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OOW ’15: Looking back, looking forward

CEO-turned CTO, Larry Ellison opened his Sunday keynote slot of Oracle’s annual tech conference, with his customary emphasis on the logic behind Oracle’s tech decisions the past ten years, and how far they have come as a result.

Ellison said, “Ten years ago, we realised we had to rewrite all our apps to be able to host them on the cloud. We started the Fusion project, and when we did this, we realised it wasn’t just rewriting apps, but we also had to rewrite middleware, and the database tech for the cloud, because it had to be multi-tenanted.”

Things started to really roll from there, and a combination of customer demand and sense-making saw Oracle expanding their offerings from on-premise to the cloud.

“So, here is the irony of it all. We went into software-as-a-service (SaaS), and realised we had to be in the platform-as-a-service (PaaS) business and then came to understand that we had to be in the infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) business.

“That’s how we got to be where we are today.”

Ellison was also very proud of the fact that Oracle now has a platform, for their customers to be able to not just use Oracle’s database in the cloud, but also be able to write their own apps, and make Oracle’s hybrid cloud play, more complete – from Iaas to PaaS to SaaS.

“We sell a lot of apps in the cloud,” the CTO said.

The competitor landscape

As a result, competitors for Oracle are shifting from IBM and SAP to relatively smaller and younger companies like Workday and Salesforce. “The two biggest companies we watched most closely were IBM and SAP, and we longer pay any attention to either today.”

The one main big reason why is because of the cloud which Ellison described both as being “nowhere in the cloud.”

He did count Amazon Web Services, EMC, and on occasion Google, as three companies that the IaaS marketplace sees activity from. He also considered Microsoft as only one of their traditional competitors that “has crossed the chasm, and is now competing (with Oracle) in all three layers (of the cloud).”

Ellison has a second keynote on Wednesday, where he would be talking more about how always-on security has to be designed into the cloud. He gave a little teaser about Oracle’s security thinking last night, by sharing that, ”There should be no on and off button on security.”


(This journalist is a guest of Oracle’s to Oracle Open World in San Francisco).

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