Elisabeth Stahl on Benchmarking and IT Optimization

Click Here for 10 Million: IBM vs. Exadata Redux

with 4 comments

For a few minutes this morning I thought that I might win 10 million dollars. I had already envisioned inviting Larry Ellison for tea at my second home in the Cayman Islands. I had already reveled in the joy that these funds would bring to the non-profits I support.

And then I read the contest rules.

Oracle is once again sponsoring a contest that is advertised on the front page of the Wall Street Journal. A contest where Oracle claims that if an Exadata Data Warehouse system is not “5x faster” than a Power 795 Data Warehouse system, you win 10 million. Let’s take a look at the official rules to help you decide if you should enter:

  • The contest rules state that “The Data Warehouse must be limited in speed only by database performance and not by application performance.” Realistic, right?
  • Oracle, the “sponsor will select the queries for measurement.” Hmmmmm. Let’s select a couple out of a billion where we know we can win.
  • If the Oracle system does not perform as well as Oracle thinks it should when you run it and there is a chance you might win the 10 million, Oracle runs your application again. Themselves. Just to make sure. Maybe with some extra caching on the side?
  • “Sponsor disclaims any liability for damage to any computer system or other property resulting, directly or indirectly, in whole or in part, from participation in, or accessing or downloading information in connection with, this Challenge” If IBM wins, we’ll just blow it up.
  • A participant in this contest “acknowledges, understands and agrees that Sponsor will have the unrestricted perpetual right to use, not use, alter, edit, publish, display, and/or post entrant’s entry and information . . .” Interesting that the word alter is in here . . .
  • Oracle makes sure there is an easy out. “If no eligible entry is received that meets the above criteria, no prize will be awarded.” The contest rules also state that the “Sponsor reserves the right, at its sole discretion, to disqualify any entrant.”

Once again, this contest distracts the potential contestant from real-world issues such as balanced application performance, real benchmark numbers, software licensing costs, and RAS. I certainly wouldn’t put my money on a winner.


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Written by benchmarkingblog

May 24, 2012 at 11:06 am

Posted in Exadata, Oracle, POWER7

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4 Responses

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  1. I’m glad someone else noticed the contest this morning. For over a year now Oracle has published regular advertisements in the Wall Street Journal containing questionable performance benchmarks and price comparisons with IBM systems. I wish IBM would have a counter-marketing campaign. These advertisements have gone unanswered – at least in the Wall Street Journal.

    David F. White

    May 24, 2012 at 1:06 pm

  2. I think they have you doing exactly what they want you to do ….. being defensive, responding to the ad and generating traffic around the topic …. people will remember the “5x faster” rather than any protestation about a possible unfair playing field 🙂


    May 24, 2012 at 2:32 pm

  3. […] is not “5x faster” than a Power 795 data warehouse system, you win 10 million. Once again, the rules are clearly defined in a way that Oracle can never loose the contest that never was. My favorite: Oracle “reserves the right, at its sole discretion, to […]

  4. I, for one, am sorry we don’t have a superstar founder/CEO whose hunger for headlines is boundless. I wonder what his personal PR budget is? Working for IBM has its ups and downs, but our execs are expected to be working on real projects.


    May 30, 2012 at 7:32 am

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