Oracle’s Database Future Could Be Dimming

On Jan. 2, technology news outlet The Information published a report suggesting that hyperscale cloud vendors Amazon (AMZN) and Salesforce (CRM) are aggressively moving down the path of migrating operations off Oracle’s (ORCL) database technology and onto open-source and/or internally developed solutions. The Information’s report cites sources with knowledge of the projects underway at Amazon and Salesforce to overhaul their technology stacks, though neither company had directly commented on the story as of this writing.

While the news of Salesforce’s efforts to move off Oracle are not necessarily new (the rumored Project Sayonara has been a relatively open secret for some time), the news of Amazon potentially shifting its internal operations would lend credence to our belief that Oracle’s database business faces a murkier future than consensus believes.

While we are maintaining our wide economic moat rating for Oracle at this time, we remind investors that our negative moat trend rating, which also remains intact, revolves around our view that customer switching costs are in fact decreasing for Oracle database customers. The shares have retreated roughly 2% on The Information’s report and have fallen roughly 13% from their September highs; they now trade near our unchanged $46 fair value estimate.

Oracle has routinely denied rumors of this ilk (including The Information’s report) for some time, and while we do believe database migrations are much more challenging than some may let on, we think the company has been too nonchalant about the improvements made in the open-source database community and by rivals over the past several years. Our moat trend rating does not suggest customers will migrate away from Oracle across the board, but we do think enterprises will increasingly look to downsize their reliance on Oracle’s database technology, particularly for workloads migrating to the cloud and for net new workloads.

We believe certain workloads will always be best served by high-performing databases such as Oracle’s, though we note that the company is no longer alone at the top of the database performance food chain. Microsoft’s (MSFT) SQL Server has made substantial strides in recent years, aided in large part by that company’s need to scale up its database technology for Azure. In fact, Microsoft landed ahead of Oracle in Gartner’s November 2017 Magic Quadrant for Operational Database Management Systems on both ability to execute and completeness of vision. Meanwhile, Amazon has been active in developing its own databases (such as Redshift), and Gartner estimates it amassed 5% share in the $34 billion database management market in 2016, up from essentially 0% share just a few years ago. Oracle’s share retreated from the mid-40s to just over 40% during that time.

Further, Oracle’s lack of positioning in the markets for public cloud infrastructure as a service and platform as a service creates challenges for customers that want to reap the benefits of the environments offered by Amazon, Google (GOOG)/(GOOGL), Microsoft, and others. Coupled with the rise of increasingly popular open-source solutions such as PostgreSQL for mission-critical applications, these factors contribute to our belief that Oracle’s customers are facing decreasing switching costs.

Despite Oracle’s marked progress in software as a service and other portions of the cloud value chain, the company’s top and bottom lines are still driven in large part by databases. Gartner estimates Oracle’s total revenue from databases approached $14 billion in 2016, more than 35% of annual revenue in fiscal 2016 and fiscal 2017. If we assume a 45% GAAP operating margin for the database business, this business would have been worth nearly 50% of the company’s operating profit in fiscal 2016 and fiscal 2017. Oracle needs to quickly (and profitably) scale up its cloud businesses in the event that customers do begin to seriously migrate away from its database offerings. To Oracle’s credit, the SaaS business continues to see a strong upward lift on its gross margins, though the broader IaaS/PaaS business continues to operate at heavily dilutive levels of profitability compared with the broader business. IaaS/PaaS GAAP gross margins have fallen from a peak of 58% in the first quarter of fiscal 2017 to just 39% in the first quarter of fiscal 2018, while revenue grew only 27% over that period despite redoubled efforts in the company’s IaaS business.

While we would be surprised if either Amazon or Salesforce outright confirmed The Information’s report, this smoke could mean a fire. In the case of Salesforce, reports of the company’s potential migration away from Oracle date back to 2013, when Salesforce and Oracle announced a nine-year partnership centered on Salesforce continuing to consume Oracle database licenses, Oracle-branded Linux OS licenses and support, and Java middleware, while Oracle worked to integrate its enterprise resource planning solutions with Salesforce’s best-in-breed customer relationship management platform. There were rumblings before and after the deal’s signing that Salesforce had been growing weary of its relationship with and reliance on Oracle and the latter company’s technology. Project Sayonara gained traction in a May 2016 Forbes report suggesting that Salesforce planned to be completely migrated from Oracle technology by 2023, which would coincide with the end of the nine-year stated partnership. We view this outcome as more likely (though still not an absolute certainty by any stretch) following The Information’s report, which cited a source close to the situation as stating that Salesforce continues to develop alternative solutions for its Sales Cloud and Marketing Cloud offerings, which represent 37% and 10% of our fiscal 2018 subscription revenue forecast, respectively, excluding Commerce Cloud.

