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Oracle Emphasizes Cloud Transition at OpenWorld

At this year's Oracle OpenWorld conference in San Francisco, cloud computing is once again front and center with the launch of new IaaS, PaaS and SaaS offerings. The company has added new online storage services, cloud-based asynchronous message queuing, cloud-based tools to build sites on social networks and in the Oracle Public Cloud, and a variety of new SaaS-based line of business tools including financial planning and analytics capabilities.

The continued emphasis on cloud follows last year's OpenWorld, when the company made its big cloud push with the launch of Oracle Public Cloud and the release of a slew of SaaS applications. As with Microsoft, HP, IBM, Dell and others, cloud computing is the focus of everything Oracle is talking about now.

It's always interesting to hear Oracle CEO Larry Ellison sing the praises of cloud computing these days, years after shrugging it off. In 2008, Ellison famously described cloud computing as the fashion du jour. "What the hell is cloud computing?" Ellison said to financial analysts four years ago. "I'm not going to fight this thing. I don't understand what we would do differently in the light of cloud computing other than changing the wording on some of our ads. It's crazy. That's my view."

Well, Ellison has since refined his view. During his keynotes at OpenWorld this year, Ellison described Oracle as the only company that has addressed private and public cloud computing at the IaaS, PaaS and SaaS layers. I think Microsoft and others might beg to differ but Oracle clearly launched a broad portfolio of SaaS apps as well as substantial infrastructure and platform services.

Ellison effectively said everything Oracle offers will be available for use on premise in traditional datacenters, for private clouds and in the Oracle Public Cloud. Moreover, customers can host their apps on dedicated hardware in Oracle datacenters or run their apps on shared infrastructure. And finally, much of the software in the Oracle Applications suite is now available as a SaaS offering, with social networking hooks, and those applications are based on the same Java-based application infrastructure as the premises-based versions of its software.

One thing that many will take issue with, though, is Ellison's claim that its cloud is standards-based. "Industry standards are extremely important," Ellison said, pointing to the fact that all of Oracle's cloud apps, databases and middleware are based on Java, Linux and the Xen hypervisor. Yet Oracle is one of the only major IT vendors that have not joined the OpenStack initiative (Microsoft, Amazon and Google are other notable players not involved). Cisco, Dell, HP, IBM, Rackspace, Red Hat and VMware are all on board, among nearly 200 other players.

If you're not concerned about portability, this won't matter. But if you're already locked into Oracle, there may be some compelling options from its cloud offerings.

And that's going to be the key focus for Oracle in the foreseeable future. Prior to making his Wednesday afternoon keynote, Ellison told CNBC's Maria Bartiromo, who spent two days broadcasting her show live from OpenWorld, that the cloud will take priority over making any major acquisitions in the coming years. "We are not planning any major acquisitions right now," Ellison said. "We are really focused on the fact that over the last seven or eight years, we re-engineered our applications for the cloud. We think that's a huge opportunity for organic growth."

While that's not the first time Ellison has said Oracle has spent that many years re-engineering its apps for the cloud, you might wonder how that's possible if he was describing it as a fashion trend in 2008. More than likely, Oracle was watching the growth of Salesforce.com and was very much hedging its bets in the SaaS model.

At OpenWorld, Oracle announced the following new cloud offerings are available for preview:

  • Oracle Planning and Budgeting Cloud Service, a subscription-based version of its Hyperion Planning app
  • Oracle Financial Reporting Cloud Service for creating financial statements
  • Oracle Data and Insight Cloud Service for self-service analytics
  • Oracle Social Sites Cloud Service, which provides the ability for non-technical users to create sites on social networks such as Facebook
  • Oracle Developer Cloud Service for developers who want to build their apps using a public cloud service
  • Oracle Storage Cloud Service for providing object storage content linked to existing Oracle Cloud services
  • Oracle Messaging Cloud Service, an asynchronous message queuing service to link data between disparate sources.

What's your take on Oracle's cloud strategy? Feel free to comment below or drop me a line at jschwartz@1105media.com.

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 10/03/2012 at 1:14 PM


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