Oracle CTO and executive chairman Larry Ellison, who just a few years ago famously mocked the notion of cloud computing, has positioned the company as one set up to become the industry's largest cloud player, with something to offer customers at all levels of the stack.
"We couldn't just be a specialist in [software as a service] like a Salesforce.com," Ellison said Sunday during a keynote at Oracle's OpenWorld conference in San Francisco. "We couldn't be a specialist in [infrastructure as a service] like an Amazon."
While Oracle has been building out the various pieces of its cloud portfolio steadily over the past couple of years, it seemed like Ellison saw this year's conference as a chance to tell the industry that the entire meal is now fully baked.
One of the main courses is Oracle's entry into the PaaS (platform as a service) market, with which customers can move on-premises Java applications to Oracle's cloud database and WebLogic server cloud with "a push of a button," Ellison said. Non-Java applications have a home up in Oracle's skies too, as they can run on its IaaS, also with just a push of a button.
Oracle's PaaS also "endows the applications you build with modernity," according to Ellison, who cited its additional services for social, mobility, analytics and identity management.
This is the same stuff Oracle's own development teams use, which is another differentiator, he said.
"No one else offers their platform to extend their SaaS applications," Ellison claimed. "Nobody. Let me be clear. Most of our SaaS competitors don't have any platform at all. If you want to extend [their] application, you press a few buttons and a few levers, and you're done."
Ellison recently stepped down from his long-time role as Oracle CEO, with that title now shared by Mark Hurd and Safra Catz. But he didn't shy away from delivering the competitive barbs for which he's well-known.
For example, as he is prone to do, Ellison pointed out that many of today's most prominent SaaS (software as a service) vendors actually use some Oracle technology under the hood of their products.
One of these is Salesforce.com, although Ellison acknowledged the company as a formidable competitor in CRM (customer relationship management) applications.
"Salesforce is the best of the rest," he said. "At least they have a platform. The other guys, who, Workday? they don't have a platform. Missing in action."
He reserved the coldest cuts for SAP, which has created a PaaS (platform as a service) around its Hana in-memory computing platform.
"I'm going to try to be nice," Ellison said. "It's so hard. I have no idea what runs on Hana. It's rude but it's the truth. And it's kinda funny. What cloud? Let's just talk about Earth. I really like those guys."
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