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Cloud will be key for Oracle at OpenWorld

Chris Kanaracus | Sept. 26, 2014
It's just days until the start of Oracle's OpenWorld conference, an already massive affair that will be even bigger this year given the company's recent acquisitions and forays into new product areas.

It's just days until the start of Oracle's OpenWorld conference, an already massive affair that will be even bigger this year given the company's recent acquisitions and forays into new product areas.

OpenWorld will also serve as an introduction to Oracle's new executive structure, which many observers have concluded doesn't amount to much of a change at all. Last week, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison became executive chairman and CTO of the company, with Mark Hurd and Safra Catz named co-CEOs.

All three will continue doing much the same jobs they had been doing, with Ellison overseeing engineering, Hurd handling sales and Catz running operations. Nonetheless, the initial groundwork of a succession plan for Ellison, who recently turned 70, has been laid.

Of more interest will be the messages Oracle delivers -- or doesn't deliver -- to customers and partners through the show's major keynotes and sessions. Here's a look at what to expect during the event, which begins Sunday and continues through Thursday.

Dawn of the (cloud) database
Ellison may have shed his CEO title in favor of becoming executive chairman and CTO, but he's still planning to join Oracle's annual earnings conference calls and he'll make a pair of keynote appearances at OpenWorld, including opening the conference Sunday.

The OpenWorld website is mum on what Ellison will talk about that evening, as well as during another talk Tuesday. But the man himself gave at least one big clue during last week's earnings call, saying Oracle plans to launch its DBaaS (database as a service) at the event.

Oracle's DBaaS has been discussed and available for some time, so it's not clear what if any new twists Ellison may introduce. At a minimum, he'll likely use OpenWorld as an opportunity to rev up the hype with his typical bombast, if his comments last week are an indication.

"With the push of a button your existing application automatically becomes a multi-tenant application and it's moved to the Oracle Cloud," he said. "No reprogramming is required. Hundreds of thousands of customers and ISVs have been waiting for exactly this. Database is our largest software business and database will be our largest cloud service business."

It remains to be seen how successful Oracle's DBaaS will end up being, but the way things are headed, there's certainly an opportunity, according to analyst Ray Wang, chairman and founder of Constellation Research.

As companies move operations to the cloud and take advantage of big data analytics, "most of your data is going to be created outside the four walls of your enterprise," he said. "So you've got to be able to connect so quickly to external sources and stream this data." This is a role Oracle wants to play, Wang said.

 

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