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Oracle OpenWorld: Ellison questions Salesforce.com Cloud credentials

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20th Sep 2010
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Oracle's CEO draws a line in the sand over Cloud Computing: Amazon's on the right side of it, Salesforce.com isn't!

If Marc Benioff’s ears weren’t burning on Sunday evening, they certainly should have been, as his former boss Larry Ellison questioned Salesforce.com’s credentials as a Cloud Computing firm. "I’ve been rather outspoken about [Cloud Computing]," said Ellison with more than a little understatement given some of his highly public diatribes on the subject.

 

But as he kicked off the Oracle OpenWorld conference in San Francisco on Sunday, Ellison was clearly in a mood to try to take back the Cloud agenda from rival firms, beginning by aligning Oracle’s vision with that of Amazon. "People have used the term Cloud Computing to mean many things," he argued.

"A lot of technologies more than a decade old have been rebranded to Cloud Computing. You are all free to have your own definition, but it will be useful to know what Oracle’s is. Is this something old or something new? Is it rebranding or true innovation? Is it an application programme that runs on the internet? Or is it a platform for building any and all of your applications? People call all of those Cloud Computing."
To illustrate his point, Ellison focused on what he called two extremes of Cloud Computing claimants: Salesforce.com and Amazon. "Salesforce.com is a very successful application on the internet that’s been around a long time and a lot of people call that Cloud Computing," he said. "But Salesforce.com is really one or two applications on the internet. It’s a sales force application and a service application, but it’s really not an platform. It has a limited proprietary platform.
"Hundred of customers co-mingle their data in the same database – it’s a very weak security model. It’s not secure. It’s not elastic. If demand increases on Salesforce.com, you better reduce demand. People go around reducing the reports and the data level because they can’t dynamically add new virtual machines. It’s priced not on usage, but per users. If you want to call that Cloud Computing, please do, but do understand it’s very different from Amazon."
Amazon’s definition of Cloud is, he said, "identical" to Oracle’s. "The term Cloud Computing came into popular existence with the release of Amazon EC2. It stands in stark contrast to Salesforce.com," he said. "It’s not an application. It’s relatively new. It’s a platform that includes hardware and software. You can build virtually any application on Amazon EC2 or if you will, the Cloud. The technology is virtualised. When you use the Cloud, you get some number of virtual machines. If your virtual machine should fail, no problem. You don’t impact any other virtual environment. Amazon thought elasticity was so important that it put it in the name. If you need additional capacity, you get it. You only pay for what you use."
One big honking Cloud
All of this was simply the set up for the introduction of Oracle’s Exalogic Elastic Compute Cloud  - or "a Cloud in a box". The next iteration of the firm’s Exadata ‘database in a box’ introduced two years ago, Exalogic is intended to be Oracle’s Cloud platform, combining hardware, sofware, networking and storage in one package, complete with 30 servers and a host of Virtual Machines. "It’s one big honking Cloud," laughed Ellison.
The Exalogic Cloud is designed to run business applications such as Siebel and PeopleSoft with optimised efficiency, he said, rhetorically demanding to know why anyone thinks they need a machine that can run something the size of Facebook. "The whole idea of Cloud Computing is to have a pool of applications that share resources. When you’re closing the books, General Ledger gets more resources. You get a much more efficient use of resources. This runs your legacy apps as well as the most modern Java apps."
Ellison concluded by promising more such developments to come. For now, the Oracle Cloud ‘line in the sand’ has been drawn. "A Cloud is a platform," said Ellison. "It’s elastic. It can be public or private. It runs all of your applications. It’s built on standards."
It’s a definition that some will agree with and some will not. Salesforce.com’s Marc Benioff is due to appear at a side event alongside the main OpenWorld conference on Wednesday and will doubtless have his own comments to make.
But perhaps everyone can agree that his definition on Sunday is at least better than arguing that Clouds are just "water vapour" as Ellison has done in frustration in the past...
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By [email protected]
20th Sep 2010 11:14

It is interesting that the arguement for clarifying what cloud computing is, over shaddows what the business user actually wants. A great CRM system. In Marc Benioffs most recent cloudforce event in London he too provided the definition for cloud. Interesting... Yes, does it help my organisation improve customer experience, increase sales, provide a leaner operation... No. But Salesforce.com and force.com does,. Would I ever consider Oracle to replace our CRM, or other extended applications in Salesforce? not in a million years, there is no competition, even if Oracle was free. But realistically with 90% user adoption across 95% of the organisation I would expect the Oracle cloud pricing model to be more expensive than our current license costs. Perhaps Oracle clients can't boast such sucessful user adoption.

 

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By kevinsyver
24th Sep 2010 11:49

Larry is rattled. From reading this article and others reporting on OOW I think he is losing the plot. He's spending too much time talking about the rivals and not enough about his products. May be this is deliberate to DEFLECT attention away from Fusion etc.

And also cloud in a box. what is that about?

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