Oracle cofounder Larry Ellison slams AWS for security, cost and performance

Ellison used his keynote at Oracle OpenWorld to criticise the cloud giant's security, cost and performance

Oracle cofounder and CTO Larry Ellison was in typically combative form for his OpenWorld keynote address yesterday, taking the fight to cloud computing market leader Amazon Web Services (AWS) and talking up Oracle's Generation 2 Cloud as a dramatically cheaper alternative, complete with superior performance and security.

Speaking on stage at the Moscone Centre in San Francisco, Ellison repeatedly slated AWS for overpricing customers and guaranteed that moving to the Oracle Cloud would cut database bills in half.

"We don't charge you a lot of money for moving data back and forth, in and out of our cloud. Amazon charges you a fortune for moving data out of your cloud," he said. "It's almost free to move it into your cloud. They charge you 100 times more to move it out of your cloud.

"It's interesting. I didn't know that data in the same pipe cost so much more depending on the direction the data's flowing. It must be a funny contract they had with their network provider."

Ellison reeled off a string of statistics to illustrate Oracle's apparent superiority: Oracle is 45 per cent faster in compute at a third of the cost, 80 times faster in a mixed load, five times faster in block storage, twice as fast in networking, and far cheaper across the board.

"The combination of being much faster and aggressively priced is good for you because it's much cheaper than the competition," he said.

To improve its future prospects, Oracle is also pushing its security credentials for the Generation 2 Cloud, with Ellison saying it has been re-architected by adding "Star Wars defences", composed of "impenetrable barriers" that block threats on the perimeter of the cloud and autonomous robots that find other threats.

Ellison believes the most important part of the Generation 2 Cloud's superior security is its autonomous capabilities, which offers automatic discovery and remediation of threats while the database is running through upgrade patches, hardware and software fails.

"You can upgrade it to new versions of the software. You can patch it. Hardware can fail, software can fail. None of it brings the database down," he said. "All of those things bring the Amazon database down."

Autonomous capabilities

Ellison is bullish on Oracle's autonomous database capabilities and now Amazon is rumoured to be developing a "semi-autonomous database", which Ellison compared to a "semi self-driving car. You get in, you drive and you die," he said.

"They don't have self-tuning, they have no autonomous features, it's not available," he said. "They don't have active data guard. They have no disaster recovery. They have no server failure recovery. They have no software failure recovery. They’ve got no automatic patching. They’ve got none of that.

In contrast, he described the Oracle Autonomous Database as "fully self-driving."

"All the security is automatic," he said. "If there's a threat that's discovered, the threat is killed automatically while the database is still running. If the database server fails, the database keeps running. If the database software fails, the database keeps running. It automatically backs up itself, it automatically recovers itself. It's fully automated. It really is self driving. No one's going to die."

The Oracle Autonomous database is serverless, so customers only pay for what they use and the autonomy promises to free up capacity-scarce IT teams from having to manually schedule backups or physically recover the database when it goes down.

Ellison said that the Oracle database can handle both the more advanced applications including IoT, real-time and XML and the more basic combination of reporting and transaction processing within the same database.

“We've been able to do that forever,” he claimed. “Amazon still can't do that. They're about 10, 20 years behind in database technology."

Oracle's move to the cloud

Oracle was a latecomer to the cloud services business and its market share pales in comparison to the big three of AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform.

According to the RightScale 2018 State of the Cloud Report, only five percent of enterprises have adopted Oracle Cloud, compared to 68 percent in AWS, 58 percent in Azure, and 19 percent in GCP.

This year Oracle also changed the way it reports its earnings by combining cloud services with license support revenues, which led to analyst speculation that the company was concealing disappointing figures.

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