IOUG Insight: Oracle Engineered Systems—The Newest Flavor of IT Systems

If you have not heard the buzz around Oracle’s Engineered Systems, then you must not be keeping up with Oracle’s marketing promotions, reading any technical journals, or even just walking through any airports lately.   While the marketing claims are impressive, the use of Marvel’s characters was imaginative and Oracle’s use of the slogan “Hardware and Software Engineered to Work Together” is enticing, you may be asking yourself, “What does all of this mean to me?” Well, let’s illustrate by example.

Imagine, if you will, a fictitious hometown ice cream parlor that starts out offering five flavors.  Now imagine what happens as it grows to serve nearly 250,000 pints of its various flavors every day. Well, as you might guess, it nows need computerized systems to track its production, inventory, shipments, customers, and more. These guys make great ice cream, love inventing creative new flavors to satisfy their customers and want to focus their energies on continuing to produce and deliver the world’s finest ice cream and most unique flavors. But, as they work to optimize their operations, the ice cream gurus need to “get on their geek.” They are forced to learn much more than they ever imagined about IT, as they string together various bits of hardware and software—disk drives, storage array networks (SANs), operating systems, memory, networking, fiber optics, databases, I/O, clusters, and more. Finally, after spending years focusing a fair share of their attention on many things other than ice cream, they now have a full-fledged IT department, staffed with experts on their varied array of technologies.

Now, imagine an alternative universe, in which a fictitious start-up assisted living firm begins a massive land-grab, buying up thousands of properties near hospitals with the goal of being the dominant provider of assisted living housing. Armed with ambitious goals, it plans to build new apartments, remodel old ones and revitalize its properties with a goal of 95%-plus  occupancy for every property it owns. This will require market knowledge, project management, inventory tracking, and more. This group knows that it must have many of the same databases, systems, and the like that gave the ice cream makers their competitive advantage. This team has a distinct advantage, however. They have the option of crafting their IT systems with hardware and software that is engineered to work together as one seamless solution from the beginning. Opting to elect the Oracle Engineered Systems, the assisted living housing experts remain focused on their core goals, with a much smaller investment in ancillary, technical expertise.

OK, these fictitious stories may or may not appeal to you.  But they represent one of the main goals and benefits of Oracle’s Engineered Systems. Oracle is providing you the tools and solutions needed to move from point A to point B … it is, in effect, selling you “the car.” Traditional IT solutions have, thus far, been selling you “kits” that allow you to build your own car. 

Some CIOs and IT departments may cringe when they hear this analogy, wondering what their purpose will become if their “kits” are all packaged into one neat system. But compare the dawning of the Engineered Systems approach to the days when IT departments designed and built their own applications for such repetitive functions as order entry, accounts receivable, accounts payable, inventory, human resources, sales tracking, and more. How many of them today leverage ERP, supply chain, HR, CRM and other prebuilt solutions for these purposes? 

Still not convinced? You should also consider the performance gains of Oracle’s Engineered Systems. Attacking the database’s age old performance nemesis, disk I/O, Oracle has embedded smart software in the actual hardware. This Smart Flash Cache allows the hardware to resolve much of the data search function, thereby sending only the needed bits across the I/O channel. And this is but one of the many optimization approaches that we find in today’s Engineered Systems. Oracle is not done yet either, as owning both the hardware and the software intellectual property, it continues to invest in R&D aimed at optimizing these solutions.

If you want to learn more about Oracle’s Engineered Solutions, there are many resources available, including the Independent Oracle Users Group (IOUG) ExaEverything 2012 program— Come join our community of data professionals as we explore all the flavors of Engineered Systems!