Q&A: Oracle' s Hurd On Public Cloud, Salesforce.com, And Sales Strategies


You once called yourself a Chief Channel Zealot. Have you taken on the same role at Oracle?

I don't think of it that way. I like the channel for all the reasons I have told you. I got that same sort of feeling at HP. It wasn't the way it worked at HP either. It is just the right way to run the business. And I think that for channel partners this view that it is sort of like some affection. It is not. It is just good business.

I actually believe strategically what I told you is right. So therefore you are not a channel zealot. You are just a zealot to get the model right. To get the strategy right. That is why it is sustainable.

Therefore this has got to be a sustainable strategy and what we invest in to it (has to be sustainable). If I could get an alignment on a core banking solution that I can get down there. Or even to be honest with you as we build the Oracle Public Cloud.

The Oracle Public Cloud is a very attractive channel offering.So let me give you an idea of what we are doing. (Oracle CEO) Larry (Ellison) announced the public cloud. I thought Larry was very good talking about the difference between our cloud and other clouds. The ability for us to now take our capabilities whether it is Java, middleware, development tools and the ability to get people that aren't the biggest companies in the world, can be an offer that could make sense to the channel.

So for us we are never going to get to be as big as we could be and as great as we could be without more distribution. So it just makes a lot of sense.

Our understanding is Oracle Database Appliance is the first channel only product. Talk about that.

We have no problem selling them direct. It was designed to be channel friendly and that is the primary vehicle we take it through. But just like if you said to me would we sell an Exadata through the channel, to (Oracle Channel Chief) Judson (Althoff's) point, we would. Nothing we do is designed with only one purpose.

We are trying to build things for the broader marketplace. And yet when we do things to make things channel friendly. Easy. One of the nice things about ODA (Oracle Database Appliance) is everything is preinstalled.

We want to take work off the channel partners' back. We also want to preprovision the support. So the fact that you can go in now and actually get automated service requests back to Oracle. There is no finger pointing. You don't troubleshoot.

How big a breakthrough is the Oracle Database Appliance for someone who buys IT?

I think this whole renaissance of what is going to happen in the industry over the next several years is going to be that this stuff is going to be integrated. The industry was fairly vertically integrated. It is, if you will, disintegrated over the past several years to where you have these federated things.

I think as Larry was talking about at Oracle OpenWorld is given the huge performance improvements you are going to see a move to go back towards vertical integration. It just brings so much leverage.

By the way, just so we are clear, because I wouldn't want you to write we have totally rotated the company to vertically integrated systems. Our strategy is four fold: number one we want to be best of breed at every level of the architecture. So the channel partner that says - 'You know. Great idea - I don't want to do that. I want to buy database from Oracle. I want to buy middlware from Oracle. I want to buy Oracle Enterprise Linux. But I want to do that the way I want to do it.' That is fine.

Our strategy is to be best of breed at every layer of the architecture, to have a high level of enterprise fit in heterogenous environments and the second strategy is to take those best of breed piece parts and vertically integrate them and create these engineered systems that give an extreme difference in performance.

So for us it is both. And I think we will have channel partners that will want to do one or the other, some that will do both. We are going to have customers that do a little bit of both.

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