Turning to Amazon, The Information’s report suggested that a migration away from Oracle has its roots in the early 2000s, referencing Amazon’s high-profile outage in 2004 as a turning point in Amazon’s perception of its reliance on Oracle as a technology provider. The report suggests Amazon’s retail unit has switched to internal solutions running open-source NoSQL databases that handle both customer and order information. Amazon has not confirmed this report, and we would caution investors that a database migration of this size would be a massive undertaking, as many databases have multiple dependencies across a boatload of applications in large enterprises, creating a significant degree of execution risk when undertaking a migration. However, large companies with substantial IT resources such as Amazon may in fact be in a position to provide a blueprint for leaving these environments, particularly when examining the financial implications of consuming open-source database technology. An April 2015 Gartner report, “The State of Open-Source RDBMSs,” postulated that an enterprise running a single Oracle 12c database license across two cores would spend $473,100 over three years; a comparable deployment of Postgres Plus would cost just $41,400 over the same period. Even if we assume discounting on Oracle’s part, this still represents a massive potential cost savings, should enterprises more aggressively pursue database migration projects.

http://news.morningstar.com/articlenet/article.aspx?id=842665

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Hotmail was bought by Microsoft 20 years ago

I loved Hotmail when it first came out.

I really loved working with a web based email client.. when I was in college, we had to use Eudora and Pegasus Email applications… can we even call them applications?  I’m talking about a DOS-style program..

I used Hotmail for many years.. but somehow, old accounts have to whither and die in order for new life.   I still have my first email account aaron_kempf_nospam@hotmail.com forwarding all of those emails to my primary gmail account.  But I haven’t been able to sign into that account for a long time.

When I was working at Microsoft MSN ‘Quality of Service’ I had a lot of fun looking at Log files.  I had always loved playing with the verbose Log files.  When you join to a Log table (I am of the opinion that most log files should be pushed into a database.. more on that later!) with a ‘non-equijoin’ it makes it really easy to find the strings you are looking for.  It is gorgeous.

In other words, instead of saying

SELECT * FROM LogTable1 WHERE LOGTEXT LIKE ‘%corruption%’ what you do is store the phrase %corruption% in a mask-style table.. and then join using the LIKE clause.  I’m sure that you all know what I am talking about.

Instead of having to lookup the word ‘corruption’ and then look for the word ‘Intelligence’ you can put all of those masks into a table, and then build a VIEW in order to simplify searches.

This makes a lot more sense than sitting through a table scan and looking for the word ‘corruption’ and then sitting through another table scan and looking for the word ‘intelligence’.

 

https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2017/12/how-hotmail-changed-microsoft-and-email-forever/

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Websites without Databases

I don’t get it.  What is the point of storing all of your data in a hundred different .HTML files?

https://www.linux.com/news/sweetness-jamstack-javascript-apis-and-markup

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Are you Agile?

I  love Agile.   I think that most of the time, the software implementation, the scrum master.. I think that it is ‘too complex’.  80% of the time I do software, I just build a simple task list.. and add a couple of stastus fields.

I’m constantly surprised that more organizations don’t take ‘Source Control’ seriously.

Your agile dev teams are not enough

 

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Collection of Amazing PowerShell Scripts

I discovered this list of essential PowerShell scripts today, and I wanted to share this information with you.

Clean up admin group

Having multiple users on a local administration group creates one of the biggest and most common loopholes for a hacker to break in to. This script gives you the ability to remove the names of multiple users from the local administrator groups of multiple computers in one shot. It takes in a text file with the names of users to be removed and another text file with the names of the machines on which this is to be done.

