As Oracle CEO Larry Ellison touts the cloud-readiness of Fusion, he needs to deal with some critical questions around pricing and features.
The final trip into bizzaro land came courtesy of Mark Hurd, who got the last 10 minutes of the day to talk about support--something every Oracle customer cares about deeply. Oracle calls it Platinum support, and it specifies a five-minute response, resolution or escalation within 15 minutes, and joint debugging within 30 minutes. Hurd hushed the crowd for the kicker: "And the best part is, it's free!"
For just a moment I sat there thinking, wow, Oracle giving away support for free, that's something. But then I reminded myself, as Hurd bragged about how Oracle could do this amazing thing, that we're talking about software-as-a-service. Only Oracle could turn a SLA backwards and tell you how lucky you were that it wasn't going to charge you for debugging its code running on its hardware, all sitting in its data center. Those 5 or 15 or 30 minutes that you aren't getting the service you paid for--it's free platinum support. Typically, SaaS vendors give you a credit when that happens.
If I had a choice of SaaS vendors, I'd probably stay away from any with an entitled attitude like this. It's like going to a restaurant and being offered free insurance on your meal because "it doesn't happen often, but sometimes we food poison people." I'll pass.
But it gets better. How did Hurd claim it was possible for Oracle to offer such great service? Well it's because they've engineered everything and every component to work together--and no one else in the world can claim that, he explained.
First of all, the folks in Armonk might have something to say about that. Second, Oracle doesn't come close to "engineering every component." It doesn't make hard drives. It doesn't make memory chips. It doesn't make the CPUs that go into the Exa-family (Intel makes those.) I'm willing to bet that the InfiniBand switch in the Exa hardware that Larry couldn't stop talking about--mentioning the arcane internal networking between systems at least four times--was made by someone other than Sun. What Sun/Oracle does is integrate some of its own stuff with stuff from others and then take responsibility for it all working together. Sounds pretty much like every other SaaS vendor I know of.
So is Fusion in the cloud a good product? Just as good as Fusion itself is, I suppose. Should you want it? That's hard to say, without any pricing information. Should you take Oracle at its word about any of this? Just make sure you do a sanity check on any claims first.