Oracle demolishes hardware Pillar, lays off 300 flash storage staff

Oracle is shuttering its flash storage division and laying off at least 300 employees, according to various sources.

Employees were told of the layoffs on Thursday, August 15 by Mike Workman, SVP of flash storage systems at Oracle, via a conference call.

An outgoing Oracle staffer who attended the conference call, told Blocks & Files: “Today Larry’s Band of Storage Misfits aka Pillar Data was quietly let go and the product discontinued. A small number of people were kept for take the product to the grave via sustaining mode.”

He said: “The layoff estimate is approximately 300 people.”

The job cuts were also reported in two anonymous posts on Thelayoff.com yesterday. One poster wrote: “All but 12 people in Mike Workman’s org were laid off … essentially the entire Flash Storage division. 12 were retained. Over 400 jobs cut…

And:

Oracle is focusing heavily on its public cloud business, with less emphasis for on-premises deployments of its software, and hence hardware. It now looks as if Oracle is stopping building its own flash storage hardware and software.

We asked Oracle for comment and a spokesperson’s response was: “As our cloud business grows, we will continually balance our resources and restructure our development group to help ensure we have the right people delivering the best cloud products to our customers around the world.”

Background

Mike Workman founded Pillar Data in 2001 with then Oracle CEO Larry Ellison. The company was acquired by Oracle in 2011 and subsequently became part of the Oracle Flash Storage division, based at Broomfield in Colorado. Oracle employed 2,000 people at Broomfield last year.

Oracle flash storage products included the FS1, a redesigned Pillar Axiom array.

They were integrated into the Oracle engineered systems, the components of which are architected, co-engineered with Oracle software, integrated, tested, and optimized to work together for better Oracle Database performance.

Engineered systems include the Exadata Database Machine, Big Data Appliance, Zero Data Loss Recovery Appliance, Private Cloud Appliance and Database Appliance.

The Exadata Database Machine X8 was announced in June 2019. Oracle’s Gurmeet Goindi, master product manager, Exadata at Oracle,  blogged about the Exadata X8: “The X8 hardware release updates 2- and 8-socket database (compute) servers and intelligent storage servers with the latest Intel chips and significant improvements in storage. The X8 hardware release also adds a new lower-cost storage server that extends Exadata benefits to low-use data.”

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