Thursday Sep 18, 2014

Why YOU should be an Oracle Social Cloud Specialist

Social media is exciting, energizing and effective. Earning the respect and recommendation of your customers, fans and friends puts you and your clients on a path to building a thriving, profitable business. And the good news is, this can all be done with Oracle’s Social Relationship Management (SRM) solutions.

If you're looking to break into this highly-competitive field and distinguish yourself from the competition, start today by earning an Oracle SRM Implementation Specialist Certification. Simply complete the recommended online training courses through eight self-paced modules, which are designed to help you pass the exam.

Study guide check list:

The Oracle SRM Implementation Essentials Exam is designed for individuals who want to build a strong foundation and expertise in implementing and on-boarding Oracle Social Relationship Management solutions. Passing the exam will earn you the OPN Certified Specialist designation and contribute towards qualifying your company in the OPN Specialized Program.

Steps to register:

  • Go to Pearson VUE;
  • Access your account;
  • Log-in/validate your company ID + register for the Oracle Social Relationship Management 2014 Implementation Essentials exam
  • You will have two hours to answer 63 exam questions, and a score of at least 74% is needed to pass.

In addition, if you’re looking for a more hands-on learning experience, join one of our Social Cloud Implementation Boot Camps. At our boot camps you’ll join us at our offices for a three day intensive training. These boot camps are the only complete training for Oracle Social Marketing Cloud and Social Engagement and Monitoring Cloud that will provide you with the tools and knowledge required to on-board, train, implement and manage the Social Cloud solutions for your customers. 

Ready, set, go!
Your Oracle Social Exam enthusiasts

Monday Aug 25, 2014

ZFS Storage for Virtualization and Cloud

I had the good fortune over the weekend to read through a VMware Press book called Essential Virtual SAN: Administrator's Guide to VMware Virtual SAN by Cormac Hogan and Duncan Epping. Very good book.

First, I'd like to observe that VSAN is a very interesting idea, but based on the content of this book, it's still in it's early days. In fact, I'd even go as far as to say that things like VSAN just might be the barbarian at the gate for certain storage use cases, as they aim to get virtual machine storage to be highly integrated with the virtual machine infrastructure.

Yet, as I've said, VSAN is very young. My read of the book is that while the promise of VSAN in small and medium-sized deployments is there, the simplicity isn't yet. Nor should anyone expect it to be. Storage projects have a very high bar to reach, and reaching that bar takes a long time. Especially when your goal is to run on a variety general-purpose hardware.

What really got my attention, though, was how the authors laid out the need for VSAN in the first place. In the introduction, they say:

When talking about virtualization and the underlying infrastructure that it runs on, one component that always comes up in the conversation is storage. The reason is fairly simple: In many environments, storage is a pain point. Although the storage landscape has changed with the introduction of flash technologies that mitigate many of the traditional storage issues, many organizations have not yet adopted these new architectures and are still running into the same challenges.

Hoo boy!  That's quite a statement relative to the current market-leading storage offerings. And yet, readers of this blog already know it's true. Virtualization masks storage bottlenecks, and therefore the easiest way to solve for this is to serve I/O from faster media.  It removes some of the need to know what the hypervisor is doing. And while the traditional storage leaders have each bolted some flash into their systems, generally it's been via relatively clunky (and expensive) caching algorithms that don't solve the challenges all that well. The best example that pops to mind is the new VNX8000, for which EMC took the unusual (for them) step of publishing a SPECsfs2008 result.  It's a fantastic result, but they built the entire back end with flash drives (over 500 of them!) to get there. Makes you think that maybe their caching isn't all that great yet.

Managing VSAN continues:

The majority of these problems stem from the same fundamental problem: legacy architecture. The reason is that most storage platform architectures were developed long before virtualization existed, and virtualization changed the way these shared storage systems were used.

In a way, you could say that virtualization forced the storage industry to look for new ways of building storage systems.

I'm smiling. One of my oft-repeated statements about Oracle ZFS Storage is that the workloads are now coming to us. ZFS was architectured to serve the majority of I/O from memory (you might even call it in-memory storage). We back that memory with a large flash cache. This leapfrogs the all-flash band-aid altogether. And in a sense, the VSAN approach concurs with this thought. 

To wit, here's a picture of how a VSAN implementation needs to see storage (from this really good VSAN blog):


Each disk group must include at least one flash drive and at least one conventional disk. Moreover, the book explains that you need to be careful to provision such that the flash drive is big and fast enough to deliver most of the read I/O, because ordinary disks deliver 80-175 IOPs/second each, while flash drives deliver 5000-30,000 IOPs each.  This makes cache misses VERY expensive. So, the statement here is to make sure that you have enough cache, and it's implied that the OS knows what to do with it.

We agree. And so do all of these new guys promoting all-flash arrays for virtualization.  But all-flash means that EVERYTHING has to be stored on flash disks. including the vast majority of data currently at rest. This scales well, but it gets pricey pretty fast. We think we've found a better way.

