I was not surprised to hear Amazon's announcement that it now rocks Oracle's database in its cloud. Clearly it's a response to Salesforce.com's Database.com, but it also addresses the fact that most enterprises love Oracle.
Currently Amazon offers MySQL on demand, an open source relational database. However, I suspect that enterprises and government agencies did not want to give up their existing Oracle installations -- and perhaps for good reason.
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Migrating from Oracle is a pretty risky proposition, considering how dependent many applications are on Oracle's features and functions. Indeed, as I work the cloud-migration project circuits, I find that those companies on Oracle stay on Oracle. Although they will consider open source alternatives for some projects, most enterprises and government agencies cite the existing skill sets within the organizations and a successful track record as the reasons they are remaining with Larry.
This is will likely be the norm as more organizations move to the cloud. Other examples of this kind of inertia are those companies that use .Net and SQL Server; they will stay with the Microsoft stack with Windows Azure. Even those that use SaaS versions of their existing enterprise applications may stay loyal to their brand, even though there are other SaaS providers that provide better features and functions. They know what they know.
What's interesting about all this is that the larger software players may actually gain many more users, but make much less money. Also, look at the traditional channels for selling big expensive databases. They are moving to an on-demand model, which goes against the way software giants have done business for the last 30 years. We could see some pushback as they begin to understand the longer-term effects of the movement to the cloud.
The result of all this for most enterprises is that the ostensible cloud effort becomes a mere platform change, not a true migration into the cloud. This "move to an outside platform" approach could be the right move for most of them, all things considered. However, this does not mean that open source tools won't gain in popularity as the cloud progresses. Instead, the status quo will just get a new address.
This article, "Amazon's Oracle move shows open source won't gain in the cloud," 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.