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Oracle's Larry Ellison throws down the cloud gauntlet

Chris Kanaracus | Sept. 29, 2014
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.

SAP's SuccessFactors and Cloud for Sales applications are already running on Hana and work is "well underway" to move SAP's Ariba software to the platform as well, a company spokeswoman said via email after Ellison's remarks. SAP has also said more than 1,500 startups are using Hana to build products.

Ellison also updated the OpenWorld crowd on Oracle's progress in SaaS.

"We have by far the largest portfolio of cloud applications than anybody," he claimed. "We built a lot more in 2014. We bought a lot more in 2014. We definitely had a build-and-buy strategy."

Slide after slide detailing hundreds of SaaS applications flashed on the large screen behind Ellison as he ticked through a laundry list of software categories Oracle has products for in the cloud.

In the past 12 months, Oracle picked up 2,181 total new SaaS customers, according to one slide. More than 1,000 of those bought customer experience applications, while another 959 invested in HCM (human capital management) and 263 in ERP (enterprise resource planning).

Oracle also added 725 customers for Fusion Applications, the homegrown suite it developed at great time and cost. The company is keen to show growth in Fusion continues even as it acquires SaaS vendors and releases new cloud applications.

"2014 is an inflection point for us," Ellison said of Oracle's cloud software. These suites are now all available."

Meanwhile, Oracle's IaaS will have "the same pricing as Amazon or any other IaaS provider," Ellison said. Oracle may have little choice here, given the steady downward pressure on pricing seen in the IaaS market of late.

Underpinning everything is a major emphasis on security at Oracle, according to Ellison. "Security is becoming job one."

Oracle's recently announced M7 chip includes software-on-silicon features aimed not only at performance but also advanced security.

"You've got hardwired protection in the silicon itself protecting against memory violations," which can thwart a malicious program's attack, Ellison said. "It saves you a fortune in finding really difficult bugs. This is a very big deal. it's the most important piece of engineering we've done in security in a very, very long time." The M7 is set for release next year.

More than 60,000 people are attending OpenWorld in person and seven million online viewers are expected to view presentations from the show online, according to Oracle.


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