Salesforce.com has used an approach where customers share a single instance of its application, with their data kept separate. But 12c pushes multitenancy into the database tier through a feature calledpluggable databases. Ellison has called Oracle's approach superior and more secure than application-level multitenancy.
From a product standpoint, Tuesday's announcement could also be seen as the final casting off of Salesforce.com's image as a scrappy upstart making inroads against incumbent on-premises software vendors.
Nearing US$4 billion in revenue, Salesforce.com hasn't been able to call itself a startup for some time. But the specific product integrations with Oracle announced Tuesday would seem to position Oracle and Salesforce.com together against the likes of Workday, a rapidly-growing provider of cloud-based HCM and financial applications.
Of course, Oracle has a cloud-based CRM application of its own and will no doubt continue to compete with Salesforce.com in that line of business and others.
The Salesforce.com deal comes one day after Oracle announced a partnership with Microsoft that will see Oracle technology, including the Java programming language, play a more prominent role in Microsoft's Azure cloud service.
On balance, Oracle's moves reflect a master plan of Ellison's making, according to Constellation Research analysts Ray Wang and Holger Mueller .
"Over the past decade, Oracle has emerged as the laggard in the cloud market," they wrote in a joint blog post Tuesday. "VC's had advised their startups not to build on Oracle to avoid the cost overhead and legacy database technology. Yet Larry Ellison remains the rare master of Sun Tzu's Art of War strategies. In this latest effort, he shows his determination to serve as the arms dealer for cloud infrastructure."
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