Right upfront – this post is just a personal view and has nothing to do with my employer’s opinion . I am just typing this up on my phone while watching my daughter hitting tennis balls with her friends .
Oracle CEO said he was going to reshape cloud computing last week during their earnings call . That was a pretty big claim , and naturally I was interested in what he had to say this week . I have great respect for the guy – despite missing a few very critical turns (cloud, in-memory computing etc) recently, he has done admirably well for himself and the companies he founded and invested in . Plus it is always fun to speculate if there will be any attempt to revise history 🙂
Larry never loses an opportunity to snipe at his competitors – often in what looks like pretty silly ways to me. In recent years , he has made fun of the leaders of SFDC, SAP, IBM etc . And almost in all cases , it is interpreted by external world as an endorsement of what the competition is doing. Enterprise Software is a funny world to be in 🙂
So the first positive I saw in this week’s announcement is that with this partnership – there is a decent chance that Larry will reduce sniping at SFDC and MS a little .
Oracle is a big fan of engineered systems – controlling all (or most) layers of the “stack”. The partnership with MS to put Oracle DB on Azure and get MS to license java looks like a change in strategy (or is it philosophy?) to me . Looks like Oracle is slowly recognizing the importance of working with an ecosystem . My feeling is that MS gained more than Oracle in this deal – with java giving additional flexibility to developers who so far could only play with .Net . On the flip side, MS might be indirectly be admitting that SQL server can’t quite match Oracle in DB . Or maybe MS is taking a view that it is a good thing to give more DB choices to customers .
What also caught my eye was that Oracle is exposing not just DB but also the old BEA app server via Azure. I had a smile on my face when I read this – since unlike SAP Hana which has an inbuilt App server ( XS Engine) , Oracle needs a separate app server to make use of its DB server in an application . This is not innovation – just repackaging. At least customers have the consolation of license mobility .
What about the SFDC partnership ? From what I heard so far – the deal is a good tactical sales opportunity for Oracle After their horrible quarter end. 9 years of recurring revenue is awesome for any company. Plus if SFDC – as rumored – was planning to ditch Oracle as their DB, this is a good “PR save” as well by getting their long term commitment . I can’t imagine SFDC changing their application level multi tenancy to a database level multi tenancy on an unproven 12C platform. Too much risk and disruption – but would be great to see if they do. Maybe new extensions on force.com or something might use 12C – and I will be keeping an eye out for that for technology curiosity sake.
Also interesting is the question whether this means Oracle treats SFDC CRM solutions as superior to products in their own catalog. Same is true for SFDC – would they stop working on HCM and take a view that Oracle is better at it ?
Is there a competitive angle to either announcement ? It can be argued in theory that Amazon, Workday, SAP etc need to take notice . In reality, I don’t see any short to medium term impact to any of these competitors .
Between the big $$ from SFDC and the chance to push exadata boxes to SFDC and maybe MS too – the deal probably makes good financial sense for Oracle . But from a tech perspective, I don’t think the world has changed much this week . But hey – if this means we see less public fights between Ellison and Benioff , that is still a good thing