracle working together is evidence that that’s how it has to be in this new world because the value that can get creative is just going to be epic”.

Ellison watchers are not sure what to make of the superfriendly new rolemodel. We know that he has bought an Island near Hawaii so maybe the sea air is agreeing with him. 

Ellison's Empire is expanding

Oracle’s Larry Ellison appears to be expanding his business empire and wants to become a big player on the Big Content bandwagon.

According to ReutersEllison, who recently bought a Hawaiian island, is trying to buy Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG), from his mate Phil Anschutz for $10 billion.

But the move does not appear to be an attempt to put entertainment content on any Oracle clouds, but more of a way that Ellison can get to buy sports teams.

While many people just invest in Subbuteo, Ellison has not had much luck buying a real team. AEG would allow him to buy and relocate a National Football League team to Los Angeles.

AEG’s assets include stakes in the Los Angeles Lakers NBA franchise, the LA Kings pro hockey team, more than 100 worldwide entertainment and sports venues, and the AEG Live concert promotion business.

Of course there are lots of others interested in buying. There are investment firm Guggenheim Partners and Dr Who villains Bain Capital.

Biotech billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong has also said he would bid on AEG to use its sports and concert assets to promote a healthy lifestyle to LA citizens and a healthy bank balance for himself. 

Ellison wants to make island self-sustainable

Oracle billionaire CEO Larry Ellison is spending a fortune to make the Hawaiian island of Lanai into an environmentally sustainable enterprise.

Ellison bought 98 percent of the 141-square-mile island from fellow billionaire David Murdock in June.

For the price, Ellison’s bought two resorts a golf courses, a variety of commercial and residential structures and vast acres of pineapple fields. Of course, he does not live there but is effectively the King of the Island.

According to the news channel CNBC, Ellison said that Lanai is a very interesting project and he wanted to turn the country into a model for sustainable enterprise.

He plans to convert sea water into fresh water and have organic farms all over the island. Hopefully we are going to export produce.

Ellison has plans to help local people start such businesses and said the island would have electric cars.

Reuters claims that King Ellison has a lot of support amongst his subjects. They say they knew they could not make much dosh off of tourism and this sort of cunning plan will be a winner.

Ellison has been a “King over the Water” and has not actually met with the community to talk about his plans. Murdock did meet with the islanders, made lots of promises, but nothing happened.

Apparently the islanders prefer someone who makes his promises at a distance.

Ellison recently paid for a refurbishment of the island’s public pool and recreation centre as well as upgrades to workers’ housing around the island so they think he is more serious. 

Oracle loses Google court battle

Although its battle to take on Google’s Android had been going badly, Oracle lawyers have now seen their entire case go down the loo.

Judge William Alsup, who recently finished presiding over the six-week Oracle v. Google trial, ruled that the structure of the Java APIs that Oracle was trying to assert can’t be copyrighted.

Alsup, who is a programmer himself, said that only the code and not the “how-to” instructions represented by APIs can be the subject of a copyright claim.

Alsup said that so long as the specific code is different, anyone is free under the Copyright Act to write his or her own code to carry out exactly the same function.

In this case Google had copied names, declaration and header lines, of the Java APIs. Alsup decided that even though Google could have rearranged “the various methods under different groupings among the various classes and packages,” the overall name tree is “a utilitarian and functional set of symbols, each to carry out a pre-assigned function… Duplication of the command structure is necessary for interoperability.”

The ruling means that Oracle’s case is dead in the water. It followed a copyright trial and a patent trial that Oracle also lost.

But the case means a lot more than that as far as legal precidents are concerned. Alsup compared APIs to a library, with each package as a bookshelf in the library.

He said that each class is a book on the shelf, and each method a chapter out of a how-to book.

He said that the Java and Android libraries were organised in the same basic way but all of the chapters in Android have been written with implementations different from Java but solving the same problems and providing the same functions.

Alsup said that the declarations, or headers, “must be identical to carry out the given function.”

He added that 97 percent of the source code in the API packages was different and it was only the three percent that overlaps that formed the heart of Oracle’s copyright claim.

But since that three percent included packages, methods, and class names and the language demands that the method declaration take a particular form,” notes Alsup.

The European Court had made a similar decision saying that programming APIs can’t be copyrighted because it would “monopolise ideas.”

Oracle has promised to appeal the decision, saying it will continue to support “the broader Java community” of over nine million developers.

According to reports, Google claimed that the court’s reliance on “interoperability” ignores the undisputed fact that Google deliberately eliminated interoperability between Android and all other Java platforms.

Google intentionally fragmented Java and broke the “write once, run anywhere promise, Orachle moaned.

To get any copyright royalties from Google, Oracle have to get Alsup’s API decision overturned on appeal and then win a new jury trial as well.

If Oracle had won, it could have reversed the open-source process by making users have to pay for Java if they wanted to use it for commercial purposes.

Alsup said that the copied function, called rangeCheck(), was “innocuous and overblown by Oracle.” Joshua Bloch, the Google engineer who wrote rangeCheck(), wrote it in his own spare time, as part of a larger block of code which he donated to an open implementation of Java.

Alsup said that it was an innocent and inconsequential instance of copying in the context of a massive number of lines of code.

We doubt that Oracle will get much damages from its use. 

Oracle plans new cloud suite

Things have not been going that well for Oracle lately with the press more likely to mention the name in association with court cases. But now there is the shocking news that Oracle is actually releasing a product.

According to Reuters, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, the billionaire chief exec, will launch a suite of cloud-based software products and computing services in the first week of June.

Oracle makes most of its cash selling software that companies install in their own data centres. However it is behind smaller software vendors, such as Salesforce.com in using internet distribution.

Oracle makes $1 billion a year from web-based software. Ellison told an All Things Digital conference that it is only a third what Salesforce.com projects it will pull in during the current year.

Ellison said his new cloud-based products will be based around Oracle’s databases and business management software.

He is expected to announce more details on 6 June. If the range comes out as expected then it could see Oracle getting out of the suing business and aggressively competing again.