Ahead of the Times by Gopalkrishanan Lakshmi
By user769227 on Mar 16, 2009
Feature Article: Oracle Customer Services Organisation Blog Week
In Oracle Corporation, it is always about remaining ahead of the times. Oracle is fundamentally a technology company and it leads with technology innovation. When people think Oracle Corporation, they think database. Oracle is a dominant player in database technologies and the database market. While this is true, it is only a partial truth. It is more like the tip of an iceberg. I will explain why.
Oracle deals with offerings at every level. We work on several operating systems including Linux. There are many software applications including a file system that works on Linux that Oracle has developed. We have also offered many software applications in the public domain. The database story is well known. We have a dominant share in the database market. Matter of fact, the database market share for Oracle on Linux is too dominant. As of the last numbers, Oracle’s share of database market on Linux was close to 82.6%. Well, how did this come about? Let me explain what I went through during ‘those days’.
I joined Oracle in 1997. I joined the Bangalore office and it was a small setup compared to today’s large presence of Oracle in India. I was brought in to project manage an initiative that Larry Ellison had thought of in 1996. He was visualizing a small device that would replace the bulky personal computer. The device was not to have any local persistent storage. The login was to be using a smart card. The desktop that you get would give you personal productivity tools and a ‘browser’. He said emphatically ‘The browser will be the window to the computing world’. Now you can see that this idea was much ahead of its times. We produced a great offering through the project. It was called a ‘Network Computer’. After tackling the client side of the development from Bangalore, we started working on the server side of the network computer. Later on, it took the turn of add ons like set top boxes. The whole effort was spun off into a company called Network Computers Inc. It was a listed company as well. Imagine the year 1996 and 1997 and the concept that I have described above and what we were working on. That is really ahead of the times.
Similarly in the year 1998, in some of our global meetings we got to discuss the word ‘Linux’. There was mind share at all executive levels going up to Larry Ellison in making our database available on Linux. We did work on taking the database on Linux from Bangalore office, and I did project manage those parts from this side of the world. The entire world woke up to the wave called Linux much later in time. But by then Oracle database got robust on Linux, and we were enterprise ready. We also offered full support of Oracle database on Linux, including the operating system. Thanks to the work we do on all layers, we had niche teams who could address operating system level issues. Thus we became the one stop shop for the database on Linux as well as any underlying issues or support that customers needed. As a result of all of these, we got a dominant share of the database market on Linux. Visionary thinking is what really keeps Oracle ahead of its times.
I am sure the above gives you a couple of examples of Staying Ahead of the Times. There are many more examples, including some of the work we do currently in our division called ‘Service Engineering’. Time permitting, I will blog about them in future.
This article was written by Gopalkrishanan Lakshmi who is Senior Director - Service Engineering Group.