'Keep Your Mouth Shut,' Billionaire SAP Founder Tells Oracle's Mark Hurd

Mark Hurd OracleBusiness Insider/Julie BortOracle president Mark Hurd

The oldest, most heated rivalry in the enterprise tech world has just flared up again. SAP’s billionaire cofounder, Hasso Plattner, is now throwing punches at Oracle president Mark Hurd.

Plattner wrote in a blog post on Monday, “When it comes to competition you should either know exactly what your are talking about, or keep your mouth shut.”

He was responding to things Hurd said about the SAP HANA database at a press conference last week. Hurd spoke to reporters shortly after Oracle introduced a new in-memory database that competes with SAP’s in-memory database, called HANA. Oracle also introduced a new “Exadata” hardware product that runs its new in-memory database.

In-memory databases are where an entire database, even an enormous one, is stored in a server’s memory, not on a hard disk. That means it can crunch through vast amounts of data instantly and isn’t slowed down by grabbing data from the disk.

With these new products, Oracle is trying to keep SAP’s customers from yanking out their Oracle database and replacing it with SAP’s database. Here’s what Hurd said at the conference, reported by Chris Kanaracus from IDG News Service:

“I don’t like it when [Oracle’s] Exadata or the in-memory options get compared with SAP HANA …I don’t think it’s even comparable. HANA has to be programmed. What we told you about [with the new 12c database] has nothing to do with that. You’re not rewriting anything.” Putting it more bluntly, Hurd said about SAP, “Forget them.”

To which Plattner responded:

“Fact is: nobody likes to be replaced by a competitor’s solution. A good defence is to build a better product, not to bad mouth the competition with straight lies.”

Plattner then went into a technical deep dive about how databases work, refuting that Oracle apps need “reprogramming” when used with SAP’s HANA.

Hasso PlattnerWikipediaHasso Plattner

The fighting words are entertaining, but this is serious business. By some accounts there are
at least 60,000 enterprisesout there using SAP’s apps with the Oracle database.

In two years since HANA launched, SAP has snagged some 2,000 customers for it, it says. SAP hinted that about 300 HANA customers are using it with SAP’s financial apps, although it won’t say how many switched from Oracle to HANA.

But clearly, there’s a lot at stake and executives at both companies are ready to fight.

We reached out to Oracle for comment.

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