What if instead you had as much as 2 TB of DRAM in your system, and all of the hottest read data lived THERE?  Then, when the data started to cool a bit, you had a secondary flash cache with more than 12TB per system? And what if you'd been working on the algorithms to manage these caches for the better part of a decade? The logic is the same as what's being explained for VMware Virtual SANs: Fast media for hot data, cheaper media for "cold storage". 

So, bravo to VMware on the VSAN concept. And bravo to EMC for promoting the idea that virtualized workloads need better caching. We've struggled getting customers fully engaged in our Hybrid Storage Pool discussion, so having others out there telling the same general story can only help. Especially since we're better at it.

Happy reading!
Your OPN Communications team

Thursday Jul 24, 2014

Automated Database Services in the Cloud

Businesses have no choice but to compete in today’s high-speed, always-on world, where customers require more than ever.

That’s easier said than done, especially when decision-makers must wait hours – sometimes days – to extract vital information from terabytes of data deep within the enterprise. That disconnect – fast business yet unhurried analytics – can force a tough choice: make a less informed decision right when it’s needed, or put the business on hold until the analytics come through.

What if you could get answers instantaneously rather than hours or days? That would be a tremendous advantage. Executives, managers and all employees would be able to pinpoint opportunities faster, negotiate smarter, and engage customers better. 

This exciting capability is now possible with Oracle Database In-Memory – new software that lets Oracle Database customers create a real-time enterprise. Oracle CEO Larry Ellison introduced Oracle Database In-Memory on June 10 at Oracle headquarters in Redwood Shores, California.

The real-time responsiveness enabled by Oracle Database In-Memory can deliver insights at the moment important decisions need to be made. This blink-of-an-eye performance is made possible without having to funnel data to a separate database or change your current business applications.

This high-impact, low-disruption approach has long guided Oracle through successive technology advancements, including database clustering, multitenant architecture, and Flash storage.

Ideal for Mixed Workloads
Oracle Database In-Memory is designed for mixed workloads. Its unique dual-format approach accelerates analytics while ensuring that the most up-to-date transactional data is constantly available—no moving of data out to a separate database.

Performance on Databases of Any Size
Oracle Database In-Memory lets CIOs and IT teams use a mix of storage technologies to get optimal performance while keeping storage costs down. It does not require that all data fit into memory.With Oracle Database In-Memory, you decide what data goes into memory – with no limits or restraints from the software. The rest of your data is stored in less-expensive Flash or on disk. Oracle Database In-Memory works seamlessly with them all.

Real-Time Answers, Smarter Decisions
Oracle Database In-Memory’s flexibility – supporting both analytics and transactions while utilizing the most optimal storage media – will help your customers get even more value from their Oracle Database investments.

Oracle Database In-Memory runs on hardware platforms supported by Oracle Database 12c. Oracle Engineered Systems are ideal platforms for Oracle Database and Oracle Database In-Memory.

With Oracle Database In-Memory, your customers can make data-driven decisions, respond instantly to customer demands, and continuously optimize key processes. Your organization can become a real-time enterprise.

Oracle Database In-Memory is scheduled to be generally available later this month.

Joel Borellis

Joel Borellis is group vice president, Partner Enablement at Oracle. Monthly guest blogs such as this one are part of The VAR Guy’s annual sponsorship. Read all of Oracle’s guest blogs here.

Thursday Mar 13, 2014

Oracle Social Giving Customers Choices with Paid Social Media Partnership Program

social media choicesPaid social media is becoming increasingly crucial as marketers seek to amplify content for greater reach, higher engagement and better concentration of resources on the most likely of targets.

To better facilitate the integration of paid media with other social relationship management functions, Oracle Social Cloud is announcing an open API-based paid media solution bringing customers vendor choice, flexibility, and expertise. Our inaugural partners in this endeavor are social ad platform leaders Kenshoo, Nanigans, and SHIFT.

What this means is customers already on their way to becoming social enabled enterprises with the Oracle SRM can capitalize on the top ad technologies available, connecting content creation & management in SRM to promotion of that content with the paid social partners’ platforms.

Without question, our inaugural partners represent the best in the field, chosen based on criteria including platform capabilities, technology innovation, strategic partnerships with major social networks, customer base and scale capabilities.
Oracle Social Cloud Group VP Meg Bear says, “This strategic approach signals our belief in the power of an open API strategy, and we believe this is the best solution to meet our customers’ needs to leverage performance-based, targeted advertising at scale.”