All you need to modify in the script before running it is to a) replace the name present in the variable $Computernames with the name of the text file containing the machine names, and b) replace the name present in the variable $Admins with the name of the text file containing the user names.
Harden SAM Access

Once hackers are able to breach a system through a particular point of vulnerability, they use compromised local and domain credentials to move around their victim network. One way to get all local and domain users along with group memberships to map possible routes in Windows 10 is to question the Security Account Manager remotely using the SAMR protocol.

While it used to be that SAM could be accessed remotely by any network-connected user, Windows 10 later introduced an option to control access to SAM and also modified the default permissions to permit remote access only to administrators. The SAMRi10 script allows you to harden the remote access by giving SAM access to only members of a specific group. No, this is not discrimination, this is security protocols!

Harden Net Sessions Enumeration

Net Sessions Enumeration can be used by attackers to get information about the sessions established on a server including computer names, usernames, session active times, and IP addresses. NetSessionEnum can be executed by any authenticated user by default. The Net Cease script alters this by giving you the ability to remove the execute permissions for all authenticated users and instead add permissions to particular sessions.
Run script as a process

One of the top recommended best practices from the point of view of security is to use an account with the least privileges possible so that even if a session were compromised, the loss would be limited to the bare minimum. This is particularly true when an administrator is running Active Directory. No you do not need to wear Nike running shoes to run Active Directory. If you believe that, you are in the wrong field.

This script allows you to run PowerShell scripts as a separate identity. In order to start a script as a different identity, this script would have the console program wait till the called script is completed, and then returns to the prompt.
File system security module

This module makes managing file and folder permissions in Powershell very easy. NTFSSecurity gives you cmdlets for a variety of tasks including day to day ones like pulling up permission reports, adding permissions to an item and removing ACEs (Access Control Entries). You can even use a cmdlet to get the specific permissions in place for a particular user.
Virus total report

Hackers are constantly on the lookout for high privilege accounts to try and login to systems on the network. This module searches for all the specified event logs (with the security log being the default) on the specified machines (all the domain controllers being the default) for logon events from particular users (the default setting is for all accounts which belong to tier 0 groups).

This module can help you assess which computers have been exposed in any suspected attack using specific privileged accounts. It works with all the Windows versions 7 and upwards.

PowerShell is an advanced administration tool for Windows. Some end users with advanced knowledge or those who have worked with earlier versions of Windows may be more familiar with the humble command prompt via which you can run commands and scripts. PowerShell is similar but a lot more advanced in terms of functionality.

PowerShell gives you advanced functionalities for configuration management and task automation. The tool includes both a scripting language and a command line shell. It was built on the .Net Framework. PowerShell gives you an Integrated Scripting Environment (ISE), which gives you a GUI where you can get all your scripting done.

PowerShell has been the leading administration tool for Windows for more than a decade. But are you taking advantage of this tool to the fullest? Here are some essential PowerShell security tips for Windows administrators.

Clean up admin group

Having multiple users on a local administration group creates one of the biggest and most common loopholes for a hacker to break in to. This script gives you the ability to remove the names of multiple users from the local administrator groups of multiple computers in one shot. It takes in a text file with the names of users to be removed and another text file with the names of the machines on which this is to be done.

All you need to modify in the script before running it is to a) replace the name present in the variable $Computernames with the name of the text file containing the machine names, and b) replace the name present in the variable $Admins with the name of the text file containing the user names.
Harden SAM Access

Once hackers are able to breach a system through a particular point of vulnerability, they use compromised local and domain credentials to move around their victim network. One way to get all local and domain users along with group memberships to map possible routes in Windows 10 is to question the Security Account Manager remotely using the SAMR protocol.

While it used to be that SAM could be accessed remotely by any network-connected user, Windows 10 later introduced an option to control access to SAM and also modified the default permissions to permit remote access only to administrators. The SAMRi10 script allows you to harden the remote access by giving SAM access to only members of a specific group. No, this is not discrimination, this is security protocols!

Harden Net Sessions Enumeration

Net Sessions Enumeration can be used by attackers to get information about the sessions established on a server including computer names, usernames, session active times, and IP addresses. NetSessionEnum can be executed by any authenticated user by default. The Net Cease script alters this by giving you the ability to remove the execute permissions for all authenticated users and instead add permissions to particular sessions.

