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Larry Ellison Takes on Amazon with Oracle's Latest Cloud Salvo

Oracle isn't the first company that comes to mind when asked who are the largest cloud infrastructure service providers, but apparently Founder and CTO Larry Ellison plans to change that. In his traditional keynote address to open up the annual Oracle OpenWorld conference, Ellison kicked of this year's gathering with a "cloud-first" focus that will apply to everything from its flagship database server, middleware and applications. He also made a brazen claim that Oracle will mount a challenge against Amazon Web Services (AWS) for cloud dominance.

Such bravado is nothing new for Ellison but even for him that could be quite a coup if Oracle were to surpass AWS, which is by far the largest public cloud infrastructure provider, now on at a $10 billion run rate. Only Microsoft, Google and, to a lesser extent, IBM Softlayer have public cloud infrastructures that approach the scale and revenues of AWS. Even so, analysts say AWS has a strong lead over anyone including second-place Microsoft Azure.

Though not impossible, given Oracle's resources, the company has significant challenge before it can threaten AWS, Microsoft and Google, among others -- and that presumes customers embrace Oracle's IaaS. "Oracle has a pretty substantial build-out ahead to compete with Microsoft and Amazon on the global scale in which those companies operate. That does not mean that they cannot compete in some geos effectively in the near term," said IDC Analyst Al Gillen. "The company thinks it can disrupt incumbents on the basis of price. That's great, although basic IaaS without any value add is ultimately a race to $0. I think it is important to be in that market segment to be seen as serious and competitive."

Indeed, while describing cloud compute and storage services commodities, Ellison argued Oracle's cloud will cost less and offer better reliability than AWS. Ellison said Oracle is building out and upgrading its existing global datacenters with a new generation of availability zones each consisting of three nearby facilities connected by fiber-optic rings with their own separate power supplies, allowing triplicate data in each availability zone.

"We have a modern architecture for infrastructure where there's no single point of failure," Ellison said during last night's keynote address. "Faults are isolated therefore faults are tolerated. If we lose a datacenter, you don't even know about it."

Moreover, Ellison claimed Oracle's second-generation datacenters offer twice as many cores and memory as AWS, four times more storage and more than 10 times the I/O capacity at a lower cost.

"Amazon's lead's over," Ellison said. "Amazon is going to have serious competition going forward. We're very proud of our second-generation infrastructure as a service, we're going to be focusing on it and aggressively featuring it."

Oracle is also taking on Microsoft, Dell, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), Lenovo and VMware in the emerging market for preengineered on premises cloud appliances called the Oracle Exadata Database Machine. Oracle Xabyte Database Machine will allow organizations to run the Oracle cloud platform in the local datacenter, allowing customers to move data back and forth, Ellison said.

 "If you run your Oracle database on premise on your own hardware, you can move that data to our cloud, Ellison said. "The cloud and customer machines are identical. It will be 101 percent compatible."

Ellison also talked up the new Oracle 12c database. Of course the "c" stands for cloud, and Ellison said it's designed with improved multitenancy and support for data sharding, where shards could represent database fragments. Oracle 12c can process and synchronize hundreds or even thousands of shards, Ellison said. "The new database has an in-memory option. We can now keep the column store in Active Data Guard [the fault-tolerance features in the Oracle database] and give huge performance increases. We think more and more people are going to go to in-memory database as memory gets cheaper and cheaper and cheaper."

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 09/19/2016 at 1:40 PM


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