Oracle's Larry Ellison throws punches at AWS

SAP, Salesforce, and Workday know what it's like when Oracle CTO Larry Ellison rants. Now AWS does too.
Written by Stephanie Condon, Senior Writer

Oracle CTO Larry Ellison takes on AWS in his keynote address at Oracle OpenWorld on Sept. 20, 2016. (Image: Oracle)

Oracle CTO Larry Ellison took on his biggest cloud competitor, Amazon Web Services (AWS), in a head-to-head showdown on the Oracle OpenWorld stage on Tuesday, in perhaps one of his most aggressive keynote addresses ever.

Point by point, Ellison went through a series of slides demonstrating how Oracle beats Amazon: its Database-as-a-Service (DBaaS) is faster for analytics, faster for online transaction processing (OLTP), and literally thousands of times faster for mixed workloads than Amazon DBaaS, he claimed. Furthermore, he showed the results of tests run to prove that the Oracle Cloud is optimized for running Oracle Database, while AWS is not.

On top of that, he noted that Oracle, unlike Amazon, is open source.

Amazon did not immediately return a request for a response to Ellison's presentation.


"AWS is more closed than an IBM mainframe," said Ellison, explaining that back in the day of IBM mainframes, some companies like Fujitsu made IBM clones that could run IBM workloads. By comparison, a product like Redshift, Amazon's analytic database, only runs on Amazon.

"Once you move in to AWS, you cannot move out," he said. "If they raise prices, get out your checkbook."


It's unclear just how much AWS and open source options are eating into Oracle's database profits, but at least one analyst told ZDNet that Database 12c Release 2 could add 8 percent to 9 percent of growth to Oracle's annual revenue.

Ellison first went through benchmarks demonstrating Oracle database optimization. The Oracle Database is up to 24 times faster for analytics on the Oracle Cloud Platform than on AWS, he said.

"What you do in one hour of Oracle you do in 24 hours" of AWS, Ellison said.

It is up to eight times faster for online transaction processing (OLTP) on the Oracle Cloud Platform than on AWS -- "as good as Amazon ever gets," Ellison said. The CTO also called out AWS for its limited storage performance, noting that AWS cannot scale out Oracle across nodes.

Meanwhile, the Oracle Cloud Database is more than 100 times faster for analytics than Redshift -- while using half as many CPUs, Ellison contended. It's also up to 35 times faster for OLTP than Amazon Aurora. Additionally, running OLTP on Redshift is "not 1,000 times slower than Oracle, it's thousands of," Ellison said. "You cannot use Redshift for OLTP, period. It's analytics only and not very good at that."

He added that Redshift and Aurora are missing "just a few" features, while standing in front of slides that read, "Why is Amazon Redshift So Slow?" and "Why is Amazon Aurora So Slow?"


Ellison also announced the launch of the new Oracle Exadata Express Cloud Service, providing the full enterprise edition of the Oracle Database running on the database-optimized Exadata infrastructure. It starts at $175 per month.

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