Oracle Bids to Own Cloud Computing in the Enterprise

It took, by Larry Ellison’s own admission, “almost seven years of relentless engineering and innovation plus key strategic acquisitions,” but today the Oracle CEO was able to make the announcement that the database giant would be entering the public cloud sector with Oracle Cloud. So far, the crowd has yet to go wild.

You can say this for Oracle: when it finally gets going on something, it likes to go big. The company’s new cloud service features pretty much every on-premise Oracle tool and application - hence the multi-year development timeframe, according to Ellison at the announcement this afternoon.

Oracle’s Own Cloud

The Oracle Cloud is an Oracle play all the way: the whole shebang is powered by an Oracle Exadata and Exalogic infrastructure, and customer data will be hosted on Oracle Database, according to Ellison.

This makes sense, given Ellison’s emphasis that anything you can do on-premise with Oracle software can also be done in Oracle Cloud.

Despite Ellison's repeated insistence that this new cloud is heavily standards-based, don’t kid yourself, this is Oracle’s cloud. The strategy seems to be two-fold:

  1. keep existing Oracle customers who were already pondering a cloud solution happy by giving them what they want before they hop off in search of another solution, and
  2. capture new customers who are shopping around various public cloud channels.

It may work. Because even though this is a very Oracle-colored cloud, there’s still a lot of solid tools in here, including the Fusion CRM and HCM services (available now) as well as Java and HTML5 for Web deployment.

History Repeats Itself

Like Oracle’s abrupt break with former partner Red Hat back when it decided to launch Oracle’s own Linux distribution, Oracle is still very much acting on Ellison’s consistent drive to own as much of the Oracle-to-end-user channels as it can. It has offered Oracle database services in the Amazon Web Services cloud before, but those offerings may now be in trouble, depending on customer response.

Oracle is making noise about its monthly subscription pricing structure, which differs from the usual hourly or daily pricing of most public clouds. This shift from the usual pay-for-what-you-use strategy may work better for big customers who worry about getting nickeled and dimed.

But there is a none-too-positive perception of Oracle right now, from the general sense that since Oracle owns much of the data process stack, once one climbs on board with Oracle the company will pretty much control most if not all of one’s IT infrastructure.

This new cloud offering may only exacerbate this perception, right or wrong.