back to article Hubris, thy name is Oracle: So, cloud is still totally for nerds, right?

If Larry Ellison earned a dollar for every cloud-hyped phrase he made, Oracle's market share in cloud infrastructure wouldn't be the miserly 0.3 per cent – by Gartner's calculations – that it is today. Big Red has spent years playing make-believe with cloud, trying to convince the world that it could simultaneously underinvest …

  1. AMBxx Silver badge
    Big Brother

    Just do what they always do

    They'll just buy a cloud company and gouge the existing customers.

    BB because ready for the 2 minute hate.

    1. WYSIWYG650

      Re: Just do what they always do

      That is the only cloud thing they have done well. They have purchased quite a few high value native cloud solution providers in the marketing automation and BI space and that is what is keeping their cloud numbers even measurable. This article covers a lot of ground and I cant agree enough with the hubris claim! I used to work there and still own a ton of stock, I want them to succeed but they still dont get it from what I can see.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Call me a cynic..

    The cloud "somebody elses server" model has grown in recent years I work for AWS's biggest customer, so have some insight).. but you'd think it ruled the world, given how el-reg spurts on about it. Yet, I'd wager the number of companies using colo or own data-center still outnumber cloud 10 to 1...

    On another note.. I'm starting a petition to rebrand all Cloud, PaaS, IaaS to just "SES"..

    Somebody Else's Software

    Somebody Else's Server

    Somebody Else's Security

    Somebody Else's Serverless-Stack

    Somebody Else's SH*T

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Call me a cynic..

      "Somebody Else's Server"

      Also Somebody Else's Profit. Did anyone else notice the line in the article about DropBox's IPO; the one where they said how much they saved by building their own DCs instead of using AWS?

      1. Tom Samplonius

        Re: Call me a cynic..

        "Also Somebody Else's Profit. Did anyone else notice the line in the article about DropBox's IPO; the one where they said how much they saved by building their own DCs instead of using AWS?"

        They didn't buy their own DCs. They are still renting a DC, but now using their own servers. Once your growth becomes predictable, and if you have a good ops team, you can move from cloud to your own servers in someone's DC. It would probably still count as "cloud" though.

    2. Notwork

      Re: Call me a cynic..

      It's cheaper to buy a server and keep it for 3 years but all the financial hit is taken in year 1. The cloud is PAYG so your end of year expenditure is less even though you now have to pay it every year. Looks much better in the shareholders financial report, that means higher share price and higher bonuses for the people at the top.

      1. AMBxx Silver badge

        Re: Call me a cynic..

        Nope, with double entry book keeping, the server you bought has a value on the balance sheet. Tax credit in year one too.

        Advantage of cloud is flexibility. If I opened an online shop, I'd want it to be on a cloud server just in case there was a sudden increase in sales. Cheaper than having spare hardware on standby.

        1. Milton

          Re: Call me a cynic..

          "Advantage of cloud is flexibility. If I opened an online shop, I'd want it to be on a cloud server just in case there was a sudden increase in sales."

          Absolutely true. It's also arguable, though, that that is just about the only clearly defined and unmistakable advantage that "cloud" (yes indeed, SES: Someone Else's Server) confers. Many of the other supposed benefits are either illusory, like cash savings, especially in the long term, or highly questionable, like security (which is great, until there's yet another of the monthly massive breaches).

          I'd suggest that if corporate due diligence really takes security, privacy and reliability into consideration—i.e. in the unlikely event that everything else does not come second to making sure the Board gets a bonus for short-term cost savings—"cloud" is in many respects a dubious proposition.

          For a startup wanting lots of quick metal-and-software scaleability, effectively purchasing some insurance against the dangers of massive success, "cloud" is truly useful ... but of course you need to time your departure carefully, lest you wake up one morning to find that your provider, whom you so foolishly trusted, became your competitor overnight and has eaten your wonderful idea; your superb processes; your customers; and You.

          As for Oracle. Once upon a time it had two things: a robust and reasonably decent database suitable for industrial-strength business data; and a huge number of corporate customers whose procurement types had discovered that buying Oracle never got you sacked, no matter how lousy the value for money. Oracle exploited these strengths by adding bells, whistles, frills and, heavens!, even furbelows, too many to number, usually playing catch-up whether in ERP, CRM or other TLAs—not once being the best, but always stitching on some badly-integrated, expensive, third-rate offering to squat like another carbuncle upon its ever more bloated database. After a while it became obvious that neither Oracle the database, nor Oracle the dizzily flashing Christmas tree of poorly-executed appendages, was Best of Breed any more. There was an abundance of competitors, a great many of whom were better or cheaper or even, and not infrequently, both. But for a while it didn't matter, because ...

          One thing Oracle could do, was sell. The hubris and arrogance of its saleslizards could capture many a boardroom and gullible executive, and, anyway, it still had its trump card: removing the parasite would, by this stage, likely kill the host. Even those who could see that their company would save eyewatering sums in the long run by ditching Oracle's by-now-third-rate disk fodder, hesitated to do so because they were daunted by the risk of surgery. (Remember: although integration has always been a corporate IT department's single most important role, it's also the thing that an industry infested by cowboys has been historically rotten at actually doing.)

          So Oracle has a long, slow decline ahead of it. It isn't going to magically invent something brilliant that cannot be done (and isn't already being done) by others, and it lacks the humility and flexibility to truly reinvent itself. It has parasitised many hosts and will last a long time leeching upon them, even as it circles inexorably closer to the drain, and probably long after Oracle the company has been sold, bought, re-sold and re-bought, broken up and parcelled out until all that's left, like the Cheshire Cat's smile, is a faded red logo that makes older folks' noses wrinkle.

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Call me a cynic..

              We'll know infrastructure teams are getting a clue on how to add business value when they move up the stack from the database to cloud management, security, and app SLA's.

              What? You sound like one of their sales weasels.

              The only thing obstacle is any good at is hawking their wares. Their products are just expensive excrement.

            2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

              Re: Call me a cynic..

              Companies pay top dollar for Oracle database not because it is uniquely performant, scalable, and reliable

              Just as well - because it ain't. It might have been twenty years ago when it was stealing market share from IBM but that's very much in the past.

              keep bashing Oracle while we keep running the most mission-critical enterprise

              Oh - we will. Especially those of us who have had the (dis)pleasure of having to use Orifice for real..

              (And the only reason that people don't migrate away is because of vendor lock-in, not some magical secret sauce that only Oracle has).

      2. nijam Silver badge

        Re: Call me a cynic..

        > The cloud is PAYG

        Company accountants have always loved PAYG, for a variety of reasons. Basically it means they can budget for stuff they don't understand.

        1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          Re: Call me a cynic..

          Company accountants have always loved PAYG

          In our place that's because PAYG comes out of the revenue budget and not the capital budget. In other news, our capital budget is now less than 1/10th of what it was three years ago..

      3. WYSIWYG650

        Re: Call me a cynic..

        If you are a large enterprise, I strongly disagree that the cloud will save you any money. In most cases it wont, what it will provide is agility that most in house IT cannot compete with. We are well past the notion of cloud saving you money, the real ROI is in acceleration and time to value.

    3. zappaclaret

      Re: Call me a cynic..

      Oi cynic!

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Matt Asay is Head of Developer Ecosystem at Adobe"

    Clearly a very biased article as Matt continues to try his best to attack Oracle. Maybe the last line should be at top of the article? "Matt Asay is Head of Developer Ecosystem at Adobe"

  4. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    "completely transforming the way all companies buy and use cloud [..]"

    When you have less than 10% of a market, you are not transforming anything, you are following.

    Seems like Ellison is the new Kodak.

  5. Porco Rosso


    So basically you can say that the cloud is already a de-facto monopoly ?

  6. artbristol

    Modern Data

    "Modern data looks a lot more like Amazon DynamoDB or Microsoft Azure CosmosDB than the neat ones and zeroes of relational databases of yesteryear. "

    Don't believe the hype. A well factored relational database will look after gigabytes of your data for years and years. Not everyone is running Netflix.

    1. Roq D. Kasba

      Re: Modern Data

      Yes, a good RDBMS will keep a tidy dataset tidy and healthy until it's dying breath (and many petabytes thereof - I remember MSSQL Server demonstrating an 8TB instance back in the 90's with satellite images of the world just as a demo project).

      Which is great if your data still fits the same shape you define a decade beforehand, but it never does, and so surgery is needed. Those modern key pair data buckets suit unstructured and messy data, which suits startups well as they add add remove features. Personally I find key pair data storage quite ugly and unruly, but it's the better bet for some projects.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Modern Data

      SQLite on my phone will look after gigabytes of data for years and years.

      Try to be more ambitious.

  7. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Oracle is clearly leading here in the critical segments

      Go on then - amaze us with the figures. Preferrably excluding the very narrowly-cherry-picked market segments where Oracle has a de-facto lead already because of existing licencees..

  8. Nate Amsden

    A better comparison

    Probably would be Oracle cloud vs IBM cloud, how do they stack up against each other ? I'd wager they have similar market shares ?

    Comparing features of Oracle Cloud to Amazon is probably more like comparing features of Oracle DB to MySQL.

    From what I've read the bulk of MS's cloud success is built on the back of Office 365(which they are touting again in another El Reg article), and they too are guilty of "forcing" companies to accept Office 365 subscriptions as a form of fixing license compliance issues. Have no doubt IBM is the same though I haven't really dealt with anything IBM related in the past 17 years(even then it was pretty trivial stuff).

    Conversely, what point is there to Oracle investing billions in building out data centers if they don't have the customers to put in those data centers? Only makes sense to build for what you need/expect, and in the meantime throw most of the money at the software side of things.

    I know a few folks that work in Oracle cloud though am not in close contact with them.

    I remember how terrible it was to be hosted in amazon's cloud years ago, such a relief to move out onto reliable infrastructure that we have much more control over. I'm sure IaaS public clouds work great for some folks, but not for me (even my personal email and websites are hosted on a vmware box at a co-location facility, have hosted my own email since about 1996).

