Noting that cloud computing has evolved to describe massive, transparent IT solutions in which the "brand of hardware and software" is of lesser consideration as long as it works, King opined that Oracle likely needs to associate itself with the cloud to avoid getting lost in the nebulous messaging of competing vendors:
"Ellison may see a cloud-style environment where the type of technology behind the computing erodes over time. As long as you're getting your SLA who cares what database it is? Cloud computing is dangerous to any player who doesn't have any place to market their technology as a cloud offering."
For example, a company such as IBM could offer enterprises a cloud that may have Oracle's database, but it just as well could have its own DB2. As long as the customer is served properly and is willing to pay IBM to host its data and content on IBM's infrastructure, a company like IBM can afford to offer a rival's product on its own infrastructure.
So, if Ellison's issue is with the hype, that's fine. If he really thinks that cloud computing and SAAS are not where the industry is headed, then I fear he and Oracle will be going down with the on-premises database ship.
Why do I think that?
Google has built a monolithic business on the cloud computing concept and has Microsoft in a tizzy because of its SAAS collaboration software business. Amazon Web Services is changing the face of hosted computing on a daily basis and has, for better or worse, spawned a raft of PAAS (platform as a service) startups.
IBM has spent easily billions of dollars setting up new data centers or opening up existing data centers to host customers' applications. An IBM spokesperson told me Sept. 29:
"Even with some stress that the financial services industry is seeing, we have some very large banks who are moving some pretty critical pieces of their risk analysis into an IBM cloud. If you're telling me that doesn't have enterprise value..."
And Salesforce.com may not be making the money it hoped to at this stage, but its early success triggered an entire ecosystem of SAAS providers buttering their bread based on CRM, ERP, human resource management and billing.
Microsoft is making a serious push into cloud computing, offering traditionally on-premises solutions such as Microsoft Office as SAAS.
So Ellison may despise the hype, but you'd better believe Oracle will continue to embrace the cloud. Love it or hate it, it's the future of IT.