Ellison Unveils Oracle's Public Cloud, Social Network; Slams Cloud Competitors

The rumors buzzing around the annual Oracle OpenWorld conference all week that CEO Larry Ellison would be announcing something big during his keynote proved true on Wednesday as he unveiled the Oracle Public Cloud and the Oracle Social Network.

Oracle's new Public Cloud is a Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) designed to run the company's Fusion Applications, which are now generally available. This is an enterprise cloud service designed to run Oracle apps, middleware and database products in a self-service, subscription-based, "elastically scalable" system. It's available for cloud and on-premise deployment.

Ellison differentiated his company's long-awaited cloud offering from a growing number of competitors, most notable from, as a system that's based on standards.

"Our cloud's a little bit different," Ellison said. "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."

"You have a choice!" Ellison said. "I'm pro-choice. The guys at Salesforce are not pro-choice."

The Oracle Social Network is an enterprise social platform integrated with the company's Fusion Applications. The system is designed to be used for intra-organization communication, but with features that allow companies to collaborate with partners and interact with customers. Because the network is integrated with Oracle Fusion Apps, Ellison pointed out, users can receive real-time information feeds from the connected systems for quick collaboration and resolution.

"The biggest change over the past few years is social networking," Ellison told his audience. "Today, organizations want to connect their people, their applications, their processes and their customers."

During his presentation, Ellison took a number of shots at, which announced its own enterprise social network, called Chatter, last month during its annual Dreamforce conference. He criticized his rival for using non-standard technologies, such as the APEX programming languages, while Oracle's Public Cloud relies on standard technologies, such as Java, BPEL, SQL, XML, SOA, and Web Services.

" is the Roach Motel of clouds," Ellison said. "You can check in, but you can't check out."

"Beware of false clouds," Ellison added, essentially quoting from CEO Marc Benioff's Dreamforce keynote. "That is such good advice. I could not have said it better myself."

For his part, Benioff commented on the Ellison keynote via Twitter. "You can't buy this type of advertising. Thank you Larry," he wrote in one tweet. In another: "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery." And another: "Did Larry get my slides by accident?"

The announcement of the general availability of Oracle's Fusion Applications was somewhat overshadowed by the cloud and social network announcements, but after six years in development, it was likely the most anticipated by attendees. Fusion brings together individual Oracle apps so that they can be combined and/or  rearranged to create meta-applications that solve specific business tasks. The more than 100 "modules" that comprise Fusion Applications were supposed to launch at the start of 2011.

"These are not just point solutions but a rich set of applications," said Steve Miranda, SVP of Oracle's  Applications Development group, in a Wednesday session. "They were really designed from the ground up, not just to be transactional applications, but to have embedded business intelligence."

Ellison thanked the Fusion Applications dev team for their work on the project.

"ERP, human capital management, CRM; all the different pieces have been built on top of modern technology," Ellison said. "It's completely integrated and finally here. It was a gigantic effort."

About the Author

John K. Waters is the editor in chief of a number of sites, with a focus on high-end development, AI and future tech. He's been writing about cutting-edge technologies and culture of Silicon Valley for more than two decades, and he's written more than a dozen books. He also co-scripted the documentary film Silicon Valley: A 100 Year Renaissance, which aired on PBS.  He can be reached at [email protected].