Once again, in either complete self-unawareness or a calculated manipulation, Oracle comes out with a cynical statement. Ben Worthen reports that on the Oracle earnings call, Larry Ellison said the following:
The interesting thing about cloud computing is that we’ve redefined cloud computing to include everything that we already do. I can’t think of anything that isn’t cloud computing with all of these announcements. The computer industry is the only industry that is more fashion-driven than women’s fashion. Maybe I’m an idiot, but I have no idea what anyone is talking about. What is it? It’s complete gibberish. It’s insane. When is this idiocy going to stop?
We’ll make cloud computing announcements. I’m not going to fight this thing. But I don’t understand what we would do differently in the light of cloud computing other than change the wording of some of our ads. That’s my view.
Although, I agree that the term cloud computing has been hijacked by many vendors to become meaninless in some cases, that's missing the point of what Ellison is saying here. What he's saying, in no uncertain terms, is that other than using cloud computing in Oracle marketing, they are not going to change anything. You still think that makes sense?
To answer Larry's question, here are three things Oracle can do differently:
- Offer their middleware and database customers a pay-per-use pricing model on cloud environments such as EC2, Joyent, GoGrid and Flexiscale. Charge by the hour and only for cpu/hours actually used.
- Offer all of their application software on a SaaS/on-demand subscription basis
- Develop products that are suitable for virtualized highly-distributed environments, and therefore, or are not highly dependent on centralized components such as their database. [UPDATE: adding some more specifics based on additional research]] Specifically:
- Enable Oracle RAC on EC2
- Enable WebLogic clustering (!), despite the fact there is no multicasting on EC2
- Support Amazon AMIs (as opposed ot providing some AMIs with no support)
Oracle won't do this. Why?
As I and others have already pointed out several times, Oracle is the company of status quo. Things are very good for Oracle the way they are exactly now -- any change is unwelcome. They make money by having high-paid aggressive sales people shove big stacks of software down customers throat, forcing them to buy this software with up-front, fully paid-up prepetual licenses. They then continue to make profit from these customers by selling them annual maintenance fees, most of which customers don't need or use, as Safra Catz herself admits.
Oracle does not share in any way in the customer's risk. If the customers ends up canceling the project. Too bad. It's now shelfware. If the customers ends up not needing to scale up as much, too bad. If the customer hits bad times or any other reason where the software is no longer needed -- too bad. Oracle has already pocketed its profit and it's off to sucker in the next guy.
So take Larry at his word when he says Oracle is not going to change anything but marketing.