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Oracle's Ellison: Amazon & SAP Use Our Database Because We're Better

Mitch Wagner

SAN FRANCISCO -- Oracle OpenWorld 2017 -- Larry Ellison doesn't miss an opportunity to slag the competition. He spent much of his one-hour-plus keynote Sunday night criticizing Amazon Web Services, along with a few moments to tear a new hole in SAP.

Oracle Corp. (Nasdaq: ORCL)'s services are just plain better than Amazon Web Services Inc. 's, the Oracle chairman, chief technology officer, and co-founder said. Even though Amazon is a competitor, Amazon is also one of Oracle's biggest customers, spending $60 million last year, Ellison said. And Amazon's Oracle spending increases annually, he added.

"They are one of the biggest Oracle users on Planet Earth," Ellison said.

Other competitors use Oracle too, Ellison said. SAP AG (NYSE/Frankfurt: SAP) uses Oracle for its SuccessFactors human resources software-as-a-service (SaaS). SAP bought Success Factors in 2011, but Ellison said SAP is still running SuccessFactors on Oracle. SAP runs three SaaS cloud services and they all run on Oracle, he added.

Neither Amazon nor SAP could be reached for comment Sunday night.

For Amazon, at least, the competition with Oracle is one-sided. As of the second quarter of 2017, AWS controls 34% of the infrastructure and platform cloud markets, as well as hosted private cloud, according to Synergy Research. Second-place Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) has about 11% and Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) has 5%. The next ten players combined, which include Oracle, account for less than 20% of the market, and lost 1% market share over the preceding four quarters. (See AWS, Despite Slowdown, Reigns Over Cloud Market – Report.)

Best Seats in the House
Oracle OpenWorld attendees are rapt as Larry Ellison delivers Sunday's keynote.
Oracle OpenWorld attendees are rapt as Larry Ellison delivers Sunday's keynote.

In addition to throwing shade on the competition, Ellison provided further information about Oracle's upcoming Oracle Autonomous Database Cloud -- with comparison to Amazon Redshift -- due to ship in December for data warehousing applications, followed by online transaction processing in June, as well as an Express entry-level and NoSQL, or nonrelational, version, also next year. (See Oracle's Ellison: We'll Beat Amazon Cloud Pricing by Half and Upcoming Oracle DB Hits All Buzzwords.)

Oracle guarantees 99.995% uptime for its Autonomous Database Cloud, which translates to a half-hour downtime per year. Amazon has exceptions to its uptime guarantees, Ellison said: For adding compute and storage capacity, Amazon planned maintenance, database upgrades and patching, regional outage, software bugs, and more. That renders Amazon's guarantees nearly meaningless, Ellison said.

Ellison demonstrated what he claimed were several tests of Oracle's software running on Oracle's own cloud, versus Oracle on AWS, versus Redshift on AWS.

The result, says Ellison: "Amazon Redshift costs between nine and 15 times more to run the same exact database and the same exact queries."

Ellison spent the early part of his keynote touting automated security and administration in Autonomous Database Cloud. He namechecked the Equifax leak, which, he noted has been blamed on Equifax's failure to patch its software.

"The biggest threat by far in cybersecurity is data theft," Ellison said. "And preventing data theft is all about securing your data."

Automation will be key to securing data, he said.

Autonomous Database Cloud uses machine learning to detect attackers attempting to infiltrate the database, Ellison said.

And the service will patch itself without going down -- no need to find a time to take the database down for routine maintenance, during which time attackers can break in to the unpatched system; the software can instead patch itself in real time, Ellison said. "No delay, no human intervention," he said.

"If you eliminate human labor, you eliminate human error," Ellison said.

The Autonomous Database Cloud's automation extends to elasticity -- it scales up and down hardware resources as needed, in real time, saving enterprises the need to buy extra capacity to cover demand surges.

The automation drives down cost, Ellison said. He repeated and elaborated on a guarantee he made two weeks ago. "Our bill will be less than half of what Amazon will charge you. You can move a workload from Redshift to an Oracle database; we will guarantee in writing contractually, before looking at the workload, that your bill will be one half or less of what Amazon charges you. We will write that in your contract."

Ellison's presentation style is unique. He's a charismatic speaker, quick to ad lib -- or appear to ad lib. His slides are plain and unadorned text and simple charts. Unlike other top industry executives, he doesn't do light shows. He just takes the stage and talks.

As is often the case with Ellison's presentations, he had difficulty finding the right slides a couple of times. But he made that difficulty work for the theme of automation.

As the wrong slide displayed, Ellison broke from the normal sequence to hold up his clicker, which, he said, did not actually advance the slides itself.

"All my button does is notify a human being," he said. "It's not real automation. It's fake automation. If it was real automation, this wouldn't happen."

— Mitch Wagner Follow me on Twitter Visit my LinkedIn profile Visit my blog Follow me on Facebook Editor, Enterprise Cloud News

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