Don’t take Oracle’s cloud-superiority claims too seriously


Oracle CEO Mark Hurd claims he . That statement is either profoundly disingenuous or utterly ridiculous. Or perhaps Hurd and Oracle chairman Larry Ellison, who launched this week’s Oracle OpenWorld by fixating on AWS, that AWS’s cloud pales in comparison to Oracle’s cloud.

You know, the same Oracle cloud that can’t even muster a Top 10 place in Gartner’s list of leading IaaS providers. For IaaS, Gartner pegs AWS cloud revenues at more than 80X times Oracle’s. Even in the PaaS market, where Oracle has seen more growth—bumping up from 1.1 percent market share to 2 percent in 2016—it’s still just a tenth the size of AWS, which saw its PaaS share boom from 13.7 percent to 19.8 percent in the same period.

It’s only in SaaS, where Oracle has acquired multiple companies and AWS has yet to invest, that Oracle rises above AWS.

Unfortunately for the studiously unconcerned Hurd, it’s only going to get worse, judging on the infrastructure investments that the leading cloud providers—AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform—are making. As Redmonk analyst , “The companies that have the highest increase in R&D spending (Amazon and Google) also have the most variety in their product lines.” That variety, along with the that allow them to profitably charge less for more, promises to continue to put Oracle’s cloud ambitions to the sword, she says.

, you’ll see that AWS, Microsoft, and Google all offer cloud databases that meet or exceed Oracle’s claims. Including the twinkle.

, AWS et al. simply can’t keep pace with the demand for public cloud services, leaving Oracle (and others) free to supply the unsatisfied demand. And, no, it doesn’t hurt that there are plenty of enterprises that would like to bridge their existing on-premises Oracle investments to the cloud. (That’s one pitch Oracle does make that actually makes sense.)

True, Oracle’s cloud revenue, while growing, has , causing the company’s stock to stumble. And revenue growth has been much stronger in Oracle’s SaaS business (62 percent) than in Oracle’s IaaS business (28 percent). That doesn’t bode well for a company trying to play catchup with the cloud-first natives.

Even so, enterprises move slowly, whether to jettison legacy technology (and its vendors) or to embrace the new. So, Oracle has a long shelf life ahead of it. The question is whether it can invest heavily enough to keep up with AWS and Microsoft, in particular, so that it can both meet and stoke demand for next-generation cloud services.