​Amazon's consumer business moves from Oracle to AWS, but Larry Ellison won't stop talking

AWS CEO Andy Jassy tweets that Amazon's consumer business has mostly ditched Oracle. Rest assured that won't stop Oracle CTO Larry Ellison from obsessing a smidge about AWS.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

Amazon Web Services CEO Andy Jassy said that Amazon's consumer business has almost completely dumped its Oracle databases in a move aimed at taking Oracle CTO Larry Ellison's main punch lines away.

It's doubtful Ellison will stop talking. In a tweet, Jassy said:

In latest episode of "uh huh, keep talkin' Larry," Amazon's Consumer business turned off its Oracle data warehouse Nov 1 and moved to Redshift. By end of 2018, they'll have 88% of their Oracle DBs (and 97% of critical system DBs) moved to Aurora and DynamoDB. #DBFreedom

Now for software-as-a-service and cloud providers using Oracle databases, Amazon's move may be a key milestone. After all, Salesforce co-CEO Marc Benioff would love to leave Oracle databases too, but has to maintain this odd bromance with Ellison just to keep costs down a smidge. AWS and Salesforce have also partnered. And SAP's cloud efforts largely ride on Oracle databases too.

The comical part is that it shouldn't be all that embarrassing to run your company on Oracle databases. Meanwhile, Oracle's autonomous databases and 2nd generation cloud sound promising. The problem is Ellison just can't help but yap about how the biggest cloud providers run on Oracle. Ellison's frequent quotations about how rivals are running on Oracle blends sales pitch and taunting. The problem with repeated taunting is that eventually you get punched in the head--even by big customers.

Also: Oracle's next chapter: The Autonomous Database and the DBA

Jassy's tweet is a pretty strong jab--not that Ellison is going to shut up. I doubt Ellison could stay quiet if he wanted to. That's fine too. I like those nearly extinct tech chieftains who don't adhere to the PR/compliance/legal script and provide entertaining quotes.

Here's Ellison at the Oct. 25 Oracle investor powwow at OpenWorld.

So this is another claim I'm going to make, Aurora, not built by Amazon, built by us, called MySQL. Amazon just gave it a new name. It's also true of Redshift. Amazon didn't build Redshift, that's not what they do. These are -- they just open-sourced pieces where they built -- that they used to build their cloud. They did a great job. They did a great job of making those pieces available in a coherent -- deliver them in a coherent cloud. I give them a lot of credit. But they don't build databases. Amazon still runs all of their -- all of Amazon on Oracle Database. They are trying, they promised because they don't like me reminding them of that publicly. They said they're trying to get off Oracle by 2020.

Well, that's very interesting because SAP has been trying to get off of Oracle for 10 years. And SAP has its own database called HANA. But SAP still runs SuccessFactors on Oracle. They still run Concur on Oracle. They still run AREVA, and they've had AREVA for more than a decade. They run AREVA on Oracle. The EU did a study of how many SAP customers in Europe, big customers in Europe used Oracle, and they looked at their 100 top customers. We didn't get all 100. We only got 99. It turns out that Nestle uses IBM Db2. SAP has been trying to get off Oracle for a very long time. It's not easy. Amazon just moved a bunch of their warehouses to Aurora and shut them down cold. And you can read the Amazon documents. I'd love to -- we can send you copies of the Amazon documents. Aurora is our other database. It's our low-end database. It's our database. It's not theirs. Well, it's open source. Anyone can use it for nothing.

Ellison may be just a bit obsessive about AWS and the impact on its database business. Ellison gave analysts a 54 slide presentation about autonomous databases and mentioned AWS or Amazon 22 percent of the time. See these two slides for the kickers.


And here's a look at Ellison's chatter from Sept. 17 on Oracle's first quarter earnings conference call.

In the IaaS or infrastructure layer of the cloud, we have the world's most popular and technically most advanced database, the Oracle Autonomous Database. The Oracle Database is so much better than other databases. Even our biggest competitors use it to run their businesses. Salesforce.com uses Oracle to run their sales automation cloud. SAP uses the Oracle Database to run their cloud services and nearly all their on-premise customers. Even Amazon uses the Oracle Database to run most of their business.

Now that the Oracle Autonomous Database is running in our second-generation bare metal cloud infrastructure, customers can both lower their labor costs and cut their Amazon bill in half by running the Oracle Database on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure. The Oracle Autonomous Database automatically patches itself while running to prevent data theft. No other database can do that. We think these are compelling advantages, with the Amazon infrastructure business. We think these compelling advantages will allow us to compete very effectively against Amazon in the infrastructure business. Today, we may be behind Amazon in infrastructure market share, but we are way ahead of Amazon in cloud infrastructure technology.

Note that Ellison said he admires Amazon. But. He. Just. Can't. Stop. Talking. About. Amazon.

Also: Top cloud providers 2018: How AWS, Microsoft, Google, IBM, Oracle, Alibaba stack up | Everything you need to know about the cloud, explained

More from Ellison.

The Oracle Database is much cheaper than the Amazon database is because Amazon charges per minute. We charge per minute. If we can do more in 1 minute -- twice as much in 1 minute than they can, we're half the price. So we think while people will go to the Amazon Cloud and buy whatever is there as part of the Amazon infrastructure, anyone who's actually shopping for the best database in terms of reliability, in terms of ease of use, in terms of lowest cost, they're all going to pick Oracle.

TechPro Research: Everything as a Service: Why companies are making the switch to SaaS, IaaS, PaaS, and more | Vendor comparison: Microsoft Azure, Amazon AWS, and Google Cloud

We could go on since Ellison has something to say about AWS nearly every quarter just like his other two favorite subjects--SAP and Workday--but why bother. The proof points will be how AWS uses its own parent as a migration case study for other big customers to move off Oracle. Perhaps these migrations will be about money, but much of the motivation will be the futile attempts to muzzle Ellison. Good luck with that one.

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