But Oracle's cloud eschews that approach for very good reasons, Ellison said. "That's a very bad security model. It's called multitenancy and it was state of the art 15 years ago. This is 2011. All the modern compute clouds use virtualization as part of their security model. You get a separate virtual machine, your data's in a separate database because it's virtualized. They put your data at risk by commingling it with others."
Ellison's evisceration of Salesforce.com came after the latest public volley from Benioff at Oracle, which rescheduled an appearance he was to make Wednesday at OpenWorld to Thursday. Benioff loudly characterized the move as a cancellation, drawing much media attention on Tuesday, while Oracle maintained it did so due to overbooking and space problems at the show, which drew some 45,000 people.
Benioff took Ellison's ribbing in stride on his Twitter feed. "You can't buy this type of advertising. Thank you Larry," one message from Benioff states. "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery," he said in another.
The Oracle Public Cloud will be available through subscription pricing, Ellison said. It will offer instant provisioning and elastic capacity on demand.
Ellison's announcement had been predicted by some analysts, as IDG News Service first reported last week.
Ellison did not reveal when the service will be available, but presumably the date is imminent or has already arrived, given that its marquee tenant, Fusion Applications, are now in general release after six years of development.
Fusion Applications are supposed to combine the best attributes of Oracle's various business software lines into a next-generation suite. The initial release includes some 100 modules. Fusion is differentiated from SAP, Salesforce.com, Workday, and other applications by the fact it can be run either on-demand or on-premises, Ellison said.
"You have a choice, and I'm pro-choice. The guys at Salesforce.com are not pro-choice," he said.
Ellison defended the delays in Fusion's release.
"It took a little longer than we planned but it was a huge, huge engineering project to present a huge integrated suite ... with all the different pieces rebuilt on top of modern technology. It's complete, integrated and finally here," he said.
Ellison described how Oracle along with customers "worked and reworked" the software until it was complete.
Security is built into the underlying infrastructure, Ellison said. "We didn't put security into Fusion Applications, we upgraded the infrastructure so it's built into the virtual machine and the operating system and the database. Anything built on top of that infrastructure is secure. That's especially important in the world of the cloud and the public Internet."
In addition, Ellison announced and demonstrated the Oracle Social Network, which incorporates social-networking functionality into Fusion Applications.
The system uses many of the familiar aspects of social sites like Facebook, such as information feeds and document sharing.
Ellison's keynote capped a busy week at OpenWorld marked by a slew of new product announcements, including the Big Data Appliance and Exalytics Business Intelligence Machine.
He delivered his remarks with noticeable good cheer, apparently unaware of the death of his close friend, Apple CEO Steve Jobs, news of which broke toward the end of the keynote.
Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris's email address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com.