Oracle chief executive Larry Ellison boasted that the acquisition of business computer equipment firm Sun Microsystems had helped turn up the heat on rivals IBM and Hewlett-Packard. Ellison kicked off Oracle\'s annual conference in San Francisco by touting high performance systems created by combining Sun hardware with the business software for which his company is known. \"When we first bought Sun, people said we would get out of the hardware business,\" Ellison said during an opening presentation at the conference. \"I guess we didn\'t get the memo,\" he quipped before extolling the power and cost-efficiency of Oracle machines such as Exadata, Exalogic, and Sparc Super Cluster. At one point Ellison displayed the title of the Ernest Hemingway novel \"The Sun Also Rises\" on a giant screen as he mocked critics who said the acquisition meant Sun was dead. \"You know, every night the sun sets but the sun also rises,\" Ellison said. Oracle bought Sun in a 5.17-billion-euro (7.57-billion-dollar) deal completed early last year after it got the clearance of competition watchdogs in Europe. Acquiring Sun, a one-time Silicon Valley star and developer of the popular Java programming language, put software titan Oracle in the hardware business as a rival to longtime partners such as IBM and HP. Ellison boasted computing systems \"orders of magnitude\" faster than competitors and prior generations by using multiple devices working simultaneously to process, store, or organize information. He also unveiled an Exalytics Intelligence Machine crafted to find and analyze stored data \"at the speed of thought.\" \"If you design the hardware and software in concert you can do a better job,\" Ellison said. \"Apple, for example, is doing a pretty good job designing hardware and software.\" Approximately 45,000 people have registered to attend the weeklong Oracle Open World gathering, which is packed with sessions focused on using the Northern California company\'s technology. The event is known for its grand moments, which this week will feature laser light shows and music performances by Sting and Tom Petty.