THE SKEPTICAL ENQUIRER – Pride bordering on arrogation is a typical trait of successful enterprise tech companies – it’s definitely been the case with Oracle Corp. Many times it’s met the challenge of a changing computing paradigm with brio, taking its lead from irascible founder Larry Ellison, but the sum substance of its claims would be argued.
I may be a tea leaf reader here, but I see a subtle shift in Ellison’s irascibility in the minutes of last week’s Oracle Cloud World 2022 event.
Ellison’s lively quotes have long been a reporter’s friend. But it’s hard to relay his cloud computing pitches without adding footnotes. The consensus big cloud players are AWS, Google and Microsoft – while enterprise incumbents like Oracle, Teradata, and IBM are cited as tertiary at best.
Overall, Oracle’s financial growth has been modest in the last decade, while its cloud claims have been bold. It is by no means alone in the creative work it has done to define cloud, which is a promise of future growth, on its accounting ledger.
But, in terms of pitching everyday database automation advances of Oracle Autonomous Database [It’s enterprise blocking and tackling, right?] as the one-true self-driving database for the cloud of the future – well, Oracle has no equal there.
Its latest tactic is to boost its acquisition of health system giant Cerner as a great opportunity to rapidly modernize Cerner’s systems, move them to the Oracle Cloud, and count them as such on the financial report.
As I said, the company still experiences gradual overall gains, so I may be talking style rather than substance when I say they missed some big new tech boats, although they revisit these product line gaps from time to time. I’m talking about databases, development tools and persistence stratagems that all called for less spend and new thinking:
- Oracle missed opportunities to expand its MySQL brand at a time when competitive PostgreSQL database versions were becoming go-to players in AWS and Microsoft stables for open-source distributed SQL. In September, the company came out with a bigger/better MySQL known as MySQL the Heatwave Database Service.
- In fact, Oracle played down, ignored or glossed over inexpensive clustered open-source databases – both SQL and NoSQL — despite having the original Berkeley NoSQL stalwart in its hand.
- JSON-oriented document database development led by MongoDB is a particular thorn. Oracle, like others, found ways to bring JSON to its RDBMS, but Mongo is still on the up stroke. Oracle last week addressed what it called a mismatch between JSON and the Oracle SQL database in the form of “JSON Relational Duality” – a new developer view supported in Oracle Database 23c.
- Also, Oracle was slow to support cloud-friendly S3-style object storage. Not surprising in that the great goal is to place data into an Oracle database. But maybe it doesn’t have to be Oracle Autonomous Database. Last week, Oracle described MySQL Heatwave Lakehouse which may be a step in a broader direction of support.
This latter trait, object storage, seems to be getting a bit more of Oracle’s attention, as Snowflake Inc. rises on the back of its 3-in-1 distributed cloud data warehouse, data lake and data lake house. At Oracle’s yearly confab, Snowflake seemed to have garnered leader Ellison’s grudging admiration.
No small feat, that!
It’s a little hard to directly discern Ellison-speak-on-the-page. But his presentation moves salesfolks – and customers too. This recalls Curt Monash once calling him “one of the great public speakers and showmen of the era.”
What did Ellison tell the conference crowd? Well, besides a lot about how Oracle technology helped deliver Covid-19 vaccines, he spoke about the cloud market. People are moving from single-cloud to multi-cloud architectures, Ellison told the crowd at Oracle Cloud World 2022.
“The fact that this is happening is changing the behavior of technology providers…So the first thing that happened as people use multiple clouds is that service providers started deploying new services in multiple clouds, maybe most famously its Snowflake,” he said. Then, in a nod to the new highflier, he added, “And Oracle got the memo.”
“You know, we noticed, and we actually thought that was a good idea,” he said.
Of course, evolution to multi-cloud is a chance for Oracle to take another at bat in the cloud game. The bad news, as in the past, is that so much of the company’s effort is toward moving everything into the Oracle database. That is why any shifts to emphasize MySQL Heatwave would be notable.
Jack Vaughan is a writer and high-tech industry observer.
My Back Pages
Data Lake Houses Join Data Lake in Big Data Analytics Race – IoT World Today – 2021
Purveyors of data lake houses and cloud data warehouses are many, and opinions on qualifications vary.
Oracle Cloud IaaS security gets superhero status from Ellison – TechTarget – 2018 [mp3 – Podcast]
Updated Oracle Gen 2 Cloud aims to challenge cloud leaders – TechTarget – 2018
The central product for Oracle is the database, and all the related tools that support the continued dependence of customers on the database.
On top of the RDB mountain – ADTmag 2001
Never lose the database sale: It’s tattooed on their foreheads.