"In this coming year, you’ll see us aggressively moving into infrastructure-as-a-service,’’ Larry Ellison, Oracle’s chief technology officer and executive chairman of the board, said to kick off the company’s OpenWorld conference Sunday night at the Moscone Center. In the first of his two scheduled keynote addresses, Ellison went on to outline a number of strategic announcements that aim to strengthen the company’s offerings, as well as to help it compete with Amazon.com, one of its top challengers.
According to Ellison, one way Oracle will compete is by offering more cost-efficient solutions than the Internet giant, whom he referred to as a "pioneer’" for infrastructure-as-a-service [IaaS]. "Compute is a commodity, just like electricity," Ellison said. And "when you buy commodities like gasoline or electricity, cost is important,’’ as it’s not easy to differentiate them. Because of this, ‘’we have to be lower cost and higher performance at the same time.’’
Ellison discussed the company’s Platform-as-a-Service [PaaS] strategy. At OpenWorld 2015, Oracle introduced capabilities that enable customers to migrate databases from to the cloud with one click. This year, the company highlighted a third option: the Cloud@Customer Machine offering. "We’re taking the machines that we use in our platform, and the software that we use in our platform, lifting it up, and saying ‘We can install the identical software and hardware that we use in the cloud in your data center, behind your firewall, attached to your high speed local area network,'" Ellison explained. And, he emphasized, Oracle will not sell it to customers as hardware, but rather treat it as a cloud extension, offering it via a subscription service at the same price as the Oracle Cloud. This, he promised, will conform with government and business security requirements, reduce costs, and improve network performance.
Additionally, Oracle’s Exadata will also now be offered as a subscription service, Ellison said.
According to Ellison, Oracle now offers three layers of compatibility for databases: on-premise, the Cloud@Customer, and Public Cloud. A company can easily to move data loads back and forth between the Cloud, Customer@Machine, and Public Cloud machines, he said. This is different from what Amazon offers, which is only a public cloud, Ellison stressed.
Ellison guided attendees through the compatibility and portability advantages for Oracle Database users. "On-premise you can license our software,’’ he said. "On premise you can license our software and run it on our Exadata machine, and now, a third option on premise is Customer@Cloud.’’ Ellison pointed out that the Oracle Database runs "anywhere you want to take it, pretty much," including Amazon’s Web Services and Microsoft’s Azure Clouds, while Amazon’s Redshift does not. "It’s so fascinating to me that Amazon decided that you should really only run their database in Amazon, and that if you try to run their database somewhere else, it just wouldn’t work." He also noted that it’s very expensive to move data into Amazon, but very expensive to move it out. "Some people call that the ultimate lock in,’’ Ellison said.
Also announced was the Generation 2 Infrastructure-as-a-Service, which promises a speedy network and high availability. Ellison explained that one benefit of the upgrade is that it simplifies the act of connecting networks in different regions for smoother accessibility. "If we lose a data center, you won’t even know about it,’’ Ellison said. "This is designed to get data close to users and avoid a catastrophic outage.’’
"Our new second generation data centers offer twice as many cores as Amazon; twice as much network as Amazon; four times as much storage as Amazon; and more than 10 times the capacity of Amazon but you have to be willing to pay less. You have to be willing to pay less to place the order! So Amazon’s lead is over; Amazon is going to have serious competition going forward.’’
Last night Oracle also announced the second release of its Database 12c, designed for the cloud. According to Ellison, it promises "more scalability," at a much lower cost. Users can manage up to 4,000 tenants at once, and back them up as one. Users can also clone and relocated databases while they are running. Sharding capabilities allow for elastic scalability for global scale apps. Release two also promises improved memory capabilities.
Though Oracle had a late start in getting to the cloud, it is "now selling more SaaS and more Paas than any other company in the world," including Salesforce.com, Ellison stated. "We have more SaaS applications by a huge margin than any other cloud services provider," Ellison said. "We have HCM suites, CRM suites, Customer Experience Suites, plus lots and lots of industry suites as well, and we’re constantly, constantly adding to our footprint."