​Oracle squares up against AWS, but can it win Cloud war?

​Oracle squares up against AWS, but can it win Cloud war?

Cloud dominance remains corporate focus, with Larry Ellison’s sights set on $US10 billion record.

Larry Ellison - Executive Chairman, Oracle

Larry Ellison - Executive Chairman, Oracle

Larry Ellison packs a big personality - a tech titan who is brash, loud and unashamedly proud.

Refusing to be bound by the conventional ways of the tech world, the Oracle founder answers to no-one, not even his investors.

Having already convinced himself that the Cloud war with is won, the charismatic leader has now turned his attention to Amazon Web Services, a clear market leader across the world.

“We handle the Oracle database much better than Amazon does," said Ellison, during the company’s recent fourth-quarter earnings call. “They run Oracle databases, but we do a much better job. We run it faster, more reliably, more securely."

For the man once described by Wired as a “Brilliant Bastard” is one again squaring up to the industry, as the software vendor realigns its business to focus on Cloud.

But despite a five percent rise in its Cloud infrastructure business, to $US169 million, Oracle’s market share pales in comparison to the $US2.57 billion Amazon reported in AWS revenue during the latest quarter.

Supported by its newly implemented Accelerated Buying Experience Cloud sales strategy however, which eases and expedites the quote-to-book process for customers purchasing Oracle Cloud solutions, Oracle grew Cloud SaaS and PaaS revenue more than 18 percent sequentially and almost 66 percent year-to-year to $US690 million in the final quarter of the company’s FY16.

Simultaneously, declines in new software licenses, hardware systems products and support, and professional services continued amid Oracle’s shifted focus.

“Oracle looks to continue reforming itself as a leading Cloud vendor in FY17, particularly maintaining a focus on adoption growth across continually expending Cloud portfolios and improved profitability with improved efficiencies and economies of scale,” Technology Business Research Analyst, Meaghan McGrath, said.

“While not the focus of growth efforts, Oracle’s hardware and legacy software capabilities remain key factors in its ability to innovate and differentiate itself in the competitive Cloud market and be the first company to reach $US10 billion in annual Cloud SaaS and PaaS revenue.”

In its companywide shift to becoming a leading Cloud vendor, McGrath said Oracle has aligned its hardware assets and capabilities to further support customers’ transitions.

“Early in the quarter, Oracle unveiled the Oracle Cloud at Customer family of offerings, the most marketed of which was the Oracle Cloud Machine,” McGrath explained.

“Similar to previously release engineered systems, these units utilise Oracle’s breadth of capabilities across hardware, software and managed services to deliver pre-integrated units, but the Oracle Cloud Machine brings PaaS and IaaS identical to those available in Oracle’s public Cloud portfolio into customers’ datacentres at the same subscription or metered price point as Oracle Public Cloud.”

McGrath said customers are able to access the benefits of public Cloud, including the scalability, performance, agility and subscription pricing, while keeping data within their corporate datacentre and firewall.

Comprised of flexible hardware configurations and the exact same software as Oracle-hosted Cloud solutions, McGrath said the Cloud on-premises solution is “fully compatible” with the “truly public Cloud solutions”, and workloads can be moved “seamlessly”.

“The value of the Oracle Cloud at Customer offerings comes in the subscription billing that removes the need for capital expenditures and diverts the delivery, installation and maintenance tasks to Oracle as well as the identical pre-configuration that ensures developers will be able to shift applications and workloads from public Cloud to their Cloud on-premises without alterations,” McGrath explained.

As Ellison chases market supremacy, McGrath said Oracle Cloud at Customer will most appeal to organisations in highly regulated industries or geographies that face data residency barriers to public Cloud adoption but wish to reap the benefits of a public Cloud subscription.

In short, these organisations will support Oracle’s emergence as a leader in underserved regions or segments with restrictive regulations.

Further building on its transition to a Cloud vendor, Oracle has also broken its predominantly line-of-business-driven Cloud strategy.

After a more than 18-month hiatus that saw acquisition dollars fund middleware- and data and marketing Cloud-focused portfolio additions, Oracle refocused $US1.2 billion on its industry solutions strengths with the acquisitions of Textura and Opower in April and May, respectively.

“Textura extends Oracle’s Primavera portfolio, which, like much of the Oracle portfolio, has been re-architected for Cloud consumption in the last year, with specific expertise in construction and engineering,” McGrath said.

Going forward, former Senior Vice President and General Manager of Primavera Global Business Unit Mike Sicilia will head the new Oracle Engineering and Construction Global Business Unit with a goal to drive adoption of the vertically oriented project management solutions.

“Opower extends Oracle Utilities Cloud Solutions and Oracle’s 2012 DataRaker acquisition with end-customer data ingestion and analytics that fuel improvements in customer satisfaction, compliance and operational efficiencies,” McGrath added.

But despite the market movements from the tech giant, analysts on the whole remain unconvinced that Ellison and his team can launch a victorious all-out Cloud assault.

AWS aside however, is Ellison also aware of Microsoft, Google, IBM et al?

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