Oracle Enterprise Manager improves, still far from Big Four

Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center 11g now includes management tools for Sun products, but one analyst says Enterprise Manager is too Oracle-centric to be a big player in systems management.

Some features of the new Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center 11g are impressive, but observers say that if Oracle wants to be a big player in IT management, it has to start knocking down walls.

Oracle currently stands on the outside looking in at the so-called “Big Four” of systems management – IBM, HP, CA and BMC. In order to have a chance of getting into that circle, some think Oracle needs to open itself up.

“The only thing that needs to be improved is that it is very much Oracle-centric,” said JP Garbani, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester. “IT management has to be independent of the technology you’re pushing. Oracle should be able to manage an SAP application, or an HP server.”

There is no doubt that with Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center 11g, the company is aiming to manage the Oracle stack of products. Ops Center is the portion of Enterprise Manager meant to manage physical server and networking devices, virtualized servers, and operating systems. But the focus is solely on Oracle products.

For example, Oracle VP of systems management Steve Wilson touted Ops Center’s newfound ability to manage assets from Sun Microsystems, which Oracle bought earlier this year. That includes management capabilities around Oracle’s Sun ZFS Storage Appliance line, as well as the Solaris operating system. Ops Center will also be able to help manage Oracle Exadata and Exalogic, the company’s largest foray into the server hardware market.

That furthers Oracle’s goal of making sure that Enterprise Manager can serve as the management interface for Sun servers, networking and storage devices, all the way to a Siebel CRM application.

“Ops Center is really the portion of Enterprise Manager that manages the bottom part of the stack,” Wilson said. “Enterprise Manager manages from the application to the disk, from Siebel to middleware to Oracle Database.”

That’s all well and good. Garbani, the Forrester analyst, lauded Enterprise Manager’s application management, use of Java, and end user experience. And with the acquisition of Sun, Oracle has been busy working to integrate all the Sun products so that Enterprise Manager can handle them. But Garbani said now is the time for Oracle to sit down and decide whether it wants to compete with the likes of the Big Four, or whether it simply wants to continue living in its “own world of Oracle.”

“There are few companies that don’t have multiple variations in terms of operating systems or even databases,” he said. “If the goal of Oracle is to effectively be a player in the IT management market, they absolutely need to be universal. They need to be in a position to take over all of IT operations.

 Mark Fontecchio can be reached at [email protected]

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