Dell Chairman and CEO Michael Dell touted Dell's "Efficient Enterprise" strategy Wednesday at the Oracle OpenWorld 2009 conference and was joined briefly onstage by Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, who stressed that Oracle is a major user of Dell equipment as well as a partner.

Dell's strategy centres on standardisation, simplification, and automation. Standardisation involves use of Intel processors, Dell explained. Simplification entails making the complex simple, using solutions like virtualisation and storage consolidation, while automation is about streamlining service delivery and enabling self service IT models, Dell said during a keynote presentation.

He cited figures stating that of the £750 billion spent annually on IT infrastructure, nearly £500 billion is spent on labour and services, while £250 billion goes to hardware and related software. Meanwhile, just 1 percent of total business spending is left for driving IT innovation, Dell said.

"We believe there's a real opportunity to drive out inefficiency and make technology work harder for our customers, and it forms the basis of what we call the Efficient Enterprise "Dell said.  He vowed that Dell would reduce £125 billion of inefficiency out of the £750 billion.

Dell stressed Intel as the industry standard. "The numbers really don't lie. [Intel] x86 is the standard architecture in the data centre," he said. Dell referred to Intel versus "proprietary architectures" in promoting Intel-based systems.

Ellison briefly joined Dell to stress Oracle and Dell synergies. "We've got so many customers that are Dell customers and also Oracle customers. Our partnership just gets bigger and bigger every year," Ellison said.

Oracle also is a major Dell user, with 20,000 Dell servers that Oracle uses to run its development and testing operations, Ellison said. Dell technology is "working well for us," he said.

Ellison did not address what could be a sticky predicament, in that Oracle soon will own the rival Sun Microsystems hardware line if a proposed £4.6 billion merger goes through as planned. Sun hardware is largely based on the SPARC CPU platform, with some Intel-based machines in the mix.

Efficient Enterprise, Dell said, is intended to enable greater spending on innovation and less on maintenance.  Enterprise efficiency also is about giving IT administrators increased visibility into deployed workloads, Dell said.

Virtual machines, Dell said, are becoming key to driving workloads form the client to the cloud. Dell is driving its "virtual ready infrastructure," he said.  The company is delivering automation and flexibility and self service IT through cloud computing, said Dell. He cited 7-11 as one enterprise that has moved to Dell's managed services to improve service delivery.