Splunk Fires Back at Oracle & 'Ludicrous Larry' Ellison

Oracle is fundamentally ignorant of the security market, Splunk says, after the Oracle chairman, chief technology officer and co-founder took aim at Splunk in a keynote address this week.

Mitch Wagner, Executive Editor, Light Reading

October 5, 2017

4 Min Read
Splunk Fires Back at Oracle & 'Ludicrous Larry' Ellison

We love Larry Ellison. He trash-talks competitors, they fire back and everybody has a good time.

Oracle Corp. (Nasdaq: ORCL)'s feisty chairman, chief technology officer and co-founder set his sights on security vendor Splunk Inc. Tuesday and Splunk CEO Doug Merritt replied in kind the following day. (See Oracle's Ellison: 'We Are Losing the Cyberwar'.)

By Ellison's standards, his criticism of Splunk was mild. Ellison introduced new automated security capabilities in Oracle Management Cloud, based on machine learning from log data. He said Oracle's solution is far superior to Splunk's.

"They do a pretty good job," he said at a Tuesday keynote. Splunk invented log analytics, Ellison said.

But Oracle does it better, Ellison said. Unlike Oracle, Splunk doesn't normalize log data, enrich it with configuration information, and use machine learning to separate normal and abnormal information. Also, Splunk doesn't handle remediation. "You want to go directly from identifying a problem to fixing a problem," Ellison said.

Figure 1: Low Blow! Merritt includes this photo in his response to Oracle criticism. Merritt includes this photo in his response to Oracle criticism.

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Merritt responded Thursday: "Splunk Fires Back at Ludicrous Larry"

He begins, "They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so it was flattering that Oracle finally woke up to the power of machine data and the importance of security... "

But Oracle demonstrates a "fundamental lack of knowledge and understanding of the security market," Merritt says.

Security "requires a community to support those amazing cyber warriors that live on the front lines daily. It's not time for rhetoric from a company with a record of under serving and gouging their customers," Merritt says.

Merritt took aim at Oracle's architecture: "Like all database oriented people, your solution to building an integrated view of a complex situation is to centralize all the data into a single store. The scale and speed of today's universe of millions of data feeds make that approach a non-starter." Splunk customers are indexing petabytes of data daily for multiple use cases, Merritt said.

Merritt responded to Oracle's assertion that Splunk requires data scientists for machine learning: "Just wrong," he said. Anyone in IT can use Splunk, although the company does also offer tools for data scientists, he said.

He adds: "Finally, we'd like to just offer some (more) help. We've been bringing machine data from trains, planes and automobiles into Splunk for years. We can bring in boat data as well. There's a free cloud trial of Splunk that could help you analyze the Oracle yacht data. We realize it's a bit late for that this year."

Merritt concludes, "We're happy to help you try and win the America's Cup back next time you compete."

Earlier this week, Ellison criticized Amazon Web Services Inc. 's cloud infrastructure and Redshift database, saying the Oracle'ss new Autonomous Data Cloud will be able to outperform AWS at half the price. (See Oracle's Ellison: Amazon & SAP Use Our Database Because We're Better)

AWS responded with choice language. (See 'No Facts, Wild Claims & Lots of Bluster'; Amazon Hits Back at Oracle's Ellison.)

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About the Author(s)

Mitch Wagner

Executive Editor, Light Reading

San Diego-based Mitch Wagner is many things. As well as being "our guy" on the West Coast (of the US, not Scotland, or anywhere else with indifferent meteorological conditions), he's a husband (to his wife), dissatisfied Democrat, American (so he could be President some day), nonobservant Jew, and science fiction fan. Not necessarily in that order.

He's also one half of a special duo, along with Minnie, who is the co-habitor of the West Coast Bureau and Light Reading's primary chewer of sticks, though she is not the only one on the team who regularly munches on bark.

Wagner, whose previous positions include Editor-in-Chief at Internet Evolution and Executive Editor at InformationWeek, will be responsible for tracking and reporting on developments in Silicon Valley and other US West Coast hotspots of communications technology innovation.

Beats: Software-defined networking (SDN), network functions virtualization (NFV), IP networking, and colored foods (such as 'green rice').

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