It’s been said Oracle leader Larry Ellison advises his troops to focus on one competitor at a time, and in recent years that has been Amazon. What started out as an online book store eventually morphed into a general mega-store, and then, surprisingly, a mega-IT-outsourcer. In many ways it created the cloud computing formula.
Like other leading lights of enterprise computing, Oracle is in the midst of efforts to shift focus from customers’ on-premises data centers to its own cloud computing centers, and to keep those customers in the Oracle camp. Oracle’s counter thrusts to Amazon are one of the defining aspects of technology today. But it is a balancing act.
The Collaborate 2018 conference at Mandalay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas would seem an apt place to take measure of Oracle’s progress toward cloud. Recorded as the event began, this remote edition of the Talking Data podcast sorts through challenges the Redwood City Calif. -based IT giant faces on the road to cloud.
Underlying its cloud efforts are moves in both databases and applications. Those are key columns of Collaborate, which brings together IOUG Oracle database users, OAUG Oracle eBusiness applications users and Quest JD Edwards/PeopleSoft applications users.
Steady cloud movement, but less than a startling shift, seemed to be the basic cloud status takeaway from the event.
These databases and applications suites are well entrenched in organizations, usually in very large enterprises. Moving these into cloud is a multiyear project in most cases. While complex enterprise applications stay home, new applications are driving to the cloud.
A state of steady cloud movement — but less than a startling shift — seemed to be borne out at Collaborate 2018.
At the event, we asked: “How is the Oracle database and applications cloud migration going?”
“We are not seeing enough large scale movement to really tell . It’s really just one-off stuff,” Stephen Kost, CTO at Integrigy, a security software and services provider, told this reporter at the conference. “People are moving to small web applications.”
In Kost’s view, much of Oracle’s strength is in large companies that may have 1,000 databases – but he has seen, in many cases, only a handful of those have yet to be moved to the cloud.
Up the Las Vegas strip from Collaborate this same week, perhaps not so coincidentally, another Oracle-related conference took place. NetSuite SuiteWorld 2018 was built around the cloud ERP offerings that became part of the Oracle portfolio via acquisition in 2016. As at Collaborate, much of the discussion was around embedding AI into applications.
Oracle’s purchase of NetSuite was a tacit admission that “cloud is different” and that it needed a wholly separate product line to attract small- and medium-size business customers to its applications.
It was also an admission that it saw cloud migration as a multi-year effort that needed to be addressed from several directions. In a phone call after Suite World, Holger Mueller, Constellation Research, told us Oracle has avoided the temptation to roll NetSuite together with its incumbent applications suites. At the same time, he said, it has been expanding NetSuite globally, and injecting elements of its AI and machine learning research and development.
That is also what Oracle has begun to do with the e-Business Suite, JD Edwards, and PeopleSoft portfolio. Still, for now, Oracle’s cloud application migration might be described as a delicate balancing act within a delicate balancing act.- Jack Vaughan
Click here to see a video version of this podcast.