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Oracle Open World: Good News , Bad News

November 3rd, 2015

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Looking around Oracle Open World this year, it seemed like there was a significant drop in  attendees – at least compared to years past or especially compared to Dreamforce.  Feels like there is a lack of excitement. Makes me feel like Oracle has hit it’s apogee.

  • Good News ? Oracle is not going anywhere.
  • Bad News ? Oracle is not going anywhere.

Oracle is solid awesome technology and is not going to disappear at the same time they’ve missed the cloud opportunity and not going anywhere in the industry. While the industry is moving to the cloud, Oracle has been concentrating on private data center mega machines (Exadata).  Now having Exadata engineered for Oracle makes it compellingly turn key and screaming fast, but why buy Exadata when you can buy push button power by the drip for a few dollars at time?  Who wants some aging hardware carcasses lying around as the industry advances? Even the Oracle buildings look like the old carcasses of hard drives . The future is clearly cloud and Oracle has missed the boat. Until about 4 weeks ago, you couldn’t even create a regular Oracle database in the Oracle cloud. From talking to people I respect and who work with Oracle cloud, the only thing Oracle’s cloud is really good for is Fusion, which works well in Oracle’s cloud (and is also too complicated to run in house). You may ask “What about all the massive Oracle cloud sales?”  Well, according to a number of articles out there Oracle is forcing people to buy these licenses which they may or may not ever use.

Oracle as a long history of denigrating competing technology X only to turn around a few years down the road after developing technology X in house and saying “we’ve got technology X, we are the best at technology X and you can’t live without us and technology X”. It’s worked in the past but this time it’s failing.

One reason it’s failing is because Oracle doesn’t seem to get cloud. I heard a number of Oracle people at OOW laugh and chuckle that Cloud is just time sharing.  Cloud isn’t about time sharing it’s about fast, agile, power. Cloud is about power at one finger tips with out hiring a team of experts and with out buying tons of hardware. Instead, with cloud, we can pull out our credit card, spin up as much power as we want and shut it all down when we are finished. Cloud is about speed. Cloud is about having the best experts in the industry design and maintain systems for us. Think about it. For example … are you worried about security? How much do you spend on security? How much does Amazon spend on security?

I once heard that Larry said, after buying Sun, that he didn’t need innovation in house. He could just buy innovation. Maybe. Who knows what tricks Oracle has up their sleeves. Larry has a long solid history of amazing business success and strategy. When the rumors started that Oracle might buy Salesforce, I thought, “wow that would be awesome and put Oracle straight in the middle of the cloud revolution and maybe Benioff could be a successor to Larry.” but alas those rumors were reported to be wrong.

Larry famously called Google “evil”  a couple of years ago. Given that he wasn’t giving many interviews in the preceding year I found this a shocking accusation. I ponder a long time as to what Larry’s strategy in saying this was.  My conclusion is that he realized for the first time that Oracle was seriously threaten by Google. Google was showing for the first time that it had the power and technical ability to challenge Oracle. Seems though in retrospect that the real challenger is Amazon.

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