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Chris Mellor

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Chris Mellor covers storage and allied technology areas for The Register. After experience working for DEC, Unisys and SCO, he became an IT journalist writing for a variety of print publications. He edited the UK's first storage print magazine and then moved into the online world writing for IDG's Techworld, then started up the Blocks & Files blog, which was bought by El Reg.

He has written many sportscar buying guides, a few mountaineering guides and drives a car that's faster than he is.

By | Chris Mellor 16th March 2011 13:06

What is Mark Hurd working on?

Oracle loves NetApp - true?

Blocks and Files Look, this is off the wall, and I'm putting together an absence from the public eye and thoughts from a couple of sources - and maybe wishful thinking - but, here we go; what is Mark Hurd working on at Oracle?

The Hurdster has been absent from public engagements for a couple of months it seems. He gets recruited in a blaze of PR glory and Oracle brick-bats slung at HP and then ... and then ... nothing. This is curious. You surely don't recruit one of the most famous if not notorious CEOs in the IT and storage industry, make him a president alongside Safra Catz, and then have him do nothing.

I aired this thought with a few people and a VP I know claimed Hurd is co-ordinating the NetApp acquisition for Oracle. What? Yes, he said, repeating it, it's ongoing and expected to become public in April.

An exec consultant at a big consultancy said, sure; it makes a lot of sense. If Oracle really, really wanted to screw IBM then it should get hold of NetApp, especially now NetApp is buying Engenio, since IBM takes a lot of Engenio gear for arrays like the DS5000.

I can see some logic here. The IT biz for enterprise purchases is heading towards vertically-integrated, converged IT stacks, with Oracle and HP leading the charge, and the VCE trio (quartet really) saying co-ordinated best-of-breed is just as good. NetApp is in deep with Cisco and VMware and it has its Flexpods competing with the vBlocks. IBM is bulking up its networking offer, Dell is setting out along that direction too and it has just bought Compellent.

The logic given to me is that Oracle's 7000 array, the ZFS one, is okay-ish but not great. Oracle needs better storage and there's NetApp, out on its own with no real sticky vertical integration ties. We could point out how friendly NetApp and Oracle have become since settling the ZFS patent lawsuits between them.

Infosmack on The Reg this week talks about this idea. NetApp is a $16.9bn-sized company in market capitalisation terms. Oracle is capitalised at $155.44bn, nine times bigger. It's not outrageous is it? But, if it does happen then surely Cisco, HP and IBM might want to get involved.

This could all be a fantasy and the only announcement is going to come out on April 1st and we all get to look like storage fools. But, hey, this a blog, and foolishness is permitted.

So, what the heck is the Hurdster actually doing? ®

Check out Blocks and Files, Chris Mellor's storage blog on The Register.

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