Oracle's SaaS strategy may reflect upcoming complications

Oracle's SaaS lineup could be construed as convoluted, but so is the enterprise. The cloud ball could bounce Oracle's way.

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison talked about the company's cloud strategy and drew the line between its approach with multitenancy and upgrades as well as its platform approach vs. rivals such as

You can ding Oracle for being later to the cloud party---or at least creating a coherent message around it. However, Oracle's pitch---a little of cloud this, a bit of on-premise that and a bunch of applications all over---but its menu of stuff reflects that this software as a service movement may not simplify everything.

Also:  Don't believe the hype - why Oracle has no interest in taking on Amazon

In many respects, Ellison's keynotes---along with president Mark Hurd---emphasized choice of services and deployment choices. On the surface, Oracle's strategy revolves around selling the red stack---apps, databases and hardware. But the approach also reflects that SaaS isn't as pain free as portrayed.

We'll let Rimini Street CEO Seth Ravin tell it :

"We take releases and they cause problems. The pitch is that SaaS upgrades are seamless, but they aren't."

Ellison's message: Customers should be able to pick their upgrade time. Ellison pointed that plan out as he touted Oracle's arsenal of SaaS applications.


Oracle's product line-up could be viewed as messy---even a hodge podge---but so is the enterprise. The reality is that systems integrators are growing SaaS practices at a rapid clip. If SaaS were really the cure-all you wouldn't need integrators.

In other words, it's still early in the SaaS game and it's unclear how it will ultimately scale. If SaaS doesn't scale well across large enterprise stacks, the cloud ball may just bounce Oracle's way.

More coverage from Oracle OpenWorld 2012 on ZDNet: