Ellison unveils new cloud, trashes Salesforce.com

The new service's open design is far superior to Salesforce.com's "roach motel," according to Ellison

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison on Wednesday unveiled a public cloud service that will run its Fusion Applications and others, and while doing so delivered a withering broadside against competitors, with his harshest words for Salesforce.com.

"Our cloud's a little bit different. It's both platform as a service and applications as a service," he said during a keynote address at the OpenWorld conference in San Francisco, which was webcast. "The key part is that our cloud is based on industry standards and supports full interoperability with other clouds. Just because you go to the cloud doesn't mean you forget everything about information technology from the past 20 years."

In contrast, Salesforce.com's Force.com platform is the "roach motel" of cloud services, amounting to "the ultimate vendor lock-in" due to its use of custom programming languages like APEX. In contrast, the Oracle Public Cloud uses Java, SQL, XML and other standards, Ellison said.

"You can check in but you can't check out" of Salesforce.com, Ellison said to laughter from the OpenWorld crowd. "It's like an airplane, you fly into the cloud and you never get out. It's not a good thing."

Salesforce.com may have bought Heroku, a cloud application platform that supports Java, but customers shouldn't be fooled, Ellison claimed.

"They say, 'Oh, we just bought Heroku. It runs Java.' [But] it's sort of like a Salesforce.com version of Java that only runs in Heroku. Don't try to move that [Java Enterprise Edition] application to the Salesforce.com cloud. It won't run. If you build something in Heroku you can't move it. It's a derivative of Java."

In contrast, "you can take any existing Oracle database you have and move it to our cloud," Ellison said. "You can just move it across and it runs unchanged. Oh by the way, you can move it back if you want to. You can move it to the Amazon cloud if you want to. You can do development and test on our cloud and go into production in your data center ... and nothing changes."

"Beware of false clouds," Ellison said, referring to a favorite saying of Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff. "That is such good advice. I could not have said it better myself."

Ellison even trashed Salesforce.com's and other SaaS (software-as-a-service) providers' use of multitenant architectures, wherein many customers share a single application instance with their data kept separate. The practice cuts down on system overhead as well as allows vendors to roll out patches and upgrades to many customers at once.

But Oracle's cloud eschews that approach for very good reasons, Ellison said. "That's a very bad security model. It's called multitenancy and it was state of the art 15 years ago. This is 2011. All the modern compute clouds use virtualization as part of their security model. You get a separate virtual machine, your data's in a separate database because it's virtualized. They put your data at risk by commingling it with others."

Ellison's evisceration of Salesforce.com came after the latest public volley from Benioff at Oracle, which rescheduled an appearance he was to make Wednesday at OpenWorld to Thursday. Benioff loudly characterized the move as a cancellation, drawing much media attention on Tuesday, while Oracle maintained it did so due to overbooking and space problems at the show, which drew some 45,000 people.

Benioff took Ellison's ribbing in stride on his Twitter feed. "You can't buy this type of advertising. Thank you Larry," one message from Benioff states. "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery," he said in another.

The Oracle Public Cloud will be available through subscription pricing, Ellison said. It will offer instant provisioning and elastic capacity on demand.

Ellison's announcement had been predicted by some analysts, as IDG News Service first reported last week.

Ellison did not reveal when the service will be available, but presumably the date is imminent or has already arrived, given that its marquee tenant, Fusion Applications, are now in general release after six years of development.

Fusion Applications are supposed to combine the best attributes of Oracle's various business software lines into a next-generation suite. The initial release includes some 100 modules. Fusion is differentiated from SAP, Salesforce.com, Workday and other applications by the fact it can be run either on-demand or on-premises, Ellison said.

"You have a choice, and I'm pro-choice. The guys at Salesforce.com are not pro-choice," he said.

Ellison defended the delays in Fusion's release.

"It took a little longer than we planned but it was a huge, huge engineering project to present a huge integrated suite ... with all the different pieces rebuilt on top of modern technology. It's complete, integrated and finally here," he said.

Ellison described how Oracle along with customers "worked and reworked" the software until it was complete.

Security is built into the underlying infrastructure, Ellison said. "We didn't put security into Fusion Applications, we upgraded the infrastructure so it's built into the virtual machine and the operating system and the database. Anything built on top of that infrastructure is secure. That's especially important in the world of the cloud and the public Internet."

In addition, Ellison announced and demonstrated the Oracle Social Network, which incorporates social-networking functionality into Fusion Applications.

The system uses many of the familiar aspects of social sites like Facebook, such as information feeds and document sharing.

Ellison's keynote capped a busy week at OpenWorld marked by a slew of new product announcements, including the Big Data Appliance and Exalytics Business Intelligence Machine.

He delivered his remarks with noticeable good cheer, apparently unaware of the death of his close friend, Apple CEO Steve Jobs, news of which broke toward the end of the keynote.

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris's e-mail address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Internet-based applications and servicesapplication developmentopenworldapplicationssoftwarecloud computinginternetOraclelarry ellison

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Chris Kanaracus

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?