Cloud could deliver a silver lining for Oracle
Oracle may well be about to prove itself a winner in offering a range of public and private cloud solutions to companies searching for less confusing and more secure ways of using the development
ORACLE’S HEADmay be in the clouds, but its feet are firmly on the ground as it looks for fresh revenue growth in extensive new cloud-based services, and powerful hardware designed to manage “big data”.
At its most prolific annual OpenWorld user conference in years, the company this week laid out an ambitious and comprehensive range of cloud services that covers virtually every angle from which a customer might wish to utilise cloud computing.
Chief executive Larry Ellison said Oracle would offer a complete “stack” of cloud offerings, giving customers access to its muscular hardware (Infrastructure as a Service, or IaaS), a working environment, based on its long-in-development Fusion middleware, on which to run applications (Platform as a Service, or PaaS) as well as a broad range of applications running in the cloud (Software as a Service, or SaaS).
In his second keynote speech on Tuesday, Ellison said, that with this broad cloud offering, “it all comes together, it all has to be together for the cloud to work”.
He said Oracle had hundreds of customers using its cloud-based Fusion applications to manage areas ranging from human resources to sales and marketing, finances, accounting and customer relations, and would have thousands by 2013.
He also introduced a social media service that can be integrated into large company’s applications, which he claimed was different from anything else in the market.
“All of our applications are socially enabled,” he said.
It’s all a big turnaround for Ellison, who only three years ago dismissed cloud computing as a fad and “gibberish”. The company has until now, also failed to provide convincing applications in the exploding area of social media.
Company president Mark Hurd – the former chief executive of HP, who was controversially dismissed by HP’s board – was also highly visible at the event, giving two keynotes, and meeting journalists.
Hurd said the broad range of products introduced at the conference was evidence of ongoing innovation within the company. Oracle’s RD spend, expected to hit $5 billion this year, has been productive, he said.
“More R&D spend doesn’t necessarily mean more innovation. [But] if you look at the yield out of R&D here, you see incredible yield.”
He noted that the company, which has its core strength in database technology but has expanded into nearly all areas of enterprise computing thanks to a large appetite for acquisitions, “wants everything to be best-of-breed at every level of the technology stack. We want to be leader in market share at every level.”
Many of Oracle’s new offerings are designed to manage “big data”, the endless stream of information companies take in from sources such as mobile and online services. Hurd said data was growing at a rate of 35-50 per cent a year for most Oracle customers.