Industry Leader Q&A with Andy Flower - It's All About the Database at IOUG

Earlier this year, Andy Flower took over as president of the Independent Oracle Users Group from Ian Abramson. With Oracle OpenWorld right around the corner, Flower recently talked with Database Trends and Applications how the IOUG is changing to best meet the challenges and opportunities presented by the expanding Oracle ecosystem, despite what continues to be a difficult economy. For the IOUG, it is "the year of the member" and it all starts with the database, he says. Here, an excerpt of that interview.

How are Oracle's recent acquisitions, including that of Sun - with MySQL - changing the approach of the IOUG in supporting the Oracle community?
Flower: Not all of Oracle's acquisitions are related to us and so we pick and choose the technology areas that we feel are important to our members. Sun is one of those where we see a lot of opportunity, in particular with MySQL, simply because, from polling our membership, a lot of them are not only Oracle customers but also Sun and MySQL customers. There is a whole MySQL community that knows very little about Oracle. We see an opportunity to fill that gap and help them understand what Oracle is all about, but also to bring like-minded people together so that we get a broad understanding of how you manage different types of applications with different types of database technology.

Is MySQL the technology component of Sun that is bringing the greatest number of new members to the IOUG?
Flower: Yes, but we are also thrilled to be working with the Large Tape Users Group, as a result of the Sun acquisition. We have already been supporting them. They are a smaller group and unlikely to become part of COLLABORATE but we are fully supporting them.

What are the key challenges that you see ahead in the coming months?
Flower: One of our key challenges is really about dealing with the acquisitions. There has been a lot of activity around Oracle and what should we ago after, what should we not go after. Even though the Sun acquisition is a big one, there have been many others that came before. We are starting to se the dust settle a little bit within Oracle on how they see what they have acquired and whether they will be standalone products or something completely embedded into something else, and that has allowed us to refocus back on members.

It is all about the database and working outward from there. How do we support the different types of applications with the new technology that is embedded or associated with the database? And so this year we are really refocusing on that. That is how we are addressing the breadth of technology that Oracle has put out there - this refocus on the DBA and on what is important for them from 11g R2 to security to supporting mixed uses like operational systems as well as BI and data warehousing to Exadata, but it all comes from the database.

For the complete interview with Andy Flower, go to the August E-Edition of Database Trends and Applications.