Oracle and the cloud have had a rocky relationship. If you listen to what Oracle is saying, they’re on pace to displace AWS and be the biggest cloud provider out there. This is more than a little marketing bluster. But if you watch the company, they’re actually making some very interesting moves in the space.
Ben Kepes breaks down just how cloudy Oracle’s latest Cloud in a Box and Cloud at Customer offerings actually are. As a business model, it’s definitely closer to Oracle’s traditional business than to AWS’s explicitly on-demand method. But cloud is still such a new category, that even though Amazon, Microsoft and Google seem poised to dominate the public cloud space, who’s to say that will be the primary cloud consumption model going forward?
Ben makes the argument that while this isn’t a pure cloud play, that’s not really what Oracle is going for. Instead, they’re offering a cloud stepping stone for their large enterprise customers, giving them access to on-demand consumption and pricing, while not sacrificing security and compliance. There are more than a few people bullish that the private cloud will win out in the long term, so it seems like a solid offering in that sphere for Oracle.
In his piece, Ben says that one of the reasons the public cloud has dominated recently is that “speed is the real currency” for companies. With virtually infinite scale, the public cloud certainly offers an advantage in that area. But I think in a more nuanced look, latency is the real currency. In a world of increasingly disbursed computing, latency is the next big bottleneck. If putting a cloud in a box on-site can differentiate Oracle in that department, they could make a convincing argument to a lot of (large) organizations.
Oracle’s cloud efforts to date have often sputtered, when they’ve bothered to exist in earnest at all. Their latest steps might not be an AWS killer, but given the company’s customers, maybe it doesn’t have to be.
The Diversity Blog comments:
I can snark on Oracle with the best of them. Let’s face it, Larry Ellison, he of the private islands, yacht races (BTW, Team New Zealand beat Oracle in the America’s Cup, despite Ellison’s billions!) and the perennially “next slide” filled keynotes is a polarizing figure. Yes, many big SaaS companies (think Salesforce and NetSuite) run on an Oracle database core, and yes, there are some huge enterprises that leverage Oracle for their core operations, but that’s not as cool as a Netflix, a Lyft or an Airbnb is it?
Slowly, but inexorably, however, Oracle has been changing its tune over the past couple of years.