Oracle CEO Larry Ellison Loosens Up on Cloud

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison seems to be warming more to the concept of cloud computing.

During a May 30 interview at AllThingsD’s D10 Conference, Ellison offered journalist Kara Swisher his definition of the cloud: “The PC was very complex, and was attached to a complex network. Now we’ve migrated that complexity off the desktop and moved it to Internet servers. That has been recast as cloud computing.”

When Swisher asked him why he disliked the term ‘cloud computing,’ Ellison responded: “I like the words. It’s a charismatic brand. And people do need to simplify their existing data centers and deliver services in simpler ways.”

Swisher’s question was reference to a series of Ellison comments from 2008, in which he termed the tech industry’s obsession over cloud computing as “complete gibberish” and “insane.”

Even as other companies rush to integrate their products into the cloud (while making sure to drop the term “cloud” into as many press releases as possible) Oracle has taken a more measured approach—a logical move, considering how much of the company’s revenue derives from a broad collection of legacy products.

In September 2010, Ellison took the stage to introduce the Exalogic Elastic Compute Cloud (also known as “cloud in a box”), which allowed businesses to create a self-contained cloud platform. More recently, Oracle introduced Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center 12c, with features such as centralized management of enterprise virtualization technologies and cloud lifecycle.

Oracle’s most aggressive foray into the cloud, though, could come with general availability of the Oracle Public Cloud, which will offer a combination of platform services (Java and Oracle database) and application services (Fusion CRM for customer-relationship management, Fusion HCM, and an Oracle Social Network secure collaboration tool).

Oracle will initially host its Public Cloud on servers in the U.S., before extending that to data-centers in Europe and in the Asia-Pacific region. Fusion CRM and HCM are already available, with the platform services and social network in a global “preview availability” phase. Oracle Public Cloud will be offered on a subscription basis.

Ellison and Oracle president Mark Hurd are hosting a June 6 event to outline the company’s cloud strategy, during which they’ll presumably discuss the Public Cloud’s features and timetable in more detail.

During his D10 talk, Ellison repeatedly positioned IBM as his company’s greatest competition. As Oracle moves further into the cloud, however, it’ll find itself battling more aggressively against Microsoft and other tech titans with designs on the space.

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