Oracle’s Larry Ellison Takes Dig At Amazon, Talks Up ‘Star Wars Cyber Defenses’


Oracle's Gen2 Cloud protects customer data in a way none of its rivals -- including Amazon -- can, Oracle founder and CTO Larry Ellison claimed Monday to kick off his company's annual OpenWorld conference.

That's because Oracle "fundamentally re-architected" its cloud infrastructure from the ground up with security as its primary concern, implementing a bare-metal model that closes a ubiquitous vulnerability to hackers, Ellison told Oracle partners and customers gathered in San Francisco.

Those "impenetrable force fields,” coupled with "autonomous robots" that hunt down threats, are the two key innovations that deliver "Star Wars cyber defenses," Ellison said.

[Related: 5 Things To Watch For At Oracle OpenWorld]

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There's a "fundamental problem with the architecture of the cloud," Ellison said, not surprisingly choosing Amazon Web Services as an example of that problem.

AWS, and just about all other providers, place their control code on the same servers that host customer workloads, according to Ellison.

"That means you better trust your customers," he said. "You better trust all your customers."

CRN has contacted Amazon for comment.

A malicious customer can do many pernicious things through their accounts—change the provider's control code, access different servers, look at other customers' data and exfiltrate that data, Ellison said.

Oracle solved those problems when it built its second-generation Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI), creating new hardware configurations and software that implement a network of dedicated, independent servers running cloud control systems at the perimeter of the network.

Barriers surround each individual customer zone in Oracle's cloud, so a "malicious customer cannot move laterally in our cloud," he said.

"The current state of the art just not good enough," Ellison said. That's made clear by the fact that the "smartest technology companies are routinely penetrated."

To further bolster security, Oracle deploys advanced artificial intelligence in the form of autonomous robots that search and destroy threats.

The bare-metal nature of Oracle's cloud doesn't mean customers can't take a multi-tenant approach if they wish to realize cost savings by not provisioning dedicated infrastructure. But Oracle will never place its own control code on those systems, Ellison said. "Users can have it all to themselves."

While security drove the initiative that upgraded Oracle's cloud infrastructure, there were other design goals, especially easing the process of moving data and workloads into the cloud.

Oracle also added "a lot of automation" to make operations run a lot smoother and safer, Ellison said.

That delivers overall price-performance that's much better than what customers get on-premises, he said.

Oracle is also implementing that approach to security and automation up the stack, Ellison said.

Its autonomous database technology builds on the advantages of its Gen2 infrastructure.

The "most-important component of our Gen2 cloud is our autonomous database," Ellison said. The database pioneer has made a lot of progress in advancing and bringing to market that self-managing, self-patching, self-healing technology since it was first unveiled at last year's OpenWorld.

"Autonomous database is guaranteed to be half the price of what Amazon charges you," Ellison said before running a number of benchmarks showing Oracle infrastructure completing jobs far faster than Amazon's Aurora and RedShift databases.

"When you move to our cloud you save money. When you move to their cloud, you pay more," he said of AWS.

All Oracle infrastructure and database services now come standard on Gen2 technology.

Oracle has also migrated its Fusion and NetSuite Software-as-a-Service applications to Gen2 infrastructure, he said.

"Everything's going in that direction," he said. "All of our SaaS applications, all of our customers."

Oracle is rapidly expanding its footprint, building cloud data centers around the world.

That effort extends into customers' on-premises data centers with Oracle's Cloud@Customer, which is proving a popular product, Ellison said.

By next summer, databases running on Cloud@Customer will be ready for upgrades to the autonomous services with a push of a button. Later in the calendar year, the same will be true for all the on-premises version of Oracle's cloud.

Ellison also announced that, for its most security-conscious customers, Oracle is offering dedicated Exadata machines in its public cloud.