How to Understand Oracle’s Illogical Messaging vs AWS

Executive Summary

  • Oracle makes illogical comparisons between their offering and AWS.
  • There is a specific reason for this, as if Oracle used a logical construct, Oracle would look very bad.

Introduction

Even though AWS and Google Cloud are incredibly similar, due to AWS’s growth, they get the majority of emphasis by SAP and Oracle. Therefore, Google Cloud tends to fly under the radar. However, Oracle messaging versus AWS makes little sense, and it is essential to consider why.

Let us review what AWS is.

AWS is an hyperscale web provider that offers a few of its own (Aurora, Redshift, etc..) databases and can host just about any other database. Oracle is the largest database vendor in the world and has a tiny IaaS that offers Oracle only.

Can IT Analysts and Wall Steet Analysts Fact Check Oracle?

IT analyst and Wall Street have done a poor job of fact-checking the claims of lock-in vendors like Oracle and SAP dedication and growth in the cloud. The major IT media sources that all take money from Oracle and SAP, barely ever use the term “lock-in.” Using terms that your funders don’t like is not a good way to run a successful media company. This is particularly true in the era where nearly all of the funding outside of industry sources have dropped out of the equation. These media entities increasingly have positioned themselves like TechTarget (which owns ComputerWeekly among others) to access emails that are then shared with vendors using advanced marketing analytics, as we covered in the article How Computer Weekly is a Front for Marketing Automation.

Oracle will often publish material that goes without any fact-checking. For this book, we decided to review Oracle Cloud on The Register to see what they tended to publish on Oracle and found The Register to be one of the few IT media entities to challenge assertions by Oracle.

Illogical Positioning

Oracle is attempting to position the Oracle database against AWS’s homegrown databases. However, that is not the right comparison. The Oracle database can be placed on AWS along with any number of other databases. AWS is not primarily a database vendor; they are a cloud service provider. When Oracle discusses AWS, they tend to present AWS as a database vendor that provides a single on-premises database that competes against the Oracle database.

The fact that Oracle has to draw an improperly framed comparison to AWS (Larry Ellison casting AWS as only competing against the Oracle database) illustrates that Oracle is not comfortable making the case by using the accurate framing. They know under a precise framing, Oracle Cloud will lose in any comparison.

But this issue of inaccurate framing generalizes. Oracle makes such bizarre contentions about the cloud, one has to really question whether they study the topic very closely. A good example of this is this quotation from the article The Rise of the Hybrid Cloud.

“The common perception that public clouds are the best low-cost option is false. Contrary to this view, on-demand services from public cloud providers may come at a higher premium than in-house cloud services. When you compare the unit economics of a private cloud solution using high convergence density systems, or engineered systems such as Oracle Exadata, with comparable public clouds, it becomes apparent that the private cloud is usually the lower-cost solution. Public clouds still have a long way to go before the virtuous cycle of early public cloud adopters, who help bring down the unit costs, will attract the next wave of adopters. Consider Amazon, one of the leading public cloud providers. It has reduced the price of its public cloud services 42 times in the last six years alone due to this virtuous cycle and increasing competition.”

What….Oracle?

First things first. What is a “high convergence density system?” We searched for such a term outside of this article and were unable to find one, which means this is a made up term. (which is also undefined by the author).

Other questions from this ridiculous article quickly arise:

  • Is it really true that private cloud/hosting without shared resources is less expensive than public cloud with shared resources?
  • Is Amazon’s declining costs evidence of the lower costs of private cloud?

This article by Oracle has to be fully read to be believed. It should come with its own laugh track. We cover this in detail in the article Oracle Writes the Most Stupid Article on Cloud Ever.

How to Understand Oracle as Faux Cloud Versus AWS

A while ago I investigated true cloud/SaaS versus faux cloud/SaaS. What I discovered was shocking. The vast majority of particularly bigger companies that say they are cloud/SaaS are not. Salesforce, a company that started as cloud, now has restrictive cancellation clauses and other account control terms & conditions.

Oracle = Account Control

Oracle has always been based on restricting choice and account control. Without these terms and conditions managed by an army of nitpicking account managers who are closer to accountants and attorneys than technologists find every possible angle to cut off options and “stick it” to the account. Therefore, It is difficult to swallow the cloud-washing of companies that have historically cut off options for customers as now cloud. It is like listening to a 20-year alcoholic telling you they are suddenly dedicated to sobriety. Taking a wait and see attitude is appropriate.

AWS Versus Oracle

AWS is set up for working over the web. They never knew anything else. Oracle isn’t. All this talk about Oracle in the cloud isn’t backed up by the numbers. Its a transition for them.

