Oracle has made some game-changing statements at its annual customer event with a major focus on the cloud computing market, but analysts say that customers should not fear what is to come.
Experts argue that, although some of Oracle's moves at OpenWorld 2010 appear to be a whole new direction for the firm, they are really just a continuation of the same strategy.
Oracle kick-started the conference with the release of the Exalogic Elastic Cloud. Two years ago chief executive Larry Ellison dismissed the trend towards cloud computing as marketing hype and "gibberish".
Ellison said at the time that Oracle had no plans to jump on the cloud computing bandwagon, and expressed doubts as to whether companies would be able to make a profit from the idea. He has since had to eat his words and buy into the buzzword.
The firm is now offering customers the opportunity to build their own private clouds with Oracle hardware and software, which is a different set-up to the public clouds offered by the likes of Amazon and Salesforce.
Exalogic, which was described by Ellison as a "cloud in a box", will contain 30 servers, each running two six-core processors, and will be supplied with Solaris or Linux operating systems.
"Some have interpreted this as Oracle getting into the cloud. But is this a 180 degree change of strategy? No, not really. So far it looks more like a 360 to me - the full spin, so to speak, all the way around back to where it was before," said Gartner analyst David Smith.
"Before yesterday, if you asked Oracle what its cloud strategy was, the answer would be essentially: 'You can build clouds with our stuff.' Now it's still the same. But with more stuff."
Mike Revitt, datacentre technology leader at Computacenter, which helps IT departments with strategies and implementations, agreed with Smith that Oracle is not entering a new market, just adopting popular terminology.
"I actually support a lot of what Larry said [two years ago]. Cloud computing is just another way of describing something that IT has been doing since the 1970s," he said.
"The mistake that he made was in trying to ignore the momentum that the cloud
movement had built up."
Revitt suggested that the Exalogic appliance is an excellent fit in the product portfolio because it complements the Exadata database appliance.
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