Oracle OpenWorld Takeaways: After the Hubris, the Real Work Begins


SAN FRANCISCO — If the meek really are to inherit the Earth, then there won’t be much real estate for Oracle’s Larry Ellison.

The chief technology officer’s keynotes at the company’s annual user conference were filled with brash predictions about Oracle dominance in the cloud market. At times, his braggadocio grew particularly fiery — like when he slammed Amazon Web Services (AWS) for offering what he considered an inferior product in terms of both speed and security.

Confidence is good in business, especially when you’re trying to persuade potential customers your platform is better than the market leader.

But based on a number of informal conversations with those at the conference, Oracle has some work to do. More than one person found the massive displays that proclaimed Oracle “the fastest growing cloud company” a little humorous. When your market share is so low, it’s easy to chart growth, they said.

Oracle’s IaaS Reveal

The biggest reveal at OpenWorld was Oracle’s second-generation Infrastructure-as-a-Service (Iaas) strategy. It allows Oracle to offer a more complete suite of services to those looking to move more of their company’s computing to the cloud. This gives Oracle a stronger pitch with Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) alongside the more robust IaaS capability. 

Enabling a Stronger Cloud

During his keynote address, Thomas Kurian, president of product development for Oracle, offered a high-level view of how Oracle could enable a stronger cloud.

“We had a very simple vision. Any human being, anywhere in the world, with just a browser or an API call could create a virtual data center on which they could deploy Oracle’s platform technology to build amazing cloud services,” he said.

Ellison spent quite a bit of time talking about security, an issue on the minds of many tasked with moving some or all of their core data to a cloud service.

“Security might be the single most important issue customers face in migrating from their on-premises data centers to these cloud super data centers. And as they used to say at Ford a long time ago, security is job one here at Oracle with the move to the cloud,” Ellison said.

As other analysts noted, however, time will tell if companies decide to jump on board. By the time we hit the 2017 version of OpenWorld, we’ll have a better idea of where Oracle stands in its competition with Amazon, Microsoft and Google.

OpenWorld Vendor Scene

To get a feel for the impact of Oracle’s technology and its wide number of partnerships, all OpenWorld attendees needed to do was wander through the exhibits and vendor space throughout the massive Moscone Center complex.

Companies large and small showcased how they had implemented Oracle’s software and cloud services. Others leveraged partnerships to garner the attention of the 60,000 conference attendees.

The America’s Cup experience: You could slap on some virtual reality goggles to experience America’s Cup racing with Oracle Team USA or cranking away as fast as you could on equipment that’s found on the team’s racing fleet. The exhibition was part of Oracle’s goal to promote its sponsorship of the racing team.

Making coffee: A coffee machine paired the small, inexpensive Raspberry Pi computer to Oracle’s Java platform to whip up a cup of joe. It might not yet replace your barista, but imagine how some coffee shops or kiosks in airports could offer 24 hour service if algorithms power the act of coffee making.

Remote control car racing: A batch of iPads were used to control remote control cars zipping around a track. The underlying Oracle technology allowed developers to transform the iPads into steering wheels for racing. Mobile devices continue to take on all sorts of roles, and you can’t fault someone for deciding that it would be a great game controller.

Roshambo with Marvin: An IBM-powered robot was on hand to challenge attendees to a friendly game of paper-rock-scissors (spoiler alert: he usually wins). It drew some of the longest lines in the showfloor — even when the beer cart was rolling past the line.


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