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Oracle Expands Cloud Services, Ellison Skips Out of Keynote

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison didn't make it to his own keynote at this year's OpenWorld conference. (He was seen hanging out by the San Francisco Bay watching some boats.) But his redoubtable EVP of product development, Thomas Kurian, pitched in to announce a major expansion of the company's cloud services that will include Oracle Database as a Service (DaaS), Oracle Java as a Service and Oracle Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS).

Oracle unveiled its first public cloud at last year's conference. The Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) offering is an enterprise cloud service designed to run Oracle apps, middleware and database products in a self-service, subscription-based, elastically scalable system. Currently, 21.5 million users of that PaaS complete 19 billion transactions a day across more than 10,000 companies in 180 companies in 34 languages, Kurian said. Oracle also announced a new enterprise social platform last year, which Kurian said is currently used by 900. The company is building on those systems with its new suite of cloud platform services, he said.

"This suite of platform services gives you great agility," he said. "It allows you to have a platform to extend your applications, and you also have a platform that can change the way you use and consume IT resources."

Kurian described the new Oracle DaaS this way: "It's taking the world's best database and making it available in the cloud." Now available as a preview, the DaaS is a dedicated instance of the Oracle DB running on a pre-configured Oracle VM image. The customer will have full administrative control of the database, and the system provides support for any database application, language, and connection method.

Oracle's new Java-as-a-Service offering, also in preview, is a dedicated WebLogic cluster or clusters running on an Oracle VM image. It's designed to provide an environment for developing and deploying Java applications, and the company says it supports any Java app. Oracle provides what it calls "flexible administrative control" of the app server, but also provides automated and simplified patching, backup and recovery, cloning and other lifecycle operations.

Oracle's IaaS is a general purpose compute and storage services designed to support any application and to give users greater flexibility and administrative control. It's an elastic compute service that is compatible with OpenStack Nova and provides virtual CPUs "to which Oracle Virtual Assembly Builder assemblies and Oracle VM templates may be deployed," the company said. It provides elastic block storage in the form of direct attached, network attached, or DBMS-backed storage that is fully persistent and portable between Oracle Cloud services. It also supports object storage for a range of the company's cloud services, and it's compatible with OpenStack Swift to support Java and REST APIs.

"One great thing about our cloud," Kurian said, "[is that] there's nothing proprietary about it," Kurian said. "If you want to extend our applications, you can do it 100 percent in Java. If you don't like Java, you can do it in Ruby. We don't require you to use our programming language or a language that only runs in the Oracle cloud to extent your applications."

Kurian said his company would soon be offering other cloud services, including a Business Intelligence Cloud designed to allow users to analyze data in the Oracle Database Cloud, a Documents Cloud that supports file sharing and collaboration, a Mobile Cloud for building mobile apps, and a Cloud Marketplace "where partners can publish applications and customers can find new solutions."

"It's not that we have more stuff than anybody else," Kurian said. "It's that our stuff is amazingly capable."

Lots of people attending the keynote were not happy about Ellison's absence, and the audience dwindled throughout Kurian's presentation. One attendee who asked not to be identified summed up the negative sentiment: "We spent a lot of money to be here; the least [Ellison] could do is show up." Some news organizations reported the CEO's absence as a "PR disaster." One called the keynote a "snubnote;" another called OpenWorld "SnubWorld."

For those who spend $2,600+ per attendee, not counting travel and hotel expenses, to attend the conference, these are fair criticisms… to a point. With all due respect to the man, Ellison isn't Steve Jobs, so what did attendees really miss? The timing sucked, but Oracle Team USA was thrashing it out with New Zealand that day -- and then they went on to stage one of the greatest comebacks in sports history to win the America's Cup and, as Forbes reporter Daniel Fisher put it, "change sailing forever."

Be honest: Where would you have been?

Posted by John K. Waters on September 26, 2013