SAN FRANCISCO — This week I spent some time at Oracle World, marveling at the vast Oracle empire, sipping cappuccino next to the Oracle America’s Cup yacht, and watching Chairman and CTO Larry Ellison configure cloud applications with his typical swagger.
It was impressive. As I wrote this week on CMSWire.com, Oracle, under Ellison’s technical direction, has quietly amassed a huge array of integrated technology ranging from communications protocols to HR applications.
Larry Ellison is now the Elvis of technology, the King. He is filling the vacuum left by the passing of his friend, Apple Co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs. No other tech leader has Ellison’s combination of technical chops and deadly business acumen. Most of the other leaders of tech giants are business bureaucrats or marketing figureheads. They don’t configure their own cloud servers, which is why the technical community has so much respect for Ellison.
Oracle has made more than 50 acquisitions in 6 years, across areas as diverse as Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) to human resources suites. Some critics say Oracle is a bit slow to roll out products after acquisition, but that is because it works very hard to integrate the technology with a holistic strategy, rather than just push another shrink-wrapped box. Oracle, probably better than any other massive technology company, has done the best job at M&A integration.
Oracle now comes up in pretty much any conversation about most software in the technology stack. If you are talking about SIP and telecom protocols, they are there with recent acquisitions of Acme Packet and Tekelec. They’re obviously a leader in their core market, databases. They have HR cloud applications. There’s a big new focus on OpenStack, and Oracle now has an entire Infrastructure as a Service (IAAS) offering, otherwise known as the cloud platform.
Name a company that has a more deeply integrated presence in the technology stack than Oracle? I can’t name one. I don’t think it’s Cisco, HP, or IBM. They may be acquirers, but they’re not as good at integrating.
Anybody in communications technology should watch Oracle’s next move, because my bet is they are coming after you. Communications and networking technology are a natural place for that to happen. The movement towards Software Defined Networking (SDN) technology and NFV is all about software, and pushing the value of networking up the stack — where Oracle now dominates.