Salesforce CEO and Chairman Marc Benioff stalked the DreamForce 2010 keynote stage and the aisles Tuesday like a preacher with a strong warning for cloud nation: "Beware of the false cloud."
Benioff's DreamForce cloud evangelism and his venom were targeted directly at Oracle and CEO Larry Ellison, as the two top executives continue their tit-for-tat about who is cloud and who isn't.
During his Oracle OpenWorld keynote, Ellison said Salesforce was not cloud computing. Instead, he dismissed Salesforce as "really only one or two applications that run on the Internet," and said the Force.com cloud development platform is for "doing little add-ons or little interfaces to Salesforce's applications."
Benioff begs to differ.
With an image of Oracle's Exalogic Elastic Cloud Server, Ellison's "big honkin' cloud" or a private cloud-in-a-box offering, looming behind him, Benioff called for the death of the false cloud.
Not coincidentally, Benioff's DreamForce plea to kill the false cloud came at the same Moscone Center where Ellison disparaged Salesforce's cloud positioning in September.
Benioff told the DreamForce San Francisco faithful -- nearly 15,000 listening live and roughly 30,000 registered -- that the cloud is fast, it's real-time and it's inexpensive. To illustrate that, Benioff said all of Salesforce's nearly 90,000 customers are run on a mere 1,500 Dell PCs.
And the cloud doesn't and shouldn't require additional hardware and software, Benioff said.
"Why are we buying more boxes? Why do we need more software for cloud computing?" he asked, later adding "The cloud is not a box. It just isn't. There are no apps marketplaces if your cloud is a box."
Benioff mocked the line of servers Oracle had on-stage during OpenWorld, all in Oracle-red and running the plethora of applications Oracle has acquired over the year. "It was our whole industry lined up as a series of red cubes," Benioff said. "That was not the cloud."
To prove what a true cloud is and what it is not, Benioff suggested a "cloud computing test." To pass, a true cloud must have zero hardware and software costs, update automatically, be scalable, be democratic and have access apps marketplaces. He added that a true cloud must also curb energy consumption.
"The false cloud is not efficient, is not democratic, is not economical and is not environmental," he said, adding that a proprietary mainframe is not a cloud.
Another slap at Oracle was Benioff's and Salesforce's launch of Salesforce Database.com offering at DreamForce. The cloud-based database service lets developers build applications for use with any programming language, platform or device. Database.com worms into Oracle's bread and butter data base territory. "Databases need to move into the cloud from the mainframe to the client," he said.
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