Oracle is acquiring NetSuite in a $9.3B all-cash purchase. After its very shaky start in cloud computing—Ellison famously stated that the computer industry and its approach to cloud computing are highly fashion driven—the purchase of NetSuite makes a statement. Oracle is now front and center where cloud is concerned, though it is true that it is playing catch-up with the likes of AWS, Google, and Azure, and possibly, with regard to this acquisition, Salesforce. However, unlike VMware, Oracle has not yet appeared to have made any serious missteps in its journey. Oracle’s only choices were to build—and build big and quickly—or to buy its entry point, although Oracle has been building out its cloud infrastructures with data centers in all the major regions of the world. It also recognized that it is very hard to play catch-up. So, unlike VMware, it decided that this was not to be its only route to market.
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One of the most litigious companies in the valley is Oracle. It is currently in the throes of planning an appeal against a judgement over its Java product.
It is well known that HP and Oracle do not play nice in the corporate playground. Larry Ellison famously stated in 2010 that it would be “virtually impossible” for the two companies to work together in the future. This occurred after HP sued its former CEO Mark Hurd for taking a position as Oracle’s co-president after having resigned, reportedly under pressure from the HP board.
One of the things we associate with existing IT infrastructure vendors is their determination to go it alone for a major portion of their businesses. Vendor each believe that their solution is the best. They feel that integrating with competing solutions is unnecessary. Oracle and Microsoft were the most well-known examples, happily attracting users with a locked-in architecture and using that dominance to stifle competition. VMware has also exhibited this trait. You may layer additional technologies on top of vSphere, but you cannot put another hypervisor under a VMware product. What we see in open source is a willingness to integrate with other solutions, even competing projects. We are seeing some signs of a change in VMware, but not the dramatic shift that Microsoft has made.
As we have stated before on The Virtualization Practice, Oracle has woken up to the cloud in a very large way. Acquisitions such as Ravello Systems, StackEngine, and Datalogix have the potential to turn this leviathan into a dominant cloud player.
Oracle has started to move from a position of catch-up, though acquisitions, into an active development phase. Recently, CEO Safra Catz met with India’s Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, to announce a series of investments and continued expansion into India. As one of these investments, Oracle opened an incubation center, the Oracle Startup Cloud Accelerator, on April 8 in Bengaluru. The center was inaugurated by President of Product Development Thomas Kurian. The company has already stated that several more centers will be launched later in Chennai, Gurgaon, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Noida, Pune, Trivandrum, and Vijayawada. Oracle’s Sanket Atal, group vice president of development, will lead the initiative.
I hear that vendors are bundling cloud services with their other software licensing deals, and I have some thoughts about why. Azure credits are being bundled into Microsoft software license deals. Oracle customers can buy cloud credits as a way of avoiding problems that stem from database software licensing true-ups. There are a couple of ways of looking at such practices. One is that these credits are a great way of getting customers hooked on your cloud. Oops, I meant to say a great way of helping customers learn the value of your cloud. The less positive perspective is that the largely unused credits inflate the cloud services’ revenue without customers actually using the cloud. Naturally, the reality is more complex. I suspect that these are the primary reasons for bundling cloud services into license deals.