OpenWorld 2016: Ellison stakes claim for infrastructure as a service

In his opening keynote at Oracle OpenWorld 2016, Oracle chairman and CTO cites AWS, Workday and Microsoft as main competitors for cloud revenue in enterprise IT

Oracle chairman and CTO Larry Ellison staked a claim for infrastructure as a service (IaaS) business in enterprise IT, against the likes of Amazon, and played up artificial intelligence in his opening keynote at Oracle OpenWorld 2016.

This is 20th year the supplier has held its annual customer conference in San Francisco, and it claims attendees have come from 141 countries this year.

On the back of first-quarter financial results that indicate progress towards $1bn in quarterly revenue for its cloud business – still only 11% of its total – Ellison restated his view that Oracle’s existing large customer base is still in the early stages of a shift to cloud, and he held out the prospect of a decade or more of coexistence between cloud and on-premise installations.

He also reiterated his view that neither IBM nor SAP figure as competitors for cloud revenue in enterprise IT, and cited pureplay cloud companies such as Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Workday, as well as Microsoft, instead.

But Ellison said his firm’s embrace of standards as a design goal for cloud computing, including of NoSQL and the Hadoop software family, would give it an edge, as would its security heritage from its earliest customers – the US services, the NSA and CIA.

“Security is the single most important concern for organisations as they shift to the cloud,” he said.

It was Amazon Web Services that Ellison talked about most as he staked Oracle’s claim for IaaS business.

“Amazon’s lead is over,” he said. “We are very proud of our second generation of infrastructure as a service. We are going to be focusing on it and aggressively featuring it not only during Oracle OpenWorld, but for the remainder of this fiscal year and next fiscal year and the year after that.”

He continued the theme: “Our new second-generation datacentres offer twice as many cores as Amazon, twice as much memory as Amazon, four times as much storage as Amazon, and more than 10 times the I/O capacity of Amazon. But you have to be willing to pay less. If you’re not willing to pay less, you can’t place the order.”

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Ellison introduced Oracle Database 12c Release 2, along with more than 20 new Oracle Cloud Platform and application services.

He highlighted a database-as-a-service (DBaaS) that was allegedly “orders of magnitudes faster and more scalable than other cloud database services”.

But he drew attention especially to “adaptive intelligence applications that use machine learning to power the next generation of cloud applications”.

“As we build software as a service applications for people who were raised with smartphone interfaces to digital services, we need to make it easy for you to develop things like chatbots,” he said.

Among other developments Ellison touted were an “Exadata Express Cloud Service”, mobile cloud services that include support for chatbots, an analytics cloud suite to connect data sources and visualize any data on any device, and internet of things applications for asset management, production insights, connected worker and fleet management.

“We have more SaaS applications by a huge margin than any other cloud services provider,” he said. “We have HCM suite, CRM suite, customer experience suite, plus lots and lots of industry suites as well.”

Ellison also invoked Facebook as a comparator company. “There are two big databases that keep track of consumers, if you will, and have a lot of information about consumers,” he said. “One is very famous. It’s called Facebook. The other one is less well known. It’s Oracle’s data cloud. We actually have more consumers in our data cloud than they have in theirs.”

He said Oracle was bringing out machine learning from its labs for such applications as anomalous patterns in financial transactions and predicting what its customers’ customers would next buy, drawing on data in its cloud environments.

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