The exodus did nothing to lessen the disappointment, which wrapped the room like a wet blanket.
Ellison's absence was notable because Oracle has become a serious contender in the white-hot space for protecting corporate assets with identity management infrastructure software, thanks to a series of acquisitions and some home cooking.
Hasan Rizvi, vice president of identity management and security products at Oracle broke the news to the roughly 4,000 people in the keynote hall at the Moscone Center. Rizvi then soldiered on in Ellison's place for 25 minutes. He demonstrated Oracle's Secure Enterprise Search 10g, a piece of software designed to help enterprise customers find specific information without compromising corporate security.
The application, first launched last year, employs an interface that looks a lot like the efficient interface Google offers.
Oracle Secure Enterprise Search 10g originally only searched Oracle data sources, such as the Oracle Database, Oracle Portal, Oracle Content Database and Oracle Applications.
The search software now supports non-Oracle information sources such as EMC Documentum Content Server DocBases, FileNet Content Engine object stores, IBM Lotus Notes databases, Microsoft Exchange and SharePoint servers, and Open Text Livelink, among others.
Rizvi including the creation of the Management Pack for Identity Management, which lets customers manage Oracle security software from a single console.
The software, an adaptation of the Oracle Enterprise Manager 10g management software specifically for ID management, lets businesses locate ID management tools in a computer system, monitor system performance, and find and fix faults.
"Clearly our focus is on information security. Our focus is on protecting the information, protecting the data and protecting the applications that provide that data... and to focus on doing it in a heterogeneous environment," Rizvi told the considerably thinner crowd.
Rizvi also said Oracle's identity management software is now certified to work with Oracle E-Business Suite 12 and Oracle's Siebel 8 applications.
Oracle also said today it has submitted the Identity Governance Framework (IGF) to the Liberty Alliance royalty-free. The IGF was developed by Oracle to help companies protect sensitive employee, customer and partner information.
Liberty Alliance will drive the IGF specifications going forward.
Oracle's identity management suite, which competes with similar offerings from IBM (Quote), HP (Quote), CA (Quote) and other security vendors, was created from a combination of in-house development and the acquisitions of Oblix, Thor Technologies and OctetString.
The stack includes Oracle Access Manager, Oracle Identity Federation, Oracle Enterprise Single Sign-on, Oracle Identity Manager, Oracle Internet Directory, Oracle Virtual Directory and Oracle Web Services Manager.
Ellison's keynote appearance, which would have been one of the rare public speaking engagements the CEO has made since President Charles Phillips joined the company a few years ago, was expected to symbolize Oracle's growing strength in security.