Back in 2008, Oracle seemed to be a bit antagonistic to the Cloud or at least other providers offerings in the Cloud. At Oracle OpenWorld 2008, Larry Ellison called these cloud computing initiatives “fashion-driven” and “complete gibberish”. Fast forward three years, and Oracle is revealing a comprehensive Cloud Strategy, providing colorful commentary by calling Salesforce.com the “Roach Motel of Cloud Computing.”
Is this an about face for Oracle? I don’t believe so for a few reasons…
- Mr. Ellison does understand the potential for applications in the Cloud, an early and current investor in NetSuite — an early cloud based ERP provider.
- Perhaps initially unprepared, Oracle likely needed to buy time for their Cloud strategy; recently, at Oracle OpenWorld, Oracle revealed a fairly comprehensive Cloud offering, not so dissimilar from what you may hear from Amazon, HP, Microsoft and Salesforce.com at OpenWorld
- Extending their application offerings with the Cloud, late last month, Oracle announced the acquisition of RightNow, a cloud based customer management solution
- The Cloud is creating a shift in infrastructure architecture, much like what we have seen moving from mainframe to minis, and minis to PC’s; with Oracle’s leading position in enterprises, they have much to lose to other providers and much to gain by slowing the trend and attempting to catch up / get ahead of the market.
To the last point, Oracle does provide colorful commentary suggesting other vendors have been over-reaching with Cloud computing, requiring further scope and definition and prematurely ascerting unfounded capabilities. Oracle will likely take advantage from other players missteps, providing a thoughtful methodical approach consistent with what Oracle customers would expect from an enterprise software company. Time and technology innovation will likely shake Oracle’s aversion for multi-tenancy solutions. As well, the Cloud may provide Oracle with alternatives for an already stretched Fusion strategy.