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October 4, 2017updated 04 Jan 2018 3:16pm

Oracle UK Boss: Cloud is not always the right answer

Dermot O'Kelly speaks to CBR about customer choice and the autonomous star of this year's OpenWorld.

By Ellie Burns

At Oracle OpenWorld there has been one product which has been the star of the show, generating excitement with bold promises of halving cloud costs and eliminating human error. There was no surprises then when Dermot O’Kelly, Senior Vice President for Oracle UK, Ireland and Israel, zeroed in on the new database offering as his biggest takeaway of this year’s show, telling CBR:

“The big news is the big news, which is the new database. I’ve been talking to customers most of the week and I think the good thing about it is they get it almost straight away.

“The idea of an autonomous database doesn’t really need to be explained to them, they understand the concept of it – a database that self heals, that patches itself, that sizes itself, scales itself, tunes itself and will get better the more data it uses.

“Customers get that pretty quick and they get the fact that it is by default going to be cheaper because you don’t need any people. Its not a hard concept to sell, other than it being better and faster and also cheaper. I think that’s huge.”

Earlier this week, Ellison made a big show of highlighting just how big the performance and cost gap is between Oracle and AWS, saying that Big Red’s main rival is up to eight times more expensive running the identical workload when compared to the Oracle Autonmous Database.

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Ellison then went on in is keynote address to promise to cut orgainsations’ Amazon bills in half. Although dismissed by Amazon as ‘bluster’, O’Kelly believes Ellison is justified in his claims, saying its simple common sense.

“The problem that they will have is an autonomous database, which doesn’t have any people, is always going to be less than one that does. Larry has made the 50% promise because he knows an autonomous database will always be less. It’s common sense because you don’t have the human cost.”

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“I think the 18c autonomous database will get round the market quick because its not hard to understand. Its a simple concept of running a database without any human intervention.”

Highlighting the huge performance gaps could prove a lucrative move, with Oracle seemingly trying to lure those Oracle customers running on AWS back to their own cloud. However, for O’Kelly, its less about strategy to poach those Big Red customers running on AWS and more about customer choice.

“Its up to the customer. If they think it will run better and cheaper on Oracle then why wouldn’t you do that. I think the point is that most workloads haven’t moved, they haven’t moved to AWS or to the Oracle Cloud, they are still on premise. The strategy is to say to customers that they now have choice.”

Choice is obviously a key differentiator for the UK boss, selling Oracle as a company who will tailor services to customers’ needs and guide them, not push them, to cloud.

Oracle UK Boss: Cloud is not always the right answer

Dermot O’Kelly is Senior Vice President for Oracle UK, Ireland and Israel and is responsible for driving Oracle’s operations, growth and profitability across these regions.

“If you ask a cloud company what’s the answer, the answer is cloud. Well maybe that’s not the right answer, maybe you need to consider where you want to deploy your applications. We give our customers choice and we give them options and we are not forcing them to move at a pace they cannot cope with. I think thats what they are looking for,” said O’Kelly.

Of course, it’s easy to say customer choice is key, but what do they actually want and need? For O’Kelly, customers want clarity on what they should do in their journey to cloud, saying its less about the destination and more about the journey.

“I think what companies want is a clarity of vision, I think what they should have is a purity of architecture – so don’t buy lots and lots of bits and pieces and try and make them all work together, because what you end up with is what you had on-premise in the cloud.

“Then you have to figure at what pace you can start moving, which groups of applications can you replace with SaaS, which groups of applications are not replaceable with SaaS, which applications do you think are too sensitive that you actually want to keep the data behind a firewall, and which are just so old and embedded that you can’t move them. I think thats what all companies are trying to figure out, they are trying to figure out at what pace they will do this and our job is to help them do it in anyway they want.”

In contrast with rivals, O’Kelly told CBR, Oracle’s answer is not always cloud.

“Our answer is what actually suits you best. If you want to be in the public cloud, we are fine with that. If you want to be behind your own firewall, we are fine with that. If you want to run on-premise, we are fine with that,” said O’Kelly.

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