Run script as a process

One of the top recommended best practices from the point of view of security is to use an account with the least privileges possible so that even if a session were compromised, the loss would be limited to the bare minimum. This is particularly true when an administrator is running Active Directory. No you do not need to wear Nike running shoes to run Active Directory. If you believe that, you are in the wrong field.

This script allows you to run PowerShell scripts as a separate identity. In order to start a script as a different identity, this script would have the console program wait till the called script is completed, and then returns to the prompt.
File system security module

This module makes managing file and folder permissions in Powershell very easy. NTFSSecurity gives you cmdlets for a variety of tasks including day to day ones like pulling up permission reports, adding permissions to an item and removing ACEs (Access Control Entries). You can even use a cmdlet to get the specific permissions in place for a particular user.
Virus total report

Hackers are constantly on the lookout for high privilege accounts to try and login to systems on the network. This module searches for all the specified event logs (with the security log being the default) on the specified machines (all the domain controllers being the default) for logon events from particular users (the default setting is for all accounts which belong to tier 0 groups).

This module can help you assess which computers have been exposed in any suspected attack using specific privileged accounts. It works with all the Windows versions 7 and upwards.

SHA-1 Certificate signature check

Microsoft has plans to stop recognizing certificates with SHA-1 signatures. The currently available plans are applicable to server authentication certificates and those used to sign executables in a Windows environment (code signing and time stamps).

Due to the complexity associated with handling certificates and PKI, it can be difficult to determine whether SHA-1 deprecation actually applies to a certain certificate or application. This module does precisely that. It can check for TLS certificates and applications (EXE’s). No, it cannot change your car’s oil or make you some pancakes, so don’t ask about that!

Detect local admins

PowerShell Security Scripts for Windows Administrators

Local admin groups are one of the biggest points of vulnerability for a system where hackers can create local admin accounts on specific systems without being noticed. This script routinely questions multiple machines for changes in local admin groups and sends email reports whenever new members are added.
Kerberos Golden Ticket Check

Kerberos is a protocol and mechanism that allows nodes communicating over nonsecure networks to prove their identity to each other in a secure way. It is possible for a hacker who has gained entry into a computer to create what is called a Kerberos ticket granting access. No, you cannot see your local baseball or basketball team play with these types of tickets! That is not going to work!

Such tickets are a way for hackers to be able to maintain system accesses for a long period of time and keep ferreting away small amounts of data continuously.

This is what is called a golden ticket attack, one in which the hacker is able to create a ticket that is valid for 10 years (that is more than one season; that is a lot of games without paying!) or even longer by manipulating domain controllers and Active Directory. These tickets can be generated once the hacker gets his hands on an ID with domain administrator privileges. This script is a module that can help in examining a computer’s Kerberos ticket caches for such ticket granting tickets.

 

9 essential PowerShell security scripts every admin must know

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7 best Windows hosting with SQL Server for 2018

I love Sql Server… but I cannot wait to see what this same article is going to look like in just a few years…

SQL Server  on Linux is AWESOME!

http://windowsreport.com/windows-hosting-sql-server/

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WordPress Theme Selection

I ran into this quote today and was immediately initrigued.

(a) popular theme – like “The7” or “Divi” – is equal to hundreds and hundreds of plugins. Yet, plugins get the blame for slowdowns. Not the bloated popular theme.

http://pagepipe.com/theme-me-duplicate-premium-speed-themes-with-free-themes-and-plugins/

This really blows my mind..   I swear about 85% of my time during software development lies in trying to find a way to make the software run faster.

I really don’t think that most developers spend enough time and effort on trying to improve performance.  Performance is what determines how many features you can deliver (with acceptable performance).

But do you  know what the REAL problem is?

Most employers don’t WANT fast performance.  I truly believe that people think that asking for acceptable performance is an extravagant option.  I hate it when the Middle Managers don’t listen to the ‘smartest person in the room’.  It’s happened many times..  but when people don’t give a shit about performance..  it reminds me of my first real programming job, at Briazz from 2000 to November 2001.  When the normal employees would head home for the weekend.. the finance people would run around, and turn all the desktops back on..  and ‘queue up reports so that they would run all weekend’.  Oh, for the record ‘CRYSTAL REPORTS SUCKS’.

