IBM Goes to War with Oracle: IT Customers Praise Result

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We often talk about current rivalries like Google vs. Apple vs. Microsoft, but these pale next to some of the wars that have gone back decades. Granted the Sun vs. IBM war is long over and—surprisingly—IBM won. In fact, IBM has only lost one big battle historically, and that was against software company Microsoft. But another war that likely sets the record for length and resources is the one between IBM and Oracle—which many of us largely forgot about until recently.

Well, apparently, IBM didn’t forget and I’m sure Oracle has been reminded of this fight because IBM just went after Oracle with guns blazing and it is an impressive effort. I’ve received feedback from some of the customers that have recently migrated from Oracle’s offerings to IBM and they appear to be singing IBM’s praises.

For me, this is interesting because one of the frustrations I had when I worked at IBM was that IBM seemed to be afraid to take the gloves off, and ended up being the punching bag more often than not. As an employee working for a firm that refused to take the fight to a competitor wasn’t exactly a morale booster. So, it is great to see the firm finally take the gloves off with Oracle.

Let’s talk about that this week.

Oracle vs. IBM Software-The Offer

IBM is clearly throwing a lot of resources at this and providing extremely aggressive pricing at it as well. The migration process from Oracle to DB2 can be very painful so they need to have impressive incentives to get firms to be willing to chance the move. They’ve provided a free high-level assessment of application compatibility so that firms can assess just how much work will be required. IBM has aggressively priced their migration services and created terms that almost eliminate the related risk. They put in place programs and features that allow Oracle DBAs and developers to use the skills they already have, lowering massively the need for retraining (people really don’t like retraining). And financial incentives and savings for companies of scale (currently with $1M or more annual Oracle support costs) can exceed $1M a year and IBM is far less likely to milk customers for money than Oracle is.

Oracle’s power has been in their very well compensated sales organization but the downside to strong sales is the tendency to focus on milking customers and, surprisingly, customers don’t like getting milked.

Customer Testimonials

Claims are fine but you’d be right to take most with more than a grain of salt. In this case, though, they are backed up with some pretty impressive customer testimonials out of Europe.

For instance, Finanz Informatik Technologie Service was able—after migrating from Oracle to IBM—to reduce their data volumes by 50 percent and massively increase their system copying (93 percent) with a combined annual savings of $350K. And according to Michael Klüsener, Head of SAP services at the company through the compression features of DB2 they were able to reduce the related database by half (24TB to 12TB), reduce the time spent on management, and further reduce storage costs.

The Lonza Group, after the migration, reported application performance came up 10 percent, software licensing costs dropped a whopping 65 percent, and they too cut storage capacity requirements by 50 percent. The SAP Basis Manager there, Fredy Zenklusen, indicated that the big driver for them was far lower operational costs than his other database choices with IBM and a sharp improvement in system automation.

Hansgrohe SE also reported about a 10 percent boost in performance and a 40 percent reduction in downtime during any backup window as well as massive capacity requirement reductions in the 87 percent range due to aggressive data compression with IBM instead of Oracle. Klaus Buchholz, Director of Information Services there indicated that he had massive reductions in maintenance time and performance improvements as a result of this move.

Groupe France Mutuelle said that they got a whopping 80 percent reduction in licensing costs and administrative fees and they were able to improve their high-volume data analysis speed by 30 percent. Jean-Yves Pignier, the CIO there, was the source for this information.

Bernd Dümmel, Team Manager, SAP BW and Application Development, Balluff GmbH was outspoken about his firm’s savings. 98 percent faster access to complex analytics reports on sales and business performance, 50 percent faster response times with SAP ERP, 26 percent compression improvements (again freeing up storage resources), 30 percent decrease in backup time increasing system availability, 25 percent faster data processing in batch mode, and 99 percent quicker restore time. (It is interesting to note that while we often compare firms on the speed of the backup, it is actually the restore time that is far more critical).

Markus Wierl, Service Owner of SAP Infrastructure, AUDI AG indicated that they got a 50 percent to 70 percent cost savings and far better performance with IBM over Oracle on IBM Power System Servers.

Finally, at Fraport AG Wolfgang Pelzer, Senior Executive Manager for Application Development and Maintenance indicated he reduced his cost of ownership for his SAP database by 45 percent, freed up 6TB of disk storage, increased SAP performance by 10 percent in general and billing by 25 percent. He also affirmed IBM’s claim that his need to retrain key people after the migration was minimal.

Wrapping Up

This is an aggressive program and—while you’d likely want to write off IBM’s claims as fictional—the fact that most are backed up by an impressive amount of customer sourced testimonial validates them. This suggests that if you are on Oracle it might be wise to check this offering out because the millions you save could be used to fund the projects that aren’t currently getting done. And really, wouldn’t it be wonderful to just say goodbye to Oracle?

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About Author

As President and Principal Analyst of the Enderle Group, Rob provides regional and global companies with guidance in how to create credible dialogue with the market, target customer needs, create new business opportunities, anticipate technology changes, select vendors and products, and practice zero dollar marketing. For over 20 years Rob has worked for and with companies like Microsoft, HP, IBM, Dell, Toshiba, Gateway, Sony, USAA, Texas Instruments, AMD, Intel, Credit Suisse First Boston, ROLM, and Siemens.

5 Comments

  1. These are all SAP environments. Why would you bother moving to a DB that is not HANA at this stage if the game? SAP requires HANA in the next gen of the apps which are already on the market, so might as well just ride it out and then decide if you want to move to HANA and keep SAP or move to another ERP if you don’t want HANA sometime in the next few years.

    • Whats not clear in this article is what is being migrated from Oracle to IBM? Just Database? Database plus new hardware? Both companies clearly have lots of technologies & products across software and hardware and you can easily demonstrate a 50% or greater cost savings just by migrating to the latest hardware with 50% greater performance per core which is the case for 3-5 year old systems versus todays latest. So with the saying “The migration process from Oracle to DB2 can be very painful ” It clearly demonstrates that these customers are probably either being bought or invested in move to IBM cause I also don’t understand why anyone would invest the millions needed to migrate from Oracle Database, having a whopping 47% marketshare and continued dominance in a majority of the Database evaluation categories versus DB2 which has seen massive declines in marketshare the last 5+ years with little true innovation and benefits over Oracle Database. Theres also a reason why more than 50% of the worlds SAP installations are running on Oracle Database. My guess theres less than 10% on DB2. Theres a reason for this and its not just about “costs”. And of course, a majority of SAP customers are being invented by SAP to migrate to HANA so why in the world would they migrate to DB2 unless they’re being paid to do it by IBM. And finally, if the Oracle Database is running on a legacy Power7 or even old SPARC platform which combined is more than 50% of the SAP install base, moving to the latest Power8 or even SPARC M7 will easily halve the oracle Database licensing requirements which without any Database changes would see huge cost savings and usually pays for itself within a year.

  2. Hi, because HANA is one of the most insecure enviroments for customers i’ve ever seen. SAP HANA consultants does not talk about security for the customer sites when asking for networking communications.

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