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Is Oracle interested in social media?

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July 11, 2012

A recent announcement by Oracle of its intention to acquire social media site Involver could be a sign of where the medium for business is headed. Or is it?

A post from Involver CEO Don Beck on the company’s blog places Oracle's proposed acquisition into perspective. “The proliferation of social media has changed the way that companies, organizations and consumers interact,” Beck suggests.

Oracle’s own announcement of this proposed acquisition signifies the importance that the database and software behemoth places in social media, not just for simple marketing, but for increasing brand loyalty, connecting with potential customers, and anticipating buyers’ needs.

The planned partnership between Oracle and Involver can be seen from another perspective as well. The alliance could combine Involver’s social media tools with the broader menu of Oracle cloud solutions, including more social options from previous acquisitions.

To be sure, Involver isn’t the first social media acquisition for Oracle, a company that is clearly attempting to increase social offerings as part of its online business services.

In May for example, the company announced the acquisition of social media company Virtue for $300 million, followed by another acquisition, this time of Collective Intellect, a firm specializing in social analytics.

Oracle isn’t the only online business software provider to be on a shopping spree for companies with social media capabilities. recently announced the acquisition of Nova Scotia-based startup Go Instant, which allows people in different locations to easily browse Websites together.

As part of an increasing effort not just to create social media tools but also to measure the influence of the brands that use them, Los Angeles incubator Science Inc has announced the purchase of the Indian-based company PinPuff, which tracks the various influence of users on Pinterest and rewards them accordingly.

So it appears that Oracle is going in the direction of social media in a big way. We will see how this proposed acquisition goes, and maybe it will entice other IT companies to do the same.

In other IT news

Microsoft has unveiled its licensing terms for its new Windows Server 2012 OS, cutting down to four versions and ending the Home and Small Business Server options.

Microsoft says "Windows Server 2012 delivers a dramatically simplified licensing experience. Shaped by feedback from customers and partners, the new Windows Server 2012 licensing terms will help make choosing the right Windows Server easier while delivering the following benefits."

Microsoft says that those benefits will come in four flavors: Datacenter, Standard Edition, Essentials, and Foundation, all with similar levels of functionality but with differing support levels for virtualization and cloud environments.

Microsoft is also switching to a per-processor pricing model, with one license covering two processors and more options based on the number of virtual machines being run on the server.

The software giant also suggests that less is more in server builds. The popular Small Business Server and Home Server editions are being folded into the Essentials build (Foundation is for OEMs only), and the current high performance computing edition is being replaced with the Enterprise and Standard builds and supported with a free HPC Pack 2012.

No final release dates have been given for any versions of the new operating system, but it is widely expected to launch concurrently with Windows 8 client edition before the end of 2012.

In other IT news

Microsoft has named X-IO and a few other companies as its main proxies alongside Hyper-V and SMB in a battle to woo customers away from VMware and NFS.

SMB version 3, formerly known as CIFS, is Microsoft's preferred method of getting file-based networked storage data into servers running its Hyper-V hypervisor.

X-IO's solutions development director for the United Kingdom, Gavin McLaughlin says: "Microsoft is pushing its Windows Server 2012 and Hyper-V customers to using file based storage (using SMBv3) over block storage due to the increased simplicity. It’s pretty much Microsoft's pushback to the VMWare + NFS combo in our view."

The main criteria for storage in this area are throughput, which takes priority, and then IOPS. Windows file storage product manager Jose Barreto has talked about a 5.8 GB/sec delivery of files using Mellanox cabling and switches at Interop in Las Vegas in May.

That setup has utilized Windows Server 2012 beta and SMB 3.0, and the 5.8 GB/sec was through a single port with data being pumped in by four Fusion-io ioDrive2 PCIe flash drives rated at 1.5GB/sec each.

In June for Tech Ed, Mellanox announced 10.36 GB/sec throughput using Windows Server 2012, SMB 3.0, and Hyper-V. The network link was its FDR 56 Gbit/s InfiniBand. OCZ Talos-2R SSDS were used at this time.

Violin Memory was at TechEd, showcasing what it called "the world’s first all-flash 'Cluster-in-a-Box' Solution with Windows Server 2012 running natively on the Violin 6000 platform." This should blow the socks off any hard disk drive array doing the same SMB 3.0 file transfer to a Windows Server 201 Hyper-V server.

An X-IO TechEd system, using a rack with ten of its ISE-2 combined SSD/HDD enclosures, did more than 15 GB/sec and 125,000 IOPS. There were HP servers, running Windows Server 2012, across a network of InfiniBand links, and QLogic fibre channel switches and HBAs.

The sealed ISE-2 enclosures each contained 20 x 10K 2.5-inch SAS disk drives and 20 MLC flash drives, totalling 104 TB of storage capacity. In-box software dynamically puts hot data onto the SSDs.

Overall, X-IO was very fast. McLaughlin said this was "over 50 percent higher than anything else possible on the market." Steve Sicola, X-IO's chief technology officer, called it record-breaking price/performance.

"This is a game changer in the cost of high performance storage solutions, delivering in just one rack what our competitors can only achieve with many times the equipment and at much higher costs."

Source: Oracle.

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