Oracle was wrong about distributed databases and is itself going back to a centralised repository, admitted Oracle chief executive, Larry Ellison.
Speaking to an audience of chief information officers during this week's Business Week Digital Economy Conference in San Francisco, Ellison repeated his mantra that centralisation is back and urged attendees to tie their databases together.
"At Oracle we got it wrong because we were selling little systems for different parts of a business, divided country by country. The data is so fragmented, you don't know who your customers are - I don't know who my customers are," he said, addressing the conference's theme that online companies must recognise their customers.
In contrast, Amazon.com, which is often hailed by industry leaders as the master of electronic commerce, is based on a single system which enables it to identify how many books it sold in the last 15 minutes and to whom, he argued.
That is why Oracle is cutting the number of data centres it manages down to two - a main one in California and a backup in Colorado, Ellison explained.
He also claimed that buying best of breed applications and integrating them into enterprise resource planning systems is wrong for bricks and mortar firms wanting to join the Web elite. This will only add complexity at a time when companies need to be nimble to compete with pure Internet firms that do not have historical systems baggage.
"Every time you slice and dice your systems, you are making your business more opaque. It then becomes difficult for you to do ebusiness," he said. "Your problem is all the junk you bought - throw all that stuff out," he concluded, offering neither an apology nor a refund.
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