OpenWorld: Oracle’s Ellison Makes an Aggressive Play to Dominate the Cloud He Once Dismissed

A. DeCarlo
A. DeCarlo

Summary Bullets:

• Unveiling its second generation IaaS platform at its OpenWorld user conference, Oracle’s Ellison asserted that it is Oracle not AWS that will lead the market

• But the company has a lot of ground to cover to come anywhere close to dislodging a provider that continues to impress with an ever-expanding portfolio

Eight years after Larry Ellison ridiculed the cloud as a manufactured buzzword that encompassed everything the computing industry was already doing, the CEO has reversed course and is looking to play a spoiler in a market that forecasters predict could top $120 billion in just four years. Ellison turned his keynote into a scathing critique of AWS and a forum to present Oracle in the disruptor role.

Making the argument that choosing AWS condemns the customer to permanent lock-in on a platform that is subpar to its own, Ellison touted Oracle’s new platform as an order of magnitude faster than the IaaS’ pioneer’s. Ellison promoted Oracle’s database acumen and the wisdom gained from learning from the first movers as giving the company an edge. Oracle is looking to position itself as an alternative to solutions that require customers to abandon legacy investments to gain the benefits of IaaS. While he admitted that AWS has held an advantage on price, Ellison said its new Exadata Express Cloud service undercuts Amazon on cost.

While always entertaining to watch the colorful Ellison share his perspective on the evolving IT market, it is impossible to not be skeptical of his very bold claims. The market as a whole is moving toward an as-a-Service model so Oracle is itself essentially forced to take that path, a route that requires the company to make big sacrifices on what has long been a lucrative licensing model.

That isn’t to say Oracle won’t find a way to make this work to its advantage. Consider Microsoft as a case in point. The company, which itself made its fortunes in the software licensing realm, muddled through the cloud for years with misfires and missteps before finally finding its footing – and big success – with Azure.

Do you think Oracle has a shot at unseating AWS? Did Ellison raise valid questions about AWS’ platform or is this more hype to fuel his marketing fire?

What do you think?

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