Monday, September 22, 2008

Oracle Joins The Cloud--But Does It Their Way

Interesting news this morning from both the Oracle and Amazon camps: Oracle has made available licensing for a broad swath of their infrastructure products to run in the cloud. More importantly, they have made Amazon EC2 AMI's available for Oracle 11g, Oracle Enterprise Manager and Oracle Fusion Middleware are available for free on EC2 right now. Amazon's Jeff Barr also hints at another interesting announcement:
"And if that's not enough, Oracle has also unveiled a new Cloud Management Portal. This is a free, web-based way to manage Oracle software running in the cloud. "
I can't find any more details about the portal at the time of this writing, however.

It is interesting that Oracle is trying to create the impression that it is entering the cloud computing business from their press release ("Oracle Joins Cloud Computing")--seeing that NONE of the products listed are cloud products, per se. They are all traditional infrastructure products than can be used to enhance applications that happen to run in the cloud, but they do not provide a cloud, or even "cloud enable" applications. (The portal *may* run in the cloud, but it is not cloud infrastructure in and of itself.)

Then again, it's not surprising to me that Oracle chose to go this route. Remember their reaction to SaaS? Oracle maintains that traditional perpetual licensing and enterprise sales is the foundation of their business, and that the economics of SaaS just aren't compelling enough to change. (Of course, the Cloud Management Portal would be an interesting exception...but it turns out to be free.) Thus, the logic route for Oracle is not to become a Cloud OS provider or some such thing, but rather to sell their software into the cloud...which is exactly what they have done.

The cost of Oracle in the cloud may be purely support based, if I read Jeff's post correctly, but I'd stay tuned for more on that. My gut feel tells me there is more to the licensing story than is available at this early stage.