Oracle users: Are you really that happy?

I have known Ronan Miles of the UKOUG  for several years. He’s a good contact of Computer Weekly. Under his leadership, I believe Oracle users in the UK have benefited – especially given the huge change within Oracle itself over the last few years.

 

Ronan Miles sees the role of the user group is to help users get the most from their investment in Oracle software and, where appropriate, make sure Oracle understands the user agenda.

 

The latest annual survey from the UKOUG shows people are very happy with Oracle. Call me a twisted, old hack, but I do actually find this somewhat hard to believe. There must be something people would like Oracle to improve. Do you really like the recent licence price hike (due to the weak dollar). Isn’t it time the price dropped to reflect weak sterling? How about virtualisation licensing, or its conFusion strategy?

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Hi Cliff,

Thank you for the very kind words. I will take all the credit but the reality is that the staff, the 170 volunteers and the 11,000 people who take part in UKOUG activities and events during the yeat that are the real driving force that has made us a success.

Is there things customers would like to change? Of course there is, there is plenty of detail - and the survey has volumes of free text which gives UKOUG and Oracle plenty of opportunity for initiatives during the coming year. Some will be minor but some will be major and I look forward to seeing these as headlines during the coming year.

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Cliff Saran is right in querying the validity of the UKOUG annual survey. The M&A process is a lengthy and bumpy one and although Oracle has done its best to integrate its latest acquisitions at the various levels, like Cliff, I find it hard to believe that nearly every user is happy with the way things are. End users are demanding individuals and rightly so; they sign off large cheques to their suppliers and they have the right to expect the best solutions vendors can provide, as well as the commitment to continually improve products and technologies.

For many years Oracle spent several million dollars telling the world that it had the perfect software-only database, only to recently partner with HP and take a giant leap to board the appliance bandwagon. Surely this indicates that the technical big wigs at the orange giant realised their product was not the best on the market? That there was a major change they could make to improve their offering?

In today’s age of the data warehousing appliance, the Oracle database remains the same, a transactional database not designed for high-speed, complex data analytics like in-memory based technologies are; it remains built on indexes and this overhead is what slows it down. Surely its users realise this? At least those that have looked on the other side of the fence?

I do not criticise Oracle (much) for changing direction after so long because offering a data warehouse to its customer base for example, was the smart thing to do in order to remain competitive and because it has allowed organisations to benefit from the new delivery model. However, the Oracle appliance does not make the database any more suitable to address customers’ needs and it probably comes with a hefty price tag and a fairly complex upgrade process. Even Ronan Miles said (www.computerweekly.com/Articles/2008/12/01/233655/oracle-customers-are-happy-happy-happy.htm) that some areas still need improving "Oracle is so complex that it is not possible to understand all the various issues affecting the whole user community," and therefore some users out there must be wishing something was different. After all surely Oracle has a few more than 550 end users?

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