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As Oracle rounds out its cloud strategy, Amazon Web Services looms

Brandon Butler | Oct. 5, 2012
Reversing years of cloud-bashing, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison added an infrastructure as a service (IaaS) component to the company's cloud portfolio this week at Oracle OpenWorld, rounding it out the company's strategy to include the three major cloud platforms, including SaaS and PaaS. But will anyone outside of existing Oracle customers use it?

Bowker, the ESG analyst, says he sees the AWS and Oracle offerings being able to coexist. For some applications, running them in the AWS cloud will make sense. Especially test and development models or apps that are not intended to live in the cloud forever could be optimized for AWS. For longer-term deployments that will be on Oracle hardware for their lifetime, perhaps there could be some benefit to using a utility, rental model from Oracle, which frees the customer from investments, upgrades and maintenance compared to managing the infrastructure themselves. "It's another option for Oracle developers, app teams to consider," he says.

Others are not as convinced. For one, Staten says Oracle, and specifically Ellison, are treading a fine line. "It's a classic Innovator's Dilemma move," Staten says. "They want to position pure disruptive clouds like AWS, Google and Microsoft Azure as 'not ready for the enterprise' while they make 'me too' moves that protect their ASP, managed services and traditional businesses. The strategy is 'just enough cloud' rather than true cloud."

Carl Brooks, an analyst at the 451 Research Group, agrees and takes it one step further, saying that Oracle is cloud-washing, or calling its products cloud to play into the market hype around the term. Oracle embracing cloud terminology is in stark contrast to views Ellison has expressed about the topic in recent years. The company is rolling out everything in cloud now -- according to Brooks, Ellison even said the "c" in the Oracle 12c database stands for "cloud" -- because that's the buzzword du jour, Brooks says. "Oracle has been plodding along with the trends and technology just like all the other dinosaurs," he says. "Oracle has no chance to take business away from real cloud providers and very little from hardware/infrastructure vendors. Some of these services certainly qualify for the definitions of IaaS, SaaS, PaaS, and I think that's the great joke: Oracle is rehashing service delivery concepts that it (and Sun) were doing almost 10 years ago and covering it with a thick blanket of marketing to make it au courant."


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