Amazon Web Services is the 800-pound gorilla in cloud infrastructure, and everyone wants to take them down. We've seen IBM, Google, Microsoft, HP, Alibaba, and a host of others try to take them on, but to this point nobody has really been able to put much of a dent in their market domination.
Oracle is the latest technology giant to put them on notice that they are determined to try.
Alibaba has some money and has made it clear it wants a piece of the action too, but they don't really have any enterprise chops. Microsoft does and has made some progress, but AWS is still by far the market leader. HP gave it a shot and announced recently it was quitting the public cloud business at the beginning of next year, realizing there was no way it was ever going to make any progress in this market.
Now we have Oracle making lots of noise about wanting in. Welcome to the club. While this might seem ironic given Larry Ellison's earlier disdain for the cloud, the company appears to be serious about making the move, recognizing what many vendors have seen—that the market is changing, and the company has to change with it to survive.
Oracle has a big hill to climb just to get to fourth place, though. We have AWS way in the lead with Microsoft, Google, and IBM coming in well behind them. Oracle has an interesting love-hate history with the cloud, but over the past couple of years it has taken a shine to the new way of delivering software and infrastructure — or at least it's given it lip service.
That has translated into some business for Oracle, accounting for $1.5 billion in total cloud revenue for 2015, which includes all software and infrastructure. A Forbes writer suspects that even that number could be inflated a bit by sales tricks.
Worse, even after the big cloud push at Oracle Open World recently, a report surfaced last week in which an unnamed employee suggested it was all talk and that Oracle in spite of its resources was not throwing serious money at transforming Oracle into a cloud company.
Regardless of the circumstances here, assuming Oracle really wants to become a cloud company moving forward, it will be a difficult undertaking. As a traditional rack-and-stack hardware and software company, Oracle has made its name and reputation selling on-premises inside the data center.
Changing to a cloud vendor is not as simple as putting out a sign that you're open for business. It's a challenging for transition, and more than one big company has tried and failed. After all, Oracle is attempting to completely change the way it has traditionally done business.
While it's easy to say you're going after AWS — what else are you going to say — and in spite of Larry Ellison's assertion that the cloud is still young, the market is fairly well established at this point.
What Oracle has going for it, for now at least, is that the market is still growing, and as such there could be room for new players. But the competition is fierce, and Oracle could be in for a rough ride. Just ask HP.
Photo Credit: Oracle PR on Flickr. Used under CC 2.0 license.