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9/22/2010
10:10 AM
Bob Evans
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Global CIO: Larry Ellison Swaps Cloud Rants For Cloud Love With Exalogic

Theatrics aside, Ellison's conversion from cloud-ranter to cloud-computing arms merchant reveals a great deal about today's rapidly shifting IT landscape.

"And those clusters are now called private clouds—that's the more-fashionable term for clusters—and we're using our software, our operating system—both Solaris and Oracle Linux—and our virtualization—the ability to dynamically allocate and reallocate resources, which is essential for cloud computing—as well as integrated networking and integrated storage to deliver a complete private cloud to our customers."

Note that as Ellison is at the point where he begins weaving cloud computing into Oracle's technology strategy and business strategy, the tirades disappear, there are no veins popping on the forehead, no sputtering: just a clear and cogent articulation of how these highly virtualized approaches will create more value for customers.

But speaking of vein-popping tirades—maybe the best one Ellison ever delivered was about a year ago in a public interview he gave at The Churchill Club. In one portion of a long and compelling interview you can view on YouTube, the whole "what is cloud computing" thing comes up and Ellison, playing to the crowd, rips into it:

"My objection is the absurdity—the absurdity!—it's not that I don't like the idea—it's this [he sneers] NONSENSE—I mean, the guys say, 'Oh, it's in the CLOUD! Well, what is that? And then [to interviewer] you say, 'Are we dead?' Uh, yeah, we're dead--if there's no hardware or software in the cloud we are so [big sneer] screwed . . . . But it's NOT water vapor! All it is is a computer attached to a NETWORK—what are you TALKING about?? [crowd roars with laughter] I mean, whadda you think Google RUNS on? Do they run on WATER VAPOR? I mean, cloud--it's DATABASES, and OPERATING SYSTEMS, and MEMORY, and MICROPROCESSORS, and THE INTERNET!! [big applause from crowd]

"And all of a sudden, 'NO, IT'S NONE OF THAT—IT'S THE CLOUD!!' What are you TALKING ABOUT?? Now—and the VCs—I love the VCs: 'We only fund—oh, is that cloud? Whoa, whoa—Microsoft Word—change 'Internet' to 'cloud'—mass change—and give it back to these NITWITS on Sand Hill Road!"

Clearly, the moral of this story is that, as Aristotle said, change is eternal. Which means that what seems like utter NONSENSE today could well become the strategic breakthrough of tomorrow.

So keep those options—and minds—open.

RECOMMENDED READING:

Global CIO: Larry Ellison And The New Oracle Rock The Tech World

Global CIO: Oracle's New Fusion Apps: An Inside Look

Larry Ellison Rips Red Hat Linux, But Stays Committed

Global CIO: Will Larry Ellison Launch Bidding War With IBM For Netezza?

Global CIO: Oracle Product Chief Offers Glimpse At New Fusion Apps

Global CIO: Oracle Launches 'Cloud In A Box' And New Cloud Business

Global CIO: At Oracle Open World, Oracle Commits To Cloud Computing

Global CIO: Larry Ellison's Top 10 Priorities At Oracle Open World

Global CIO: Larry Ellison Embraces Cloud Computing's 'Idiocy'

Global CIO: Oracle CEO Larry Ellison On The Future Of IT

GlobalCIO Bob Evans is senior VP and director of InformationWeek's Global CIO unit.

To find out more about Bob Evans, please visit his page.

For more Global CIO perspectives, check out Global CIO,
or write to Bob at bevans@techweb.com.

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