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September 19, 2016
Just like that guy who moans about New Year’s Eve being forced fun but turns up to the party anyway, Oracle has decided the cloud might not be a bad idea after launching its IaaS platform.
For some time the Oracle executives resisted the tempting world of cloud computing, seemingly believing it to be a fad which would pass. The last 12-18 months has seen a remarkable change in attitudes with the long-standing tech giant throwing around its financial weight in an effort to play catch-up. The $9.3 billion acquisition of Netsuite in July demonstrates this quite effectively; buying a significant cloud player for a 30% premium could indicate the team are no longer messing around with this cloud computing thing. This is serious business, and now it is the best in the world according to its energetic figure-head.
“Amazon’s lead is over,” said Oracle Executive Chairman Larry Ellison. “Amazon is going to have serious competition going forward. And we’re very proud of our second generation of Infrastructure as a Service. We’re 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.”
Well, that’s that then. Despite AWS bringing 10 years of cloud computing innovation to the table, despite Microsoft Azure growing faster than the vast majority of other platforms out there, and despite Google being the poster-boy for artificial intelligence, Oracle is god in the cloud computing segment. Good to know.
The announcement does include a number of new product offerings, which will put Oracle in direct competition with the aforementioned cloud leaders. These include a Container Cloud service to support Cloud developers, API Cloud service, enhanced mobile Cloud services that include support for chatbots, integration Cloud service to support integration of Cloud and on-premises applications, big data discovery Cloud service, Internet of Things applications and Management Cloud services that use machine learning. In fewer words that’s Containers, APIs, artificial intelligence, hybrid cloud, big data, IoT and machine learning; all the buzzwords covered in one announcement!
The launch represents a turnaround in the approach to cloud computing, which was seemingly met by scepticism by Oracle executive’s in the early days.
“The computer industry is the only industry which is more fashion driven than women’s fashion. I was reading W and it said that orange is the new pink. Cloud is the new SaaS,” Ellison said in an analyst briefing in 2008, seemingly not having much faith in the concept of cloud computing. The briefing is reminiscent of former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer’s now infamous claim the iPhone won’t appeal to business customers because it doesn’t have a keyboard. Neither statement has proved to be particularly helpful.
Despite Ellison’s possibly pre-mature claims, Oracle does have deep pockets. Where there is cash to invest, there could be momentum to add to the slow-moving machine to make a mark in the segment. The financial power of Oracle is not in question here, and the company has already invested billions in bolstering its cloud computing capabilities, but is Oracle too far behind to catch the cloud leaders? AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud and IBM Soft Layer already control more than 50% of the cloud market worldwide, and are continuing to increase the lead over the rest of the industry.
Throwing money at a situation is a popular way to make a problem go away, but how effectively Oracle can break the strangle-hold AWS, Microsoft, Google and IBM has on the market remains to be seen.
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