But a great question is why you would want your IaaS/PaaS infrastructure from the software vendor? That is lock-in. If you are using a SaaS vendor, then you are using their infrastructure by definition, so the lock-in is tolerable. If you get true SaaS, you can dump that vendor (although there are always costs)

But AWS is giving customer-vendor independence.

Why AWS is an Obvious Choice Versus Oracle for IaaS/Paas

Number one being that AWS has a history in the cloud and Oracle does not. All we have is vague promises from Oracle that, like a long time alcoholic they will “change.” Never ever assume that corporations will change. Oracle has been incredibly successful doing what it does. There will be massive internal impediments to change. My prediction is that they either won’t change or won’t be able to change fast enough.

I will remind everyone that SAP has made similar promises regarding the cloud and met none of them. Oracle and SAP are similar in that most of their emphasis around the cloud has been marketing rather than reality. Oracle and SAP are cloud poseurs. Lets lookup that word.

Poseur: “a person who acts in an affected manner in order to impress others.”

Seems to fit.

Why Oracle is So Vulnerable to AWS IaaS/PaaS

Oracle’s tactics have lead them to be hated by customers — and if an option appears (which several have) Oracle is in a position to lose a lot of revenues quickly. I am predicting that Oracle will see one of the largest declines in revenue of any of large enterprise software vendors the next five years — and that this is a good thing for customers. Now how that decline will be hidden or can be hidden with accounting trickery will be an important topic. But there will be a decline.

There are very common scenarios which show that using Oracle for cloud versus AWS is a bad decision. For example, a lot of companies need to move away from Oracle databases when possible. Many Oracle instances can be migrated to PostgreSQL or MariaDB, etc.. as they do not use Oracle DB’s more advanced functions.

A huge number of Oracle DBs are just not doing that much, that is doing things other open source DBs could easily do. Yet they have Oracle DBAs managing them inefficiently on premises. That needs to change if an alternative presents itself, which it has. Remember, Oracle supported this entire inefficient approach, Oracle is only now reacting to efficiencies imposed from the outside — in this case AWS.

A company can’t migrate a chunk of their databases away from Oracle DB by using Oracle for IaaS/PaaS. Mark Hurd has stated that Oracle gets 3x in revenue for every customer that moves from on-premises to cloud. That is where Oracle’s head is at regarding the cloud.

Conclusion

It’s hard to see the SAP Cloud as anything but an incompetent marketing push to cloudwash SAP to audiences that lack firsthand information about SAP Cloud. Prime targets include Wall Street and higher level executives within customers. It is extremely rare to hear anyone talk about the SAP Cloud on SAP projects and it is evident through testing SAP Cloud that it has extremely low usage. SAP will, however, keep the SAP Cloud smoke machine up, as it has a purpose for marketing and maintaining the pretense for Wall Street.

SAP has a problem with the cloud for many reasons, but one primary reason is that the programming language that they have used for decades and forced into customers to the detriment of those customers does not work well in the cloud. This means that in a way, SAP is legacy, and not in the good sense (legacy systems can be reliable and low maintenance, but SAP is not low maintenance, and neither are SAP sales reps). SAP has another problem with the cloud in that cloud relies upon openness to work, and SAP is based upon lock-in. SAP cannot produce sincere comments about the cloud, because the more SAP embraces the cloud, the more SAP loses control over their customer base. Therefore, when SAP attempts to entice customers into using their cloud, it is from the perspective of maintaining control. If SAP can move customers to cloud, then can control them, and extract from them by greatly marking up services from AWS, Google Cloud and Azure. SAP’s pricing lays bare their plan to milk customers that touch SAP Cloud. However, if SAP loses customers to AWS, Google Cloud or Azure through direct usage, SAP has a serious problem.

Oracle Cloud operates in a substantially similar way, except that Oracle is further behind in accepting the fact that like SAP they will never be a competitive IaaS provider. Larry Ellison has the Oracle Cloud setup for even more irrelevance than the SAP Cloud because they have not yet ceded the IaaS battlefield to the apparent winners.

Oracle’s public statements on cloud display not only deception but also confusion as to how the cloud operates. It appears that Oracle is having difficulty processing what is happening around them. This is true even though they have plenty of smart people and have access to all the information. Many articles written by Oracle on cloud quickly devolve into unmitigated nonsense. That is their deception appears to extend to self-deception concerning cloud.

Financial Disclosure

Financial Bias Disclosure

Neither this article nor any other article on the Brightwork website is paid for by a software vendor, including Oracle, SAP or their competitors. As part of our commitment to publishing independent, unbiased research; no paid media placements, commissions or incentives of any nature are allowed.

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References

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