As promised, Oracle is launching an offensive against public cloud leader Amazon Web Services (AWS), using this week’s Oracle OpenWorld — the company’s annual customer conference, in San Francisco — as its soapbox.
Oracle has increasingly been offering its own software in cloud form, having “rewritten our entire portfolio for the purpose of going all-in on the cloud,” as CEO Mark Hurd said during this morning’s keynote. Not content to stop there, the company wants to become a major force in infastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) as well.
This is not exactly an ambush. A year ago, CTO Larry Ellison talked openly about challenging AWS. In last week’s earnings release, he continued the smack talk, claiming Oracle will outdo AWS in key metrics including performance and price.
Oracle revealed some of the details during Ellison’s Sunday keynote kicking off OpenWorld and in press releases Monday. Here are some of the highlights.
The big announcement is Oracle’s Bare Metal Cloud Services, the raw infrastructure offering that would compete directly with IaaS. This is the aspect that would provide “twice the compute, twice the memory, four times the storage and ten times more I/O at a 20 percent lower price than Amazon Web Services,” as Ellison said in the earnings release.
Oracle has also turned Ravello, the startup it acquired in February, into a cloud service. Ravello lets users run VMware or KFV-based workloads onto Oracle’s public cloud, AWS, or Google Cloud Platform.
Oracle also runs many application-specific clouds and is adding to that number. The Oracle Analytics Cloud, announced today, offers infrastructure, including storage for running analytics. The service also supports Hadoop and Spark.
All told, the company says it’s announced 19 cloud services today. That includes a container service, of course, promising support for “Docker-like environments.”
Cloud’s 80/20 Rule
What makes the cloud important is that it will eventually let enterprises spend more money on innovation rather than maintenance, Hurd said during his keynote.
Eighty percent of IT spending is directed at maintenance rather than innovation, he claimed. To nail that point home, he began his keynote with an economics lesson, saying Wall Street’s appetite for growth has led to short-term answers; CEOs show growth by acquiring companies and cutting expenses. Both activities eat up budget that could have gone to innovation, Hurd said.
Even the well-intentioned obsession with security takes its toll, because CIOs show results by hurriedly buying security products, again eating up potential R&D funds, he said.
Hurds’s point was that the cloud should change that by taking away maintenance costs.
“This is not as much a technical benefit as it is, in the end, a business benefit,” he said. “This will facilitate the flip of the budget,” so that 80 percent of IT spending can go toward innovation, he said.
To show that the migration to the cloud has become a strong trend, he devoted the bulk of his keynote to testimonials from Oracle cloud customers such as HSBC, Lyft, and Orange.
By 2025, Hurd believes the number of corporate-owned data centers will drop by 80 percent compared with today. The only ones left would be running “legacy applications with no commercial alternative” — in other words, cases where the enterprise has no other choice, he said.