Just look at the advantages of such an API partner strategy:
• Technology Expertise: SRM customers quickly benefit from years of focused development in the social paid media space by our partners.
• Analytics: Comprehensive analytics will be available to users through SRM and partner sites, helping them understand the metrics behind paid, owned and earned content.
• Coordination & Collaboration: Oracle SRM’s workflow functionality will enable better coordination and conversation between the community manager (owned and earned content), and the agency or media manager (paid content), facilitating greater efficiencies and effectiveness.
• Custom Audiences: Customers will be able to take advantage of SRM’s Custom Audiences capability via SRM and Eloqua integrations.
Why put yourself in the best position to act on paid social possible? Advertising Age has noted nothing has bested TV’s reach since the early '50s. Now, Facebook alone surpasses the reach of the 4 broadcast networks 18-to-24 and 25-to-34. Meanwhile a Nielsen study shows 3/4 of respondents use Paid Advertising, with 64% looking to increase spend in 2014.

It’s a massive audience of prospects. And if you’re spending ad dollars to engage with them on social (as a growing number are), that paid social spend should be as informed as possible.

The choices, flexibility, connection and collaboration offered by Oracle Social’s Paid Media Partnership Program offer a tremendous opportunity to move social marketers much closer to the real-time, right people, right-time strategies that lead to measurable success.
Post by Mike Stiles, Senior Content Manager, Oracle

Tuesday Dec 17, 2013

Year-in-Review: Oracle PartnerNetwork’s Top 10 Triumphs

Year-in-Review: Oracle PartnerNetwork’s Top 10 Triumphs

With six fewer days between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year, it’s safe to say we’re all feeling a bit frazzled. In the midst of everyone’s hurried schedules, we wanted to stop and take a moment to thank all of our partners for another great year together.

With that, let’s take a quick look at OPN’s top 10 achievements of 2013:

  1. We started the year off on an M2M and big data note, outlining how our customers can leverage Java to manage heavy volumes of structured + unstructured data.
  2. The announcement of Oracle Database Appliance X3-2 in March, which extends the use of Oracle Database Appliance while simultaneously boosting hardware configuration. Oracle Database Appliance X4-2 with enhanced hardware was launched last month, as well.
  3. The launch of Oracle’s new SPARC Servers took us into the summer months, teaching customers how to increase their share of wallet. Fun fact: Oracle’s SPARC T5 Servers are powered by the world’s fastest T5 processor, and have achieved 17 world record benchmarks!
  4. Oracle’s partners took center stage at this summer’s FY14 Global Partner Kickoff. Thanks again to those who participated in our highly-entertaining Twitter contest. It’s definitely a must-do for next year!
  5. Oracle OpenWorld 2013 was another huge success this year and came complete with the Oracle PartnerNetwork Exchange. Get the full download here.
  6. We’re keeping the lines between hardware and software clear as IT migrates toward a converged architecture. Or as Oracle likes to call it, Engineered Systems. Read more.
  7. The greatest come-from-behind victory in modern history came at the 34thAmerica’s Cup and belongs to Oracle! Read more about ORACLE TEAM USA.
  8. An interesting case study on the Internet of Things (IoT) and how Oracle takes the complexity out of designing, building and maintaining an IoT infrastructure for VARs.
  9. Enablement –> Cloud –> Incentive Programs –> Exastack = the four major initiatives that make Oracle the vendor of choice for some of the industry’s biggest hitting VARs. Get the full story here!
  10. Last but certainly not least, the customer experience (CX) revolution is near. See what Oracle is doing with Oracle CX and how VARs can get involved here.

What are your business’ top 10 achievements in 2013? We’ll give you some time to think them over. In the meantime, cheers to a very happy holiday season and prosperous New Year.

Season's Greetings,

The OPN Elves

Wednesday Nov 13, 2013

No Push-ups. No Sit-ups. Just Specializations.

All right, recruits—drop and give us 60!

No, but seriously. Give us 60 seconds of your reading attention. Learn how Oracle’s Enablement 2.0 Boot Camps can fire up your organization’s training on Oracle solutions and services.

Boot Camps can give you a major advantage over the competition as you build, deploy and service IT platforms. They’re a great opportunity to earn Specialist certifications and build your technical implementation skills. Plus, they’re one of the top benefits available exclusively to Oracle partners.

Boot Camps give you a chance to discuss product positioning and boost your ability to offer integrated Oracle solutions and services to your customers. In-person courses combine classroom lectures, hands-on labs and case studies. For partners on the move, live virtual courses are a good option too.

To learn more, browse the Boot Camp schedule. There are still more than 50 courses available in 2013—and hundreds more in the New Year. Some of the hot topics coming up include:

I don’t know but I’ve been told… OPN is good as gold.

Over and out,

OPN Comms

Friday Sep 20, 2013

Find Your Applications Track Sessions @ OPN Exchange

Heads up, OPN Exchangers!

Before you rock out with Maroon5 and The Black Keys at the Oracle Appreciation Event, be sure to zip over to the Marriott Marquis to hear some other great (applications) tracks.

Oracle Fusion Application, Oracle Cloud and other key application products will all have track sessions running throughout OPN Exchange (#OPNX13). Here are just a few of them:

For more information on #OPNX13 and a full list of sessions, benefits and fees, click through to the OPN Exchange landing page. Register before it’s too late!

Steady rolling,

OPN Communications