2008-09-22

Oracle does NOT enter the AWS Cloud

Okay, seriously? Did the announcement that oracle was entering the AWS cloud really get sent out today? Don't get me wrong. I think Jeff Barr is great and I love AWS, but let's be clear about what this announcement really means.

When I saw this headline I thought, "Awesome, Oracle is lowering the barrier to entry for SMB customers." This isn't the case. It's true that Oracle is making it easier for people to boot up a presumably properly tuned Oracle instance in the cloud. It's also true that Oracle will support certain EC2 hardware configurations in the cloud (up to 8 virtual cores although you can license it for 16). However, when Jeff Bar makes a statement like the following I get confused.

The variability and flexibility of cloud-based licensing has perplexed users and vendors for some time now. Now that a large software vendor has made a clear statement of direction here, we should see more and more cloud-compatible licenses before too long.

Let's dig into the Oracle licensing terms for a minute. If you read the licensing terms it becomes clear that two things have happened:

  1. Oracle will support certain versions of their flagship product running on certain hardware configurations in the cloud.
  2. Oracle will license certain versions of their flagship product running on certain hardware configurations in the cloud.

I'm sorry, but does Oracle just not get it? This type of a license is the exact opposite of the utility model. While the hardware (and software, in the case of Red Hat, S3, SQS, etc) is "pay for what you use", Oracle has decided that you will pay whether you are using the software or not. On Red Hat's Cloud Computing page we get the following quote:

Cloud computing changes the economics of IT by enabling you to pay only for the capacity that you actually use.

This is what I always believed was the power of cloud computing. Pay for what you use. I hope Oracle does not become a model for other software vendors as Jeff states. I hope companies take a page from Red Hat's book in this case, especially if they are looking to enter and stay competitive in the SMB market.

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