Oracle doesn’t find the cloud funny anymore

Back in 2008 Oracle Chairman Larry Ellison famously ridiculed cloud computing as fashion-driven gibberish.

“The computer industry is the only industry that is more fashion-driven than women’s fashion. Maybe I’m an idiot, but I have no idea what anyone is talking about. What is it? It’s complete gibberish. It’s insane. When is this idiocy going to stop?,” Ellison once stated about cloud computing.

Now, according to Trefis, the company that once mocked cloud computing plans to provide 95 percent of its offerings as cloud products by this fall, up from 65 percent today. That’s quite a turnaround for a company that has made its living selling hardware and software on-premise.

Not only that, Oracle is a big contributor to OpenStack, the open source cloud computing platform alternative to Amazon Web Services. Just last week, Oracle hired 40 engineers from Nebula, an OpenStack startup that closed its doors last month.

I guess you could say Oracle has finally become a slave to fashion. It just took seven years to achieve it.

More than anything, it is also a recognition that the world has changed and IT is looking for cloud-based solutions, however you want to define that. If you listen to Ellison’s words in context, he wasn’t wrong. At the time, marketers had latched onto the term cloud, the way they have latched onto the term Internet of Things today.

He was simply disgusted by everyone tacking cloud onto everything, hoping it would get the attention of venture capitalists or consumers. Fortunately, we have gotten past the point where we need to hype the cloud.

Vendors buy into the cloud in a big way

As Oracle’s own buy-in proves, the cloud has matured to the point where it’s a mainstream concept, and every traditional IT vendor from Oracle and Microsoft to IBM, SAP, and HP have bought into it.

Customers are demanding cloud solutions, and these companies that made their living in the on-premise world are making the shift along with them. Who would have thought just a few years ago that Microsoft and IBM would be cloud-centric companies?

IBM’s entire strategy moving forward is centered on the cloud. It bought Softlayer to offer Infrastructure as a Service, launched Bluemix as its Platform as a Service, and put together a portfolio of over 100 Software as a Service companies. It even launched its own marketplace to sell its own apps and those created by third-party developers with Bluemix. It did all this in fairly short order, making the transition in less than two years.

Microsoft, which made its living on the desktop selling Windows and Office, has begun the same transition with Office 365 and Azure—and it’s accelerated its cloud strategy under CEO Satya Nadella. All of these companies have one thing in common. They have recognized that the future of computing is in the cloud.

Each will likely struggle somewhat making that transition, but the point is they are all there. And as the cloud mainstreams, we probably will stop talking about it as a concept.

Back in 2008 when Ellison made those comments, they were a shot at cloud computing. Today, the cloud has become commonplace, and it’s not funny anymore. Tweet:

Photo Credit: Oracle Corporate Communications on Flickr. Used under CC by 2.0 license.


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