Oracle CEO Larry Ellison once dubbed cloud computing nothing more than “water vapor,” noting three years ago that “all it is is a computer attached to a network.” But now Oracle is making a big bet on the cloud, announcing a series of new products at the company’s OpenWorld conference in San Francisco Sunday night, including a new cloud database service called 12c, public and private cloud services and a hardware device that competes with SAP’s HANA database.
ComputerWorld reports that one of the slides during Ellison’s talk indicated that Oracle’s number one rival for the “infrastructure-as-a-service” product will be Amazon Web Services. Ellison did not offer details on pricing or when some of the offerings will be available, though he did say that “it’s not plain old commodity infrastructure.”
Here’s a roundup of coverage on the new service from a few media outlets:
For a guy that once called cloud computing “complete gibberish,” he’s now offering clouds in every way they can be offered: software-as-a-service (where companies pay monthly to use an app over the Internet), platform-as-a-service (where companies pay monthly to have someone else host their apps, typically custom-developed apps) and infrastructure-as-a-service (where companies rent all of the hardware, can set it up the way they want, and use it to host whatever apps they want.)
Ellison also launched a few jabs, reminding the audience that the first cloud computing company was Netsuite, a cloud-software company in which Ellison is himself a key investor, and that it first launched in 1998. Salesforce.com, run by former Ellison protege Marc Benioff, the (largest) supplier of cloud based software, was launched in 1999. Ellison also compared cloud computing to the 100-plus year old business model of selling electric power as a service. “It’s a good idea, but it is an old idea,” he said. “The utility model has been with us 100 years or more. He also said that Oracle’s new hardware is faster than hardware from the likes of IBM and SAP.
Lastly, it means that the fight among all players is going to reach a fever pitch a lot faster than most tech executives would have predicted a year or two ago. Companies that were onstage with Mr. Ellison a year ago, like EMC, got called out for a razzing. SAP, which has had a comeback with its fast data processing, will have to step up its game, now that Mr. Ellison has a machine that (he says) can process 52 times as much data as SAP’s offering. And, quite possibly, we are about to head for another great hallmark of technology transitions, standards wars, where customers try to figure out which company is likely to survive, and which of those likely survivors wants to lock them into an expensive proprietary range of products.
Ellison also stressed that the Oracle Private Cloud is able to run other Oracle software besides Fusion Applications, such as E-Business Suite, PeopleSoft and Siebel. This ability to have workloads span public and private clouds could give Oracle a selling edge against AWS.