Amazon has nothing to worry about. Oracle will never win the cloud without developers.
No matter what Larry Ellison says on stage at Oracle Open World, Oracle will never match Amazon Web Services’ (AWS) first-class treatment of the developer community. Nor will Oracle even try: it’s a vertical iron machine that Ellison believes has the power to be the new “cloud” for IT. It is not a horizontal distributed, self-service environment that you get when you use AWS.
By ignoring developers, Oracle has lost before it has even gotten started. A service like AWS scales because the people who use it are developers. And those developers create apps that power services that millions of people use.
Ellison said in his keynote last night that AWS is his competition. His answer is what he is calling an Oracle public cloud that connects to an Oracle private cloud. It’s not an AWS-style cloud by any means. It is a monolithic hardware configuration that Oracle owns.
Ellison wants the machine to serve as a mega “Iron Man” developer. The machine rules in Oracle’s world — not people. In Ellison’s world, you don’t need a developer community if you want to rule an empire. You just need a mega machine with an Oracle OS, an Oracle virtual machine, an Oracle database, and Oracle Exadata X3 hardware.
AWS is a developer’s kingdom. They are the ones who give AWS its power. Developers build apps on AWS. They create new services. The muli-tenancy that AWS provides distributes loads across an elastic infrastructure. It’s like a giant programmable computer that a developer can manage.
Apps and services – they are the big story of the past six years. The catalyst for the growth of our app culture comes from a developer movement that relies on flexible services. APIs make the connections. And the story is really just beginning to unfold. Without developers, Oracle’s cloud play will become limited to a traditional base of customers who have a heavy dependence on legacy solutions and are committed to integrating Oracle-engineered systems.
Talk to any of the most innovative startups and chances are that they use AWS. They will not use a big box solution from Oracle. It’s too expensive and not meant to work in a rich ecosystem of apps and open APIs.
Oracle has a problem. Hardware sales were down 24 percent last quarter. It is not a growth business. Hardware is getting commoditized. AWS recognizes that change in the market. It will continue to optimize to turn its service into a giant data factory for developers to turn into digital goods. Oracle’s systems do not get cheaper. They are designed for the business to own the data factory which runs Oracle apps.
Now if Oracle opened its heart to developers and built an ecosystem that used scaled-out hardware, then the game would change. But that’s about as likely as Ellison selling his mansions and moving into a one-bedroom condo.