Friendly rivals Marc Benioff and Larry Ellison were on fine form in San Francisco this week during the OpenWorld 2010 show, as each tried to outdo the other over what makes a great cloud computing product.
The spat began on Sunday when the Oracle CEO used his keynote speech to state that Salesforce.com's approach to the cloud was all wrong - not secure, not elastic, not virtualised.
Later in the week, Salesforce head Benioff took to the stage in a venue next door to OpenWorld at the Moscone, and took the opportunity to get his own back on his old boss.
"We come in peace," was Benioff's opener, adding, "I want to thank Larry for the great advertising on Sunday night."
Benioff then had a dig at Oracle's new Exadata machine, which mainly seemed to fascinate him for being taller than he is. "Clouds are not in a box," he said. "You don't need software and hardware engineered to work together," referring to a tagline Oracle has been using at OpenWorld.
Benioff also compared the hundreds of thousands of servers that would be required to run all of Salesforce's 83,000 customers on the Oracle Exalogic model, to the 1,500 Dell PCs the SaaS vendor actually uses.
"Beware of the false cloud," he warned.
Later on that day, Ellison took advantage of his closing night slot to respond to Benioff's comments.
Quoting Benioff, he quipped, "'Larry just doesn't get it, cloud doesn't run in a box'. What does he think Salesforce.com runs on, if not in a box." He pointed out that Salesforce runs on 1,500 Dell PCs, which are all boxes, and then laid into the multi-tenancy model that Salesforce favours as being "a horrible idea" for customers as their data is all stored centrally.
So Larry got the last word - if not such a loud laugh as Benioff.
You can see Benioff doing his stand-up routine in our video from the event.
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