Oracle's best-of-breed strategy, as described by president Mark Hurd

Oracle's new Fusion applications and plans to win in the evolving server market

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It used to be easy journalistic shorthand to write 'database-giant Oracle Corp.', but that labeling no longer fits a company that's now a key player in applications, appliances, servers, development tools, operating systems and, yes, even cloud computing. How do all these components gel into a coherent plan for IT customers? What makes Oracle better than the other big integrated systems players like HP and IBM? In this latest installment of the IDG Enterprise CEO Interview Series, Oracle President Mark Hurd spoke with IDGE Chief Content Officer John Gallant about Oracle's strategy and why the company is uniquely positioned to help IT leaders deal with the difficult challenges they're facing today. Hurd also clarified Oracle's stance on cloud -- a position clouded -- sorry -- by some earlier comments from CEO Larry Ellison -- and what makes Oracle's approach better than 'very old' cloud solutions like salesforce.com. He explained more about customer migrations to Oracle's new Fusion applications and discussed how Oracle plans to win in the evolving server market.

Talk about the unifying strategy at Oracle today. We hear a lot about Oracle wanting to be the 'one-stop shop' or owing the entire computing stack. But put it in your own words: What's Oracle's strategy?

Right now we're working on four things. We're trying to be best-of-breed at every layer of the stack, whether that's at the hardware layer, silicon or storage. We're trying to be best-of-breed in OS's, in databases, in middleware and applications. We want to work in heterogeneous environments and have a high level of enterprise fit -- to be the best at everything we do. And we line up -- engineering to sales -- to do that.

Secondly, we then vertically integrate those pieces. We will take those very same piece-part capabilities that I described and bring them together into a vertically integrated system, like what you see in Exadata, Exalogic and Exalytics, that can provide extreme performance and extreme benefits from a total cost of ownership perspective. For example, the Exadata solution can deliver 70-times improvement in performance -- a report that took 70 minutes now takes one minute. So we're vertically integrating for extreme improvement in performance and TCO for our customers.

Thirdly, we are building out our industry capabilities. We're building out our ability to solve our customers' problems that are unique by industry. We have a group focused exclusively on building out solutions in industries like retail, banking, health care, utilities, areas like these. That supplements the other two pieces I described.

Fourth, we want the ability to deliver all the capabilities I just described any way the customer wants to get them, through whatever delivery architectures are appropriate for them. We've announced the Oracle Public Cloud -- and I want to make sure I'm clear in differentiating the Oracle Public Cloud. This is an open public cloud. If you want to move data from our cloud to Amazon and then move it back to our cloud, our cloud is open. It won't be like a proprietary cloud from another company, where once you're in their cloud you can't get out. Ours is standards based. At the same time, we can help you architect a private cloud or you can take our applications and our capability onsite and -- just as important -- you can mix and match. You can have a division that's on HCM [human capital management] applications in Asia in the cloud and you could have a division in HCM onsite. You can have your CRM the opposite way, if you so choose and you can change your mind.

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