Our main priority is to move customers to the cloud, says Oracle's UK chief

Oracle is finally betting big on IaaS cloud services. That has been the main headline at Oracle OpenWorld this week. And it's a message UK country leader Dermot O'Kelly was very keen to drive home during his interview with ComputerworldUK.

The company is trying to shed its image as being primarily a SaaS, and to a lesser extent PaaS, provider. Instead this week its focus was on taking on AWS within the IaaS market, an ambitious plan given AWS has a larger share of the market than its next three rivals (Microsoft, IBM and Google) combined.

O'Kelly positions Oracle as now being able to provide its customers with the entire IT stack in the cloud.

"Most of the customers we deal with worldwide haven't moved significant workloads to the cloud yet," O'Kelly explains.

That's something Oracle is now hoping to change. "My main priority is to drive customer adoption to the cloud. That's my focus for next couple of years," he adds.

It's less clear what differentiates Oracle from other IaaS providers, and what benefit if any customers will have if they choose Oracle for their full stack rather than buying the IaaS layer elsewhere.

O'Kelly notably does not say Oracle will be cheaper than rivals. He claims the advantage will be convenience, easier integration, flexibility and performance. "Our performance is way better than Amazon," he claims.

"If you still go with Amazon that's fine, but you stop at that IaaS level. With Oracle we can just provide compute, but once that's done we can also look at platforms, software and easier integration," O'Kelly adds.

As an example he says if a big organisation needs extra functionality on top of its SaaS HR system, using Oracle for both SaaS and IaaS can remove the problem of integrating custom code. "The platform we've built the application on has the same user interface," he says.

While Oracle may have some advantage over AWS when it comes to its existing large enterprise customers, O'Kelly even sees its IaaS solutions taking on AWS within startups, though he admits it may not be perceived as the usual choice.

"They now know they can get quality at a price they can afford. It can be hard to scale but we make it as elastic as you want. Clearly price is a factor. I think if it's just bare metal you need you'll look mainly at price. But the value we can give is enormous as you go up the stack," he says.

Oracle clearly has some big, bold ambitious within the IaaS market. But whether it can make inroads in the face of such tough competition, and so late on in the day, remains to be seen. O'Kelly himself admits, "perception is reality". The question is: can Oracle change perceptions?

Copyright © 2016 IDG Communications, Inc.

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