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I remember when Oracle bought Sun, we were working on a cloud service but Larry disparaged the concept and killed off the project. Oddly, Amazon was in their much earlier cloud days.

    Oops. Oh well.

    Oracle Cloud is so insignificant, Oracle doesn't even rate a mention when journalists list cloud providers.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I'm surprised they're even at 0.3%. Did they cook the books?

    1. Roq D. Kasba

      Re: HUUUUGE

      Rounding error

    2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: HUUUUGE

      Did they cook the books?

      It's Oracle. Of course they did.

      After all, they do it when shafting their own sales teams so what do you think they do to everyone else?

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oracle needs to decide what its strategy is

    A thoughtful article. My two cents worth:

    1. Building a Data Centre can just mean contracting with Equinix or similar REIT. This is done by all vendors including AWS and Microsoft.

    2. Oracle needs to decide if it wants to target IaaS to complement customers who are installing high margin SaaS OR whether they genuinely want to battle for the IaaS market. Up to now they are sending mixed signals on their strategy.

    3. The Cloud market has a long way to go. Oracle and several others (including SAP) are very late to the party but that doesn't mean they have lost. The next 5 years will be interesting.

  12. StuntMisanthrope

    License Discount for Propaganda

    I wonder who owns the market for the biggest industry of them all. P.S. Gartner - Cobblers is the collective noun for blown raspberries. #servingbeansandcatchingthem

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Yada, Yada, Yada, company criticises competitor. Yawn.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Matt, Do some real research & prove what you claim!

    I'd suggest stop paying attention to Amazon's hype marketing and read some real research from other analysts like IDC, Forrester, OVUM, TBR, etc.

    Heres just a few comments to counter your claims about Oracle and its Cloud business:

    “For now, our experience and the research conducted seem to suggest that Oracle's Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) or Microsoft's Azure offerings are best for meeting the requirements of large enterprise solutions because of their scalability, lower cost, and because they require less application redesign, whereas GCP is stronger in addressing the needs of startups and SMBs.

    AWS may be able to do almost anything, and company has amazing rate of innovation, but compute and storage performance could be improved, and running an entirely AWS based cloud solution will be very expensive. If you have in-house DevOps and capable people for manual configurations, Oracle's Cloud Infrastructure will deliver the performance you need to kickstart agility and innovation in your enterprise, and will do so at a fraction of the price the same solution would cost you with a different provider.”

    “Oracle has made significant progress in the cloud market over the past three years. The most compelling proof point is a SaaS business that is healthy and growing quickly… Oracle has emerged as the market leader for cloud ERP sales (with cloud ERP revenue that exceeds SAP and Workday).”


    “Oracle’s transition to the 3rd platform of IT continued at a strong pace in FY18... With over 5,000 Oracle Fusion ERP customers and over 12,000 NetSuite ERP customers, SaaS applications have become the engine for Oracle’s business.”


    “In order to operate at the same level as an Amazon or a Salesforce, an enterprise simply has to sign up for the Oracle Cloud. It’s as revolutionary for cloud computing as the Model T Ford was for the automobile industry.”


    “Where many of its most public competitors focus on any two of the three primary cloud layers, Oracle has established itself as an innovative and high-performance option at the SaaS, PaaS and IaaS layers. […] Oracle will likely emerge as a strong challenger in the cloud space, particularly in the SaaS and IaaS markets.” (“Oracle becomes a stronger competitor by elevating cloud functionality” - Oct 2017)


    “Oracle is in the enviable position that it does not need to look far beyond its existing customer base for cloud growth. Across the broad product portfolio, there will be many on-ramps: customers wanting to modernize their existing enterprise applications using SaaS; those building new solutions in the cloud using PaaS services; and enterprises looking to move existing Oracle workloads to IaaS.”

    DAO Research:

    “Oracle’s innovative, next-generation cloud infrastructure is considered better aligned with enterprise requirements from a service, pricing, and agreement perspective, as compared to AWS and Azure.”

    “Oracle Cloud Infrastructure is considered better suited for predictable high performance, DR, and HA, as compared to AWS and Azure.”

    “Unlike AWS, which requires ”do-it-yourself” using third-party tools, Oracle Cloud provides a full breadth of integrated DevOps tooling, including curated open-source options for cloud-native development and extensions of SaaS applications.”

    Next-Generation Cloud Delivers Enterprise Scale White Paper (December 2017)

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I honestly think this will end with them providing some sort of managed DB on the other 3 public clouds, they just can't compete now. "Run Oracle on AWS, managed by Oracle themselves". Much like the managed VMWare offering within AWS. At some point they'll probably pull it from RDS in favour of this, which I don't suppose Amazon will mind either.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I think Oracle are being clever. The market is still in development and its a transition for them. The SaaS play is smart and high margin, IaaS/PaaS will just be more value for less than the others. It will take time for this to hit the market, but my guess is it will probably come.

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