Development at Oracle

matthew's picture

I really, really like the place that I work. The commute is amazing. The facility is breathtaking. My co-workers are stunningly enthusiastic, skilled, and intelligent. My pay is... well, good enough to get by :-) Recently a thread popped up at Slashdot in which a lot of commenters trashed Oracle, and I felt a need to set some of the record straight.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this post are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Oracle.

TL;DR: I am an Oracle employee. It's an awesome place to work with above market pay, superb benefits, and a demanding but rewarding engineering culture. Virtualbox is one project in a large and growing virtualization team, creating and improving some truly amazing cutting-edge technologies that make your virtualization life better.

I'm going to share some facts as I see them, and let you draw your own conclusions instead of drawing them for you.

1. The Oracle VM and Oracle VM Virtualbox teams are one and the same within Oracle. There's a lot of cross-pollination of ideas and effort, and the virtualization team is frakking huge: HUNDREDS of developers. Not "4", as some have asserted here!
2. There's a ton of stuff happening in virtualization at Oracle: https://blogs.oracle.com/virtualization/
3. There's a substantial line-up of products that are demo'd to customers as part of "Virtualbox Appliances". Virtualbox demos are a key strategy for introducing many of our products to customers. http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/community/developer-vm/index.html .
Corrollary: I manage a lot of ZFS appliances. I like them; they make my job easier, particularly at the kind of scale at which one begins measuring one's storage in exabytes. You should download the Virtualbox-based Oracle ZFS Storage Simulator and check it out. Hint: Dig into the REST interfaces and ECMAscript workflows concepts. This kind of thing is Stored Procedures for enterprise-grade storage appliances with absolutely blistering scale, reliability, and performance, and if you don't yet understand how powerful that idea is, you might be insufficiently experienced in high-end storage and databases.
4. Wim Coekaerts is a smart, friendly, and communicative dude. He also happens to be SVP over our Linux & Virtualization efforts. If you're really interested in the details of virtualization development at Oracle, you should check out his blog: https://blogs.oracle.com/wim/

Next, my opinions. No longer facts!

VirtualBox is a mature, stable product that's doing its job and -- as a GPL project -- seems to me like more a vehicle for showcasing Oracle technology than a revenue generator in its own right. That doesn't mean development has ceased! It just means that, in general, Oracle engineering teams are laser-focused on how we can make money so we can stay employed so we can keep creating really unique and useful products for our customers. Responsibilities on teams shift as need demands, and with such an enormous knowledge base in virtualization on our Engineering staff, there's no question that if a product needs a feature to benefit customers, and a good case can be made that it'll pay off, it gets the engineering resources it needs to give it a try.

The Sun transition was tough for some employees. In advance of the merger, a lot of old-timers split. A lot of younger engineers went looking for somewhere hipper and younger to work than what would become a Fortune 500 company. Many Sun managers, sensing the change in the wind as Oracle's intensely results-oriented management team integrated with them, split for positions elsewhere.

I know and work with the survivors of the merger every day. And overwhelmingly, those who've integrated into Oracle culture, shown they belong here through their productivity and attitude, and produce results consistently have built success upon success, and are valued and rewarded.

They're also a bunch of brainiacs who routinely blow my mind with deep insights into operating systems, hardware, and performance optimization.

Those who don't deal well with rapid change, high expectations, and a dogged focus on constantly improving our products at an increasing pace while doing more with less don't tend to thrive here.

From my point of view, Oracle's a great place to work. The focus is always on delivering new benefits -- not just features! -- for our customers. The pace is hectic, every product we work with internally is "eating our own dogfood" to try to figure out why our customers will love or hate it (third content management system in five years, blech!!!), we typically pay above market rate, and we expect a high degree of professionalism, intelligence, cooperation, and problem-solving ability. I'm a busy dad of four with a triathlon habit, and the work-life balance usually comes out just right.

If you think you have what it takes to keep changing the world for the better as fast as you possibly can, check us out at http://www.oracle.com/careers/ .

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Sammy G's picture

Scared 'em

I'm not a dotter but reading your original post on the SD boards seemed like you intimidated commenters. Like: we've actually encountered someone who knows what they're talking about and has a rational posting without hyperbole or net-turd. Responding might expose us. Let's move on and attack someone else.