I have had at least HALF of my clients say something like  ‘Oh, don’t worry about performance, we can do  that LATER!’..  I just shake my head in  disbelief.

In my opinion, the better that you design your data types, the skinnier your tables, and thus the more rows per page.  You can almost ALWAYS drive performance faster.. by planning, testing and of course the KISS principle.  For those who don’t know the Acronym, KISS stands for ‘KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID’.

HELL NO I don’t believe in ‘premature optimization’.  I believe that you should do things RIGHT the first time.. like  my friend Matt Nelson used to say:

‘Do it Nice’ or ‘Do it Twice’

 

 

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Google Chrome to Microsoft Store finally?

I think that Google Chrome sucks and I rarely use it for anything.

So I find it hilarious that Google can’t really publish Chrome in the Store.  I mean, I hate Google.. because they are not focused..  and when Android has as many security problems as it has… I just wish that Google would be better focused and would produce better software.

I think that the Microsoft Store is one of the greatest inventions ever.  I’m actually working on some UWP applications, just some ideas that I am throwing around.. and I really love the platform.

https://www.windowscentral.com/google-chrome-finally-arrives-microsoft-store-windows-10-sort

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How to build a great analytic team

I’m not sure I agree with the  notion that Data Scientists need to be able to understand data coming from ‘different sources’.

I still believe that DataMart and SQL Server Analysis Services should hide most of that complexity from nearly *ALL* the other employees.  Otherwise it just comes down to having ‘one version of the truth’.

If a company cannot make good solid decisions in the planning of their infrastructure.. I just don’t see the point of having a half dozen types of  database technology at every company.

https://www.itworld.com/article/3243008/analytics/how-to-assemble-a-highly-effective-analytics-team.html

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DevOps Job Interview Questions

This file contains a number of interview questions that can be used when vetting potential candidates. It is by no means recommended to use every single question here on the same candidate (that would take hours). Choosing a few items from this list should help you vet the intended skills you require.

Note: Keep in mind that many of these questions are open-ended and could lead to interesting discussions that tell you more about the person’s capabilities than a straight answer would.

Inspired by Front-end-Developers-Interview-Questions

Table of Contents

  1. General Questions
  2. Network Questions
  3. Linux Questions
  4. Windows Questions
  5. Security Questions
  6. Cloud Questions
  7. Architecture Questions
  8. CI Questions
  9. Coding Questions
  10. Fun Questions

Getting Involved

  1. Contributors
  2. How to Contribute
  3. License

General Questions

  • Have you used Puppet, Chef, Salt or Ansible?
    • How long have you used it for?
    • Have you used it in production?
  • Describe the size of the environment that you automated (how many servers, small scale or large scale)
  • Describe the most challenging situation that you were faced with and how did you fix it?

Network Questions

  • What’s a PTR in DNS?
  • What’s a MX record in DNS?
  • How a CDN chooses the closest host to serve a client?
  • In which cases would you choose to not implement a CDN?

Linux Questions

  • Difference between RAID 0, 1 and 5?
  • What’s the advantage of one RAID over another?
  • Alternative to init.d in Linux?
  • How to view running processes in Linux?
  • How to check DNS records in Linux?

Windows Questions

  • Are you familiar with just linux or have you worked with Windows environments as well?
    • If yes to windows do you use powershell? Octopus Deploy? TeamCity? Active Directory? Azure?

Security Questions

  • Difference between authorization and authentication?
  • Describe two-factor authentication

Cloud Questions

  • Have you used AWS or other cloud platforms?
    • How long for?
    • In production or just at home on personal projects?
  • How to keep logs on servers or containers with ephemeral storage?
  • Where to look when trying to reduce cloud costs without reducing capacity?

Architecture Questions

  • How to scale a database without just increasing capacity of a single machine while maintaining ACID?
  • How to choose between relational database and noSQL?
  • What advantages a NoSQL database like MongoDB has, comparing to MySQL?
  • How to manage API versions?
  • How to reduce load time of a dynamic website?
  • How to reduce load time of a static website?

CI Questions

  • Are you familiar with CI tools? Which ones?
  • Describe your experience implementing continuous deployment

Coding Questions

Fun Questions

  • Do you have any side projects?
  • If you could learn any technology now, what would be?

https://github.com/spikenode/DevOps-Interview-Questions

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