Oracle held a live webcast today to announce the latest release of its Enterprise Manager product, 10g Release 3 (10gR3). (If you missed it, you can catch a replay.)
The webcast was hosted by Charles Phillips, president of Oracle, as well as Richard Sarwal, SVP, Applications and Systems Management. The fact that they have a SVP level executive overseeing Enterprise Manager indicates they're serious about moving this oft-maligned product forward.
The theme of the webcast was "Top-Down Application Management." The message was that unlike most systems management solutions, which are focused on monitoring "bottom-up," the underlying infrastrucure beneath applications, the new version of Enterprise Manager is designed to monitor applications directly, the top of Oracle's "stack". You can code service level agreements in the form of policies, and OEM will monitor which applications and underlying objects are performing within their SLAs. You can drill down on those that aren't to see what the problem is.
The speakers also made a distinction between systems management products that are "viewers" as opposed to "doers". All such products include dashboards to monitor thresholds and report violations. But OEM is designed to let you directly do something about it as well.
The key drivers that are making this an important product for Oracle are the increasing complexity of always-on, multi-product, multi-vendor, mission critical systems; and the increasing requirements for regulatory compliance not just in the U.S. but around the world.
The phrase, "Complete and Open" captured the intent of what OEM is to become. The new version will include adapters for SAP, WebSphere, and Microsoft Operations Manager (MOM) as well as for Oracle's own products. Features will be standards-based for interoperability.
One of the more fascinating parts of the show were the cutaways to Mark Sunday, CIO, at Oracle's data center in Austin, TX. Video segments showed some of the 23,000 servers and 5PB (that's PETAbytes) of storage in house, used both for Oracle's own internal processing and to support their Oracle On Demand service. The control center reminded me of the tour I took recently of Johnson Space Center in Houston: large display monitors covered the front wall, with the rest of the room dedicated to individual workstations. Appropriate image for a product "launch."