Oracle keeps missing the point of cloud computing

Its new funny-money approach to cloud services is a naked attempt to keep customers from using real cloud solutions

I can't make this stuff up: Oracle is going to provide you some cloud options. That seems like a major shift for a company that has long derided the cloud and then tried to redefine "cloud" to mean, basically, hosting. But there's a catch: Oracle is not exactly offering cloud services but instead, in a bid to block defections to competitors such as Workday and Salesforce.com, is letting customers convert their existing annual support purchases into software subscriptions for its SaaS applications.

In other words, you can take the massive amount of money you're tossing at Oracle for applications (and other stuff, I assume) and spend that same massive amount of money for the public cloud versions of the same stuff.

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Why isn't Oracle actually adding value to its customers' business by evolving the use of IT services in more innovative and productive directions?

This latest not-really-cloud move by Oracle makes clear that, despite some hopeful signs last fall:

  1. Oracle does not understand the value of cloud computing for enterprises.
  2. Oracle isn't helping its own situation as cloud continues to gain traction, and instead it continues to miss the cloud boat.

Simply providing the ability to convert dollars spent for on-premises software to cloud-based versions does not get to the true value of using the cloud in the first place. That strategy is really meant to get customers who are looking at more innovative cloud offerings to stay put with Oracle using Oracle funny money that's only good for Oracle cloud stuff.

Using the public cloud is not about shifting resources -- in this case, money -- to the cloud. Instead, it's about shifting how software services are delivered in terms of flexibility, scalability, and currency. Those are the reasons to use cloud computing, not simply to do exactly what you're doing now but to do it at a possibly lower cost.

Enterprises need the cloud to access required services and information when they're needed. They require the ability to change the mix of services as the needs of the business change. This means dealing with many types of clouds and cloud providers and creating the right solution by aggregating these public cloud services. The right solution will never come from picking a single provider such as Oracle.

I don't blame Oracle for its efforts to stem the tide of its users moving to other providers' clouds. But enterprises should be smart enough not to fall for this trick.

This article, "Oracle keeps missing the point of cloud computing," originally appeared at InfoWorld.com. Read more of David Linthicum's Cloud Computing blog and track the latest developments in cloud computing at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

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