Larry Ellison: 'Amazon's lead is over'

Oracle's CTO sets his sights on topping the giant in cloud infrastructure as Oracle releases its second generation IaaS data centers.
Written by Stephanie Condon, Senior Writer

Larry Ellison, shown here in 2015, delivered the first keynote address for Oracle OpenWorld 2016 on September 18.

Oracle CTO Larry Ellison fired a shot across Amazon's bow Sunday evening, declaring that with the release of Oracle's second generation IaaS data centers, "Amazon's lead is over."

"I have a lot of respect for them," Ellison said during his keynote address at Oracle OpenWorld in San Francisco. However, he said, "Amazon's going to have serious competition going forward."

Ellison has made no secret of his ambition to offer Oracle customers a complete suite of cloud offerings that includes Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), as well as Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), and on Sunday he offered a closer look at the second generation IaaS data centers.

They offer twice as many cores as Amazon Web Services (AWS), he said, and twice as much memory, four times the storage and 10 times the input-output capacity.

"But you have to be willing to pay less," Ellison said.

The data centers, he continued, are designed in "availability domains" in different regions, in order to get the data close to users and ensure that catastrophic outages are avoided. The domains are interconnected with a fiber optic ring, with data duplicated in all of them. "There's no single point of failure," Ellison said. "If we lose a data center, you won't even know about it."

The domains will be located around the world and will be interconnected themselves. Ellison said the data centers rely on shards of data from around the world for better performance.

Ellison's ambitions for Oracle's IaaS business are certainly bold: AWS is three times the size of its nearest competitor, Synergy Research Group reported last month. AWS also dominates Gartner's Magic Quadrant for cloud infrastructure services, while Oracle didn't even have enough market share for Gartner to include it.

Meanwhile, Oracle's IaaS business is growing so far but not nearly at the rate of its SaaS and PaaS business. SaaS and PaaS revenue was up 82 percent in the first quarter compared to a year ago (in constant currency), totaling $815 million. IaaS, by comparison, grew 10 percent to $171 million.

Ellison noted that Oracle is selling more PaaS and SaaS than any other company in the world.

He also rolled out a new product on Sunday evening called Cloud@Customer, which he sold as an extension of the public cloud -- a subscription-based service with no investments in hardware or software needed -- that's on-premise.

"We have come out with a new set of machines that are identical to what we use in our cloud," he explained. "We can install the identical software and hardware... into your data center, behind your firewall attached to your high-speed area network."

Ellison added, "This is very different than what, say, Amazon offers, which is just public cloud."

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