Oracle has reported an impressive last quarter – something the analysts were not expecting. In the second quarter of this year the Net income was £1.2bn ($1.9bn) – 28% up on 2009.

The quarterly earnings call was very much a platform for Oracle to hold up the benefits of the merger with Sun. Hardware and software systems were lauded – but particular attention was given to the Exadata platform.

Mark Hurd discussed how he had met ‘many customers,’ since his appointment as president at Oracle, who had been increasingly enthusiastic about the company strategy ‘of engineering hardware and software that works together.’

“That enthusiasm translates into an Exadata pipeline that has now grown to nearly $2bn. That number is a good leading indicator that customers are planning to increase their investment in Oracle technology.”

In addition to the 28% (quarterly) rise – revenues were up 47%; hardware sales reached $1.1bn, and year-on-year, the software licence revenue was up 21% to $2bn.

Ellison, obviously, had something to say regarding Oracle’s competitors. “Sun’s new Sparc Supercluster computer shattered the world record for database transaction processing performance by running three times faster than IBM’s fastest computer, and a stunning 7.5 times faster than HP’s best-ever database performance.”

In Ellison’s eyes, Oracle is clearly in the lead. “Our new generation of Exadata, Exalogic and Sparc Supercluster computers deliver much better performance and much lower cost than the fastest machines from IBM and HP.” The question is – what will the next quarter herald – and for who?