Oracle's cloud market battle cry: 'Win this world, win for 1000 years'

Fastest growing and most complete, but will it ever be biggest?

In big red letters across the main stage at Oracle's summit in Sydney on Thursday was written a bold claim: 'The world's fastest growing cloud company'.

In a promotional video that opened the day's talks came another: 'The world's most complete cloud company'.

The company is pumping US$5.4 billion into cloud related research and development, Oracle executive vice president cloud strategy, Zach Nelson told the keynote audience. Year on year growth in cloud revenues was at 86 per cent he added and the cloud customer count had surpassed 25,000.

According to Nelson the cloud represents a historic opportunity for Oracle.

"It's always risky to say this is the last anything, but [cloud] really is the last computing platform, in our lives. What architecture is there after?" he told the summit audience.

"There is no computing architecture. This is it. So those companies like ours who win this world win for 1000 years."

While 'fastest growing' is pleasing, Oracle would probably like to be less nuanced in their marketing messages. But the title of 'biggest' undoubtedly belongs to Amazon Web Services. For now.

Goliath and Goliath

AWS owns a third of the US$10 billion global IaaS, PaaS and hosted cloud services market according to latest data from Synergy Research covering the first quarter of this year.

Oracle is somewhat late to the game in comparison; for example its first generation Oracle Compute Cloud has only been on the market since 2015; AWS' Elastic Compute Cloud, EC2, launched in 2006.

Microsoft, Google and IBM are gaining ground in the public cloud market too, together increasing worldwide market share by almost five percentage points over the last year according to Synergy Research. Oracle is listed in the ‘next 10’ category.

One of its advantages lies in its existing, big-end-of-town customer base. The dominant cloud provider wasn't always the best option for these businesses, Nelson claimed.

"There are several platforms out there for people to leverage. When it comes to business at scale I think Oracle's going to have a huge advantage over folks like Amazon, which are great to start things perhaps, but scaling them into these large multi-terabyte databases..." he said.

"Amazon can certainly deal with scale but not business transactional scale. That's always been Oracle's strength."

Oracle executive vice president cloud strategy, Zach Nelson

A number of Oracle's bigger customers have already made the move to its cloud offerings. The summit featured talks from the likes of AXA, Fuji Xerox, Symamtec and Patrick. The AWS Sydney conference last month championed a number of smaller, cloud-based start-up, although the company also rolled out some big names such as Westpac .

Nevertheless Oracle is also eyeing the smaller fry.

"If you think about Oracle you may think well Oracle is more associated with very very large companies, and that's true, we do tremendously well with very very large companies," said Rob Willis, Oracle's managing director in ANZ.

"And sometimes they're very small companies, start-ups. Sometimes small and medium sized companies and sometimes large. Increasingly we're dealing with a broader and broader array of companies."

Not us

Speaking to Computerworld in September last year, AWS CTO Werner Vogels said that names from the "old world" had been dragged into the market "kicking and screaming".

"You can be a competitor-following business," Vogels said. "That's actually a very valid business model to have. It's just not us."

As more and more businesses move away from on-premise technology deployments, the cloud market will grow by more than 40 per cent per year, according to Synergy Research.

Whether AWS' dominance will be threatened by Oracle (which has been busy poaching cloud talent) is yet to be seen. Ultimately, customers will decide.

Nelson warned they need to choose wisely: "It's really important in this world to bet on the right platform. It requires scale. It requires investments. And frankly things are moving so quickly that if you choose the wrong platform you may be in deep trouble," he said.

And so might Oracle.

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