Oracle has agreed to drop claims that its Exadata database machines are “20X faster” than IBM Power servers, following IBM’s protest to the advertising industry’s regulatory council.
Specifically, the National Advertising Division (NAD), a unit of the industry’s Advertising Self-Regulatory Council (ASRC), recommended that Oracle drop claims that appeared in a full-page ad in The Wall Street Journal, which included the phrases ““Exadata 20x Faster … Replaces IBM Again” as well as ““Giant European Retailer Moves Databases from IBM Power to Exadata … Runs 20 Times Faster.”
The ad also referred readers to a Website (subsequently taken down).
Oracle, for its part, said it would drop the claims, but also said that it would appeal NAD’s decision to the National Advertising Review Board. In its advertiser’s statement, Oracle suggested the decision was “unduly broad and will severely limit the ability to run truthful comparative advertising, not only for Oracle but for others in the commercial hardware and software industry.”
According to the NAD, IBM pointed out that the “20x Faster” claim broadly referred to the Exadata line in addition to “Power” products, rather than specific models. IBM argued that, by referring to the brand name “IBM Power” without qualification, Oracle was making a broad claim about the entire IBM Power systems line of products.
For its part, Oracle claimed that the Exadata ad referred to a case study—the “Giant European Retailer” mentioned in the ad—based on the experience of a single customer, rather than a sweeping statement about the merits of both products. NAD sided with IBM, saying it had to assume all reasonable interpretations of an ad claim, and not just the message that Oracle claims it intended.
In the meantime, Oracle plans on launching its Oracle Exalogic Elastic Cloud Software 2.0 on Wednesday, July 25. Timothy Prickett Morgan of The Register predicted that Oracle “is going to be revving up the WebLogic middleware while at the same time packaging JVMs up inside of Xen hypervisor containers on top of Linux inside an Exalogic cluster.”
Prickett also noted that Oracle retitled the Sun Fire line of x86 machinery to be consistent with the naming conventions of the Exadata and Exalogic engineered systems: the Sun Fire X4170 M3 becomes the Sun Server X3-2, and so on.