Racing To The Cloud: Scenes From Oracle OpenWorld 2015

OpenWorld Mania

There are big tech conferences, and then there's OpenWorld, an event large enough to match the ambition of the company's founder, chairman and current chief technical officer, Larry Ellison.

Oracle doesn't play small ball, doesn't do niche -- if there was a theme throughout OpenWorld, it was that Oracle would continue competing aggressively on all fronts, from on-premise infrastructure to the cloud, across industries and at every level of the stack.

To that end, Oracle let loose during the conference a barrage of new products, from a state-of-the-art microprocessor to a hyper-converged system to enterprise SaaS applications.

Oracle is attacking the competition by land, air and sea.

Racing To The Cloud

Larry Ellison might just be the most competitive person in the world.

That characteristic wasn't lost in the two keynotes he delivered at OpenWorld 2015, where, clad in familiar black V-neck, Ellison casually dissected the many inadequacies of those who would dare compete with Oracle.

The jet pilot, yacht racing financier and all-around Silicon Valley samurai had choice words for SAP, IBM, Amazon Web Services and many others.

And the race Ellison now seems most intent on winning is the one to the cloud.

The man who once voiced dismay over the very notion of cloud computing, who thought the term itself was plain idiotic, who compared cloud to women's fashion, told OpenWorld attendees that Oracle, based on the completeness of its offerings across the stack, would emerge as the dominant force in cloud computing.

A Boat

Winning America's Cup on his home turf was obviously a big deal for Ellison -- big enough to miss delivering a keynote at OpenWorld 2013 to watch the vessel he sponsored make a historic comeback in San Francisco Bay.

The champion AC72 wing-sail catamaran's dual hull made a nice backdrop for an outdoor lounge outside the main pavilion.

A Plane

If there's one thing Ellison seems to enjoy more than going fast through the water, it's going really, really fast through the air. (In a keynote, he said the interesting thing about flying a jet is it's not that hard to do -- it's just hard to learn to do.)

The Oracle Challenger III Biplane, piloted by legendary aviator Sean Tucker, is a staple at air shows, dazzling spectators with its aerial acrobatics.

A Car

MemSQL likes to access data fast.

But the McLaren supercar the in-memory database developer brought to OpenWorld was seen leaving the exhibition hall going very, very slow.

As crews were tearing down the pavilion, the McLaren, which could easily crack 200 mph, was well within the speed limit while driving out of the crowded building.

And A Scooter

If a biplane, a supercar, or a customized yacht are all out out of your price range, LoadSpring offered visitors to its booth a chance at owning their very own Lance scooter.

The cloud-based project management solution vendor might have been on to something.

With OpenWorld snarling traffic across downtown San Francisco, the scooter would almost certainlyhave beaten the McLaren to a cross-town meeting.


With there were plenty of exciting vehicles on display throughout OpenWorld, they were all there just for show and tell.

For Oracle partners actually looking to take the controls, Infosys, a global systems integrator and first Oracle partner to reach Diamond status, allowed visitors to its booth to get behind the wheel of a racing simulator and experience some virtual speed.


SplashBI is all about visibility, data integration and on-demand reporting.

But business intelligence demos alone don't make for a splashy booth.

On the other hand, just about everyone likes mini golf. Especially when you're putting for cash.


RunnerTech sells software that validates physical addresses to simplify direct mailing.

Apparently the technology makes customers so at ease that they find time to hang out at this surf shack.


Oracle put on display its complete line of Engineered Systems that feature hardware and software integrated into a complete, hyper-converged, finely tuned and ready-to-deploy platform.

Engineered Systems, like the flagship Exadata, are optimized across the stack for specific workloads -- something Oracle alone can do because it has under its roof the full range of components, Ellison said. The product line got its name because the software and hardware engineers actually sit in the same area and work together, he said.

Stairway To Cloud

Getting to the cloud can be a long, arduous climb for a legacy solution provider. So was leaving the crowded morning keynotes for OpenWorld attendees who didn't want to squeeze through the bottleneck onto the escalators.

Cup Of Brew

Sometimes you need a good brew to perk up during a busy day. Other times you need some brew to wind down once that day ends.

Lenovo was offering both to OpenWorld attendees who swung by its Tap And Brew station -- coffee during the day, beer later in the afternoon.

Cup Winning Crew

Not only was the hull of the Oracle Team USA catamaran that won the 2013 America's Cup showcased outside the convention hall, but so were some of the crew.

The champion sailors were on hand to provide first-person accounts of what it's like to cruise the San Francisco Bay at 50 knots, which, by the way, is faster than the wind propelling the boat.

Hurd's Words

Much of the action at OpenWorld happened behind the scenes, where Oracle executives talked with customers, partners and media in more intimate settings about the company's new products and strategic goals.

CEO Mark Hurd, after delivering his Monday morning keynote, answered questions from reporters about the software giant's plans to conquer the cloud market by leveraging its solutions across the stack, from IaaS to PaaS to an extensive suite of SaaS applications.

Fresh Air

Outside the main convention hall, Oracle provided plenty of lounge space for attendees to meet, snack, work and unwind.

Those who didn't feel like braving the crowds inside the convention hall watched the keynotes on outdoor displays.

Rocket Man

Everyone was excited about the Oracle Appreciation Event on Treasure Island.

But for those who couldn't wait to see Elton John perform at the OpenWorld after-party, or didn't expect to get close enough to take a photo with the legendary musician, Graviton Consulting Services, a specialist at deploying PeopleSoft solutions, provided a cardboard cutout of Sir Elton.

Concert Night

Elton John ultimately took the stage at the Oracle Appreciation Event on Treasure Island, entertaining OpenWorld attendees beneath the hulking Bay Bridge.

Beck closed out the evening for those willing to stay up past midnight.