Oracle has scheduled a webcast this Wednesday where their CEO, Larry Ellison, and President, Mark Hurd, are going to make some announcements regarding Oracle Cloud and platinum support services. There are widespread expectations that Oracle will talk about their PaaS offerings, especially their pricing strategy around Java Cloud Service and Database Cloud Service. PCWorld has an article speculating on the announcement expected on Wednesday.
Oracle already announced the availability of Fusion HCM (human capital management) and CRM (customer relationship management) via the Public Cloud, but so far the PaaS components have remained available only on a “preview availability” basis. It’s possible that Ellison and Hurd will declare those services are generally available.
After dissing cloud for a long time, Oracle has been steadily embracing the idea of cloud and those who observe Larry Ellison’s public comments can see how he is positioning the shift in the Oracle strategy. It is not entirely surprising because cloud computing has steadily matured and enterprises are embracing cloud in large numbers. Even PaaS, which lags behind IaaS and SaaS in enterprise adoption, is stirring interest among the enterprise customers and Oracle is smart enough to see the shifting trend. My research firm, Rishidot Research, is running an Enterprise PaaS conference in New York next week, called DeployCon 2012, where we plan to discuss ways to increase enterprise adoption of PaaS, Our informal survey of enterprise customers indicate that many organizations are seriously considering PaaS, both hosted and private flavors, as a critical part of their IT strategy in the next 2 years.
The key question about Oracle’s announcement is not about whether or not they will go ahead with a PaaS service but it is about whether they are going to announce a PaaS offering that fits the puritan description of PaaS or it is a cloud washed marketing strategy like IBM’s PaaS in a Box story. There are speculations that Oracle’s public PaaS offering (including their Database Cloud Service) will be based on Exadata and Exalogic appliances. Even though some people argue that public clouds should be built on top of commodity servers, my personal opinion on this debate is that it doesn’t matter. If cloud is about abstracting away the underlying hardware, I don’t care if it runs on commodity servers or mainframes. Clearly, public cloud services built on top of expensive hardware cannot compete with commodity servers based public clouds on the pricing front. IMO, it is for the market forces to decide and we cannot make it as a part of the cloud definition. If Oracle goes with big iron for their public cloud services and uses its sales and marketing muscle to push it down the throats of their customers, it is a fair game. Ultimately, in the long run, market forces will favor commodity clouds as enterprises move from legacy applications to modern applications. Till this shift happens completely, public cloud services based on big iron has a place in the competition.
All this is speculation right now and I can offer an informed opinion only after I see their announcement. However, I do hope that Oracle comes with a serious PaaS offering rather than a cloud washed one. They had a chance to come out with a Java PaaS immediately after Sun acquisition but they missed the boat. I hope they do it right this time around. In the mean time, if you are keen on understanding how enterprises can benefit from PaaS, attend DeployCon at New York on June 13th (in conjunction with Cloud Expo) and we offer regular readers of CloudAve free admission to the event. Please use this link to register.
Disclosure: IBM is a client and Oracle is not.