Sunday, September 19, 2010

Oracle Open World 2010: First Night Vibe

I'm here again at this year's Oracle Open World conference in San Francisco. The conference opened for me with my participation on a panel discussion for Oracle customers, but outside of Oracle's control, moderated by Ray Wang of the Altimeter Group. Lots of dialog there that I need to process.

I'm now listening to opening presentations, in the comfort of the blogger/press room, awaiting the much anticipated keynote by Oracle CEO Larry Ellision.

In the meantime, here's a quick Youtube video of sights and sounds around and in the Moscone center, leading up to the first night's keynote.

Update, 7:00 p.m.--Oracle's View of Cloud Computing
We're now into Ellison's keynote, which is heavily focused on cloud computing and moved quickly to covering the latest developments in Oracle/Sun hardware. At the beginning of his talk, Ellison first developed two definitions of cloud computing:
  1. Virtualized cloud computing infrastructure services, as offered by's Elastic Cloud Computing services, and
  2. Software applications that are offered as a service over the Internet, as typified by
Ellison says that Oracle's definition of cloud computing matches Amazon's definition, not's. By then quickly moving to an overview of Oracle/Sun hardware, his purpose is clear: Oracle wants to be a providers of infrastructure hardware and software to cloud computing providers--both public clouds and private clouds (similar virtualized data center services run by large organizations for their internal purposes).

By implication, then, Oracle does not intend to broadly offer software-as-a-service, as does. Ironically, Oracle does have some SaaS offerings today, such as its CRM On-Demand, which it inherited from Siebel. But as we all know, such offerings do not carry the high margins of Oracle's on-premise software applications, or the margins it thinks it can get by selling high-end database appliance boxes (i.e. Exadata). In my view, then, Oracle would rather sell the infrastructure (hardware, database, middleware) than the service (SaaS applications delivered over that infrastructure).

There's something to be said about having a clear strategy and executing consistent with it. However, I have to wonder--if SaaS becomes the norm for delivering application functionality in the future, will the hardware/database/middleware market really grow to match Oracle's expectations?

Update, 8:00 p.m: Fusion Apps on the way.
Ellison devoted the last part of his keynote to talk about Oracle's much-awaiting Fusion Applications, which he said would be released to some customers late this year, with general availability in the first quarter of 2011. I won't go into the details at this time. I see now that there's a new section on Oracle's website, with much new detail on what's in Fusion Apps.

Postscript: Oracle Apps User Survey. Our 10-minute Oracle Apps User Survey is still open for responses. If you're a customer of any of Oracle's Application products, take the survey here.

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