Silicon Valley Sightings: Oracle’s Emerald Towers “The DataBase”

Oracle HQ

(Above: The architecture of the Oracle towers cleverly resemble a “Data Base Stack”)

I was in Redwood Shores this last week meeting Singapore’s US Country Director to discuss the web industry in Asia. On the way over, I stopped by their gorgeous headquarters in Redwood Shores to take a few pictures (Map) or check out the 3D streetview. It houses thousands of talented employees, and is known to cause traffic jams on the nearby freeway 101.

Yes, the architecture of the company looks like it’s signature product, the Oracle Database, the “stack” is what you will often see in web application or network architecture documents, they look like a series of ‘hockey pucks’ stacked on top of each other, see examples. This campus can be seen from the major artery freeway 101 from miles away, and was even the set for the movie by Robin Williams Bicentennial man.

I’ve always been impressed with their campus, it’s the former location of Marine World USA (history of Redwood Shores), and they still have a salt water pond, affectionately known as “Larry’s Lake” after the CEO and founder, Larry Ellison (his Japanese “Castle” down the freeway was on the market for $25 million, includes one a kind driveway). I’m told there are still manta rays in the lake, but I’ve never seen one, perhaps it’s only visible from high up in the towers. You can learn more about Larry’s colorful past, he’s quite the Silicon Valley cowboy.

Redwood Shores used to be the marsh and salt farm of the bay area, it was filled in decades ago, and is home to gorgeous homes on the water, and many beautiful corporate campuses. The average home price? Often over one million dollars, median family income is $200,000. Many of the homes have docks connected to their backyard where owners can have boats, and travel about –much like the canals of Venice.

Oracle’s empire has spread past the towers, they now expand to other buildings across the street, and have recently expanded to Pleasanton, with the acquisition of PeopleSoft in June 2005. At one point in my career, I almost worked at Oracle, I was interviewing to the web director of some of their websites. I’ve got a lot of friends who live in the area, or worked at Oracle, it’s really a gorgeous area.

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If you know any interesting trivia about Oracle or it’s campus, be sure to leave a comment.

(Silicon Valley Sightings is an ongoing PhotoBlog that captures the intersection of Tech Culture in the San Francisco Silicon Valley Bay Area, check out the archives. All photos by Jeremiah Owyang)