Thursday, March 15, 2007

Watch out for Oracle Systems Management

Oracle's just released a new version of their Oracle Enterprise Manager. Oracle President Charles Phillips said:
"We've been in the management business for awhile but I think we were more narrowly focused in the past," Phillips said. "We've probably undersold this product. It's been selling on its own on the back of other deals."

I've commented on this in the past but this looks to be the first deliberate public step towards stomping on the toes of IBM, CA, BMC and HP. Prior to this, they've been rather quiet about their systems management capabilities. The new release claims to cover management of SOA, identity management, change management, process orchestration, key performance indicators, patch management and Oracle's CRM application stack. This is in addition to prior capabilities in monitoring and managing their core middleware and database products.

I don't claim to be an expert on this Oracle product family but at face value, it looks like they mean business. Where they lose out to the incumbents (IBM, CA, BMC, HP) is in the area of network and infrastructure management and monitoring. Where they have a distinct advantage however, is in the area of their application management and monitoring capabilities - particularly with regards to their CRM stack. They fact they own the software means that they should be able to manage it better than anyone else. I say "should" because I've seen companies make hopeless attempts at trying to add value to their own software products and having their lunch eaten by smaller niche players who do a better job (of course, when this happens the large vendor usually just acquires the smaller player).

I doubt it'll take Oracle too much time to catch up with the others in the infrastructure and network space. Why? Because it's a mature market and the best practice solutions and processes are out are the expertise. In other words, Oracle don't need to spend a lot of time figuring out how to do infrastructure and network management. They can either hire the right people or more likely just acquire the mature niche technologies out there. When this happens, the others better watch out because they are going to have their hands full with Oracle in the systems management space. Want evidence of Oracle's prior track record of executing successfully on something very similar? Just take a look at what they did with their Identity Management capabilities.

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