Oracle Enters The Public Cloud Business

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Oracle is jumping into the public cloud service business.

CEO Larry Ellison, delivering his closing keynote speech at the Oracle OpenWorld conference Wednesday, said the company's long-gestating Oracle Fusion Applications are finally generally available.

"And I guess if we have new applications to run in the cloud, I guess we need a cloud," he said, debuting the new Oracle Public Cloud service to applause. "When you need a cloud, you need a cloud."

Ellison also surprised the audience by unveiling the Oracle Social Network, a new social networking application that's integrated with the Fusion applications.

The Oracle Public Cloud will combine Platform-as-a-Service and Software-as-a-Service capabilities, Ellison said. Customers will be able to run Oracle Fusion applications, extensions to those applications and custom-build applications on the Oracle Public Cloud. It will offer a database service, a Java service for developers, a data service and a security service.

The Oracle Public Cloud, available on a monthly subscription basis, has self-service sign up, instant provisioning, elastic capacity-on-demand, and the ability to extend cloud applications using Java.

The cloud service puts Oracle in direct competition with other cloud service providers including the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud, the Rackspace Cloud Computing Service, and's service.

Ellison hammered home the point that the Oracle Public Cloud service is based on industry standards, such as XML, Java and BPEL, making it possible to move applications on and off the service and to other services.

"You can take any existing Oracle database and move it to the cloud," Ellison said. "Oh, and by the way, you can move it back if you want to. Or you can move it to the Amazon cloud, if you want. Everything is portable. Your data is portable."

Ellison compared that approach to Oracle's cloud service competitors. He was especially critical of archrival, throwing back Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff's own words to beware of false clouds. "Beware of false clouds," Ellison said. That's good advice."

"It's the ultimate vendor lock-in," Ellison said of Salesforce's use of "proprietary" technologies that he said make it impossible to develop applications in a data center and move them to Salesforce's platform, or move data and applications off to other platforms. "You can check in, but you can't check out. I like to think of it as the roach motel of clouds," Ellison to laughter.

Ellison's digs can on the heels of a public dustup between Oracle and Salesforce Wednesday when Salesforce said Oracle forced it to cancel a speech by Benioff in the Yerba Buena Novellus Theatre, next door to the Moscone Center in San Francisco where Oracle OpenWorld is being held. Benioff gave the speech in a restaurant in a nearby hotel where he had laid the "proprietary technology" charge on Oracle.

Next: Finally Fusion, And A Social Networking Surprise

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