Ellison Dismisses IBM, SAP as Oracle's Key Cloud Competitors

NEWS ANALYSIS: Elllison may not be paying attention to IBM and SAP anymore, but he'd better keep an eye on Amazon, Salesforce and a spate of smaller competitors.

SAN FRANCISCO -- Oracle OpenWorld wouldn't be complete each year without these three identifiers:

a) Larry Ellison slamming one or more of his competitors from the main stage;

b) A Tier 1 rock star or two performing in midweek (this year, it's Elton John and Beck on Treasure Island Oct. 28); and ...

c) Howard Street being completely blocked off between Third and Fourth streets at the Moscone Center to mess up downtown traffic even more than usual.

Oh yes, and the host company can be counted upon to announce a bunch of new products and services for Oracle customers. We'll get to those in a minute.

Doesn't Pay Attention to IBM, SAP Anymore

Ellison didn't waste any time doing his predictable part Oct. 25 at the traditional opening night intro address.

"Our two biggest competitors in the last two decades have been IBM and SAP, and we no longer pay any attention to either one," Ellison said during his dinnertime keynote event. "It's quite a shock, really, when you think about it. SAP is nowhere in cloud, and only Oracle and Microsoft are in every level of the cloud—applications, platform and infrastructure."

As his biggest competitor in the new markets, Ellison pointed to Amazon Web Services, a company that is far, far ahead of Oracle -- and pretty much everyone else -- in the cloud. AWS competes in numerous ways directly with what Oracle is trying to do as it shifts much of its business from hardware to virtualized software and services.

"We compete with Amazon in cloud infrastructure and never, ever see IBM; this is how much our world has changed," Ellison said.

Oracle won't have to worry about that other big former competitor, Hewlett-Packard, in the cloud, either, since HP dropped development of its Helion Cloud last week. IBM's not ready to jettison its Blue Cloud, however; the company has invested northward of $1.2 billion in cloud infrastructure in the last couple of years and isn't going to give up on that project anytime soon.

When it comes to applications, Oracle is in a race against Salesforce.com and Workday. Oracle is having a hard time taking market share away from Salesforce, the company that started selling cloud apps and services years before the word "cloud" became common in the tech vernacular.

Cloud Deployment Options for All Software

Oracle said a couple of months ago that it intends to give all of its software a cloud-deployment option. CEO Mark Hurd reiterated Oct. 26 that the company is indeed on track for that goal, and that about 95 percent of Oracle's products are now available in the cloud, if needed.

Here are capsule descriptions of the new and/or enhanced Oracle products and services announced Oct. 26:

--Oracle Data Visualization Cloud Service: This simplifies blending and correlating data sets for line-of-business users. Automatic data blending allows users to combine data from a variety of sources—Oracle and other SaaS applications, on-premises systems, external sources and personal files—and immediately gain new insights using visual analysis. They can enrich the analysis with narratives to create stories that can be shared across the organization in a scalable, secure fashion. The creation and sharing of analytic insights is supported on mobile, tablet and desktop devices, enabling complete flexibility and unlimited access. This will compete directly with such popular services as Tableau, 1010Data, Google Sheets, Cumulus Logic, Zoom and SAP, among others.

--Expanded Database Cloud Portfolio: New mission critical capabilities available now include clustering for fault-tolerant availability and on-demand scalability; zero data loss disaster recovery; and Oracle Database Exadata Cloud Service. Oracle also announced a new, free database cloud service that enables DBAs and developers to try Oracle Database in the Oracle Cloud at no cost and no risk.

--Fusion Middleware Enhancements: This release includes literally hundreds of new features for running agile, intelligent business applications, and help users consolidate their systems and improve business continuity on premises and the cloud. As part of this major Oracle Fusion Middleware release, Oracle announced the largest release of Oracle WebLogic Server in a decade, unveiling the world's first cloud-native, enterprise Java Platform. Enhancements were also made to components of Oracle Fusion Middleware, including BPM Suite, Data Integration, SOA Suite, WebCenter, and Developer Tools.

--Oracle Database 12c Release 2 (beta): Focus areas include: improved agility and capacity with enhancements to Oracle Multitenant; online movement of pluggable databases between servers, data centers and the Oracle Cloud; refinements to Oracle Database In-Memory; features to boost performance, automate management, and provide flexibility in deployment options; enhanced support for big data analytics. In addition to enhancements to Database In-Memory, plans include spatial performance improvements and improved support for graph analytics.

--New Oracle Supply Chain Management Cloud Offerings: These include expansion of the service with two new product offerings, Oracle Planning Central Cloud and Oracle Manufacturing Cloud. Additionally, Oracle announced enhanced capabilities in Oracle Order Management Cloud and across the entire Oracle Supply Chain Management Cloud. Together, these enable manufacturers to operate their supply chain in a modern cloud environment across the key business processes of: source to settle (including Procure to Pay and full direct material support); ideas to commercialization (for both manufactured and purchased products); order to cash (and with Oracle Cloud, to extend to marketing, sales and quoting); and plan to produce (combining planning, manufacturing and fulfillment).

For more details on these new-product announcements, go here.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 15 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...