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Summary:

Salesforce.com has always been Oracle-centric on the software side. But it’s also run on commodity hardware. That’s about to change, says Oracle.

Oracle Exalogic Exadata

Everyone knew Salesforce.com and Oracle were going to expand their relationship – Oracle CEO Larry Ellison helpfully preannounced that news last week during the company’s rather rocky earnings call. What was not expected –at least by me — was that Salesforce would commit to Oracle hardware, er “engineered systems.”

And yet that’s what happened, at least according to Oracle’ s press release. Salesforce.com has run on Oracle database and middleware (and perhaps on Oracle Linux, not sure on that) for a long time. But it also ran on commodity hardware. In fact, Benioff was really, really publicly decrying what he mockingly called Oracle’s “cloud in a box” a few years back.

According to Oracle’s statement: (note that it is from Oracle and not Salesforce, and the emphasis is mine):

“Salesforce.com plans to standardize on the Oracle Linux operating system, Exadata engineered systems, the Oracle Database, and Java Middleware Platform.  Oracle plans to integrate salesforce.com with Oracle’s Fusion HCM and Financial Cloud, and provide the core technology to power salesforce.com‘s applications and platform.  Salesforce.com will also implement Oracle’s Fusion HCM and Financial cloud applications throughout the company.”

Structure 2010: Om Malik – Founder, GigaOM Speakers: Marc Benioff – Chairman and CEO, Salesforce.com

A Structure 2010: Om Malik – Founder, GigaOM Speakers: Marc Benioff – Chairman and CEO, Salesforce.com

For context, here’s what Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff told me two years ago when asked if Salesforce would move to Oracle hardware:

“We’re 100% Dell. That’s 100% cheaper. Higher quality, easier, and open. Just like Facebook, Google, et al. is doing. No different. There is no internet service to my knowledge using exadata [sic] proprietary mainframes to deliver billions of transactions to customers. Our architecture is based on standard pc architecture. Commodity systems. Our uptime is at http://trust.salesforce.com. Does that help?
Aloha,
Marc”

And this Forbes.com report recounts Benioff’s characterization of Oracle Exadata as “false cloud.” (The post, by the way, was written by Bob Evans, who at that time worked for SAP but is now Oracle’s corp comms guy. Hmmm.)

Salesforce.com and Oracle spokespeople referred me back to the Oracle press release with no additional comment.

To be fair, things change and companies have to change strategies all the time. But to me this smacks of Ellison trying to drum up a market for his flagging hardware line.  I would also bet we won’t be hearing about Salesforce.com flirting with PostgreSQL again any time soon.

This story was updated at 6:43 a.m. PDT after the companies responded to requests for comments.

  1. I read this as salesforce coming to the rescue of Fusion – making it work AND saving Oracle’s HW business.

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  2. I find it funny that the author ends with “to be fair” then bashes the Oracle hardware line, a bit of redirecting the truth. Which is that their Exa line is doing great from what I can tell. Sun tape, Servers, Pillar et al is a different story but not mentioned in the press release.

    Isn’t the most likely scenario that CRM found they could not run their business w/o the Oracle dbase despite their best efforts to move away from it…..then ORCL bashed them over the head forcing them to use EXA? This is the go to market for that technology everywhere…..no?

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    1. No, Billlieeeeeeeee
      Proprietary SW is dying. The embrace of Openstack by the IT community is overwhelming. Commodity storage with gluster and ceph along with X86 is the cloud computing paradigm.

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      1. It is? $140B market cap for ORCL, $280B for MSFT, and $85B for SAP says otherwise. Do you work for Red Hat or is this the lingering effects of a week at Bonnaroo?

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    2. Seriously tape? No one uses tape anymore and if they do they’re not using re-badged, overpriced, StorageTek garbage Long live Amazon S3

      Sun Servers are so Y2K. I say Y2k because that was the last time a box running 5.8 was on the TOPS 500 list.

      IBM’s boxes don’t even run AIX on them anymore it’s all Linux now.

      Oracle Linux is just re-badged RedHat

      This is why Orcale has decided to move into stocks retirement home on the NYSE

      RedHat won’t even carry mysql anymore

      There is no question that Oracle database is bar none the most powerful SQL on the planet. But how many people really need that much horsepower?

      It may not be 2 years from now but it will happen. Oracle is going the way of Stanford University Networks

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  3. Legacy lock in. Get back to me in two years and see what song your singing then.

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    1. I have numbers from the market place and you have anecdotal comments and wishful thinking. Even if this does happen it will take 15-20 years not 2.

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      1. What are you smoking?

        Fact all IBM hardware on the TOPS 500 list runs Linux not AIX

        Fact there are no Solaris based systems in the TOPS 500
        Check for yourself http://www.top500.org

        Fact Oracle Linux is rebranded RHEL much like CentOS

        Fact RedHat has replaced MySQL with MariaDB in RHEL 7

        Having the best relational database will only take you so far

        Fact Oracle is moving to the NYSE

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        1. You got me! The trillion dollar tech sector that has built up around proprietary software will be gone it 2 years. I need to tell my broker to short the whole sector. You will make me rich.

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  4. I totally forgot about this bomb. Yeah talk about hitting rock bottom. Oracle now on Azure! LMFAO

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