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Ellison pushes Oracle's new cloud platform hard, but questions linger

Chris Kanaracus | Oct. 2, 2014
Oracle chairman Larry Ellison has delivered another dose of hype for the vendor's cloud platform, but many customers may need more convincing before they make the leap.

Oracle wants to present itself as a one-stop-shop for all things cloud, given it offers SaaS (software as a service), PaaS (platform as a service) and infrastructure.

Ellison's talk left a few important questions unanswered for customers considering such an arrangement, such as whether they will gain savings at all three layers compared to running systems on-premises.

Given the ongoing price war in the IaaS market, Oracle may be assuming it can make little or no profit on the IaaS layer, but generate big money on cloud applications and PaaS.

During a press conference Monday, Oracle CEO Mark Hurd declined to comment on the notion but said he expected most customers who buy its PaaS or SaaS would naturally also choose its infrastructure service.

Overall, Oracle and Ellison have more work to do before customers broadly but into the one-stop-shop approach.

"The three pillars, that for me is what's resonated the most and piqued the most interest [at OpenWorld]," said Alyssa Johnson, president of the Oracle Applications Users Group, in an interview. However, "for me, it's not about 'tomorrow let's go do that,' it's about 'tell me more,'" she added.

OAUG represents many users of software such as Oracle's E-Business Suite, which is predominantly run on-premises. There's a place for Oracle's new SaaS applications in their environments, Johnson said. "Their practical path to cloud is to take advantage of those edge apps," she said, citing one Oracle created for revenue management. "The E-Business Suite management team is not going to duplicate that effort."

Dunnhumby, a UK company that helps retailers create customer personalization programs by analyzing massive amounts of information, is a big user of Oracle's Exadata data-processing machine and recently started work on moving its back-office software to a suite of Oracle cloud applications.

That said, "we are absolutely not committed to being a single vendor organization," CIO Yael Cosset said in an interview. "We're not married."

However, "it's a very strong and successful partnership," Cosset added. Oracle has been willing to work with Dunnhumby on "new things we're thinking of doing two or three years out," he said. "You can't put a price on that."

 

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