Oracle Says Its Cloud Strategy Is Ready to Take On AWS, the World

NEWS ANALYSIS: Larry Ellison says enterprises will take at least another decade to make the transition to cloud computing and that Amazon Web Services is Oracle's strongest competitor for that business.

Oracle Cloud Strategy 2

SAN FRANCISCO—Real change takes a long time to play out, even in this era of Uber and unicorns, hyper-growth and "failing fast."

Cloud computing is the new paradigm, obviously, but whose cloud computing vision will prevail over the long term is still up for debate. Oracle has some bold opinions about that future, and this week at OpenWorld here executives hammered home a technology strategy to fit that vision.

In 10 years, 80 percent of all production apps will be in the cloud, predicted CEO Mark Hurd, who added that all enterprise data will be stored virtually in the cloud by 2025. But as big as cloud computing has grown so far, Oracle cautions, the cloud is still a long way from being fully embraced by businesses.

"You can say this will be a 10-year transition—and that's certainly when the biggest changes will take place—but I think the coexistence [with the cloud] will go on forever," said Oracle founder and CTO Larry Ellison. "This big period of transition and essential coexistence will be a huge issue over the next decade because customers really want the public cloud to look like their data center, and their data center to really look like their public cloud."

A decade is a long time when measured in Amazon Web Services years, but it's not a cop-out to say that the transition to the cloud will take 10 more years. Oracle knows how entrenched its customers are with on-premises computing. Even with reputed hard-core sales tactics, they know they can't rush things. Large enterprises are moving, and will move to the cloud, but they want to do it on their terms.

"Customers are telling us they want to do cloud where that's appropriate, and they want to do on-premises where that's appropriate, but they want to manage all of that as one single thing: easy to manage, fully compatible, with the ability to quickly and easily move workloads back and forth," Ellison said.

In the big picture, Oracle and its customers are still in the middle of a decades-long journey interrupted by a brief cloud-bashing period that began 20 years ago when Ellison's big idea was three-tier computing and the thin client. Today, Ellison's network computing vision has essentially morphed into the standard cloud model.

Oracle spent the past 10 years rewriting everything for the cloud, execs said, and building out collections of platform services. At OpenWorld, the company rolled out new platform-as-a-service (PaaS) services including the Application Container Cloud and the Developer Cloud Service, along with updates to the Oracle Application Development Framework and its Mobile Application Framework. For its software-as-a-service (SaaS) application layer, the company announced 183 new modules.

This week Oracle said it has "switched on" infrastructure services, with compute nodes, object storage (based on OpenStack Swift), archive storage and networking services.

Scot Petersen

Scot Petersen

Scot Petersen is a technology analyst at Ziff Brothers Investments, a private investment firm. Prior to joining Ziff Brothers, Scot was the editorial director, Business Applications & Architecture,...