My Observations from Oracle Open World 2018
I had the privilege of attending Oracle OpenWorld 2018 in San Francisco. Here are my observations:
1. It is a BIG conference.
Having been to multiple IBM events and other large technology conferences in the past, attending a big show was not a shocker for me. But the size of OpenWorld was larger than I expected at around 60,000 attendees, making it one of the biggest conferences in the Bay Area. And the online version was viewed by close to 2.1 million people. Those numbers indicate Oracle is a force in the technology field, is very relevant, and is reinventing itself.
2. Oracle is building cloud native tools and solutions.
Oracle is getting a lot younger as a company. I happened to catch a conference panel by a few Oracle executives talking about Oracle’s culture, technology and vision. That panel consisted of superstar VPs from the fast-growing divisions of Oracle, including cloud, and they were mostly very young and full of energy. This influx of cloud-born talent goes to show that Oracle is engaging “full pads” with cloud native technologies.
From the engineers to executives, Oracle employees seem to represent a wide variety of cultures and generations, creating a unique energy and enthusiasm around OpenWorld. There is a very interesting mix of languages too — I personally spoke to customers and executives from at least 15 different countries (There were attendees from 145 different countries!)
3. Security is front and center.
One of the major hesitations for enterprises moving to cloud has been security. Looks like Oracle is addressing that issue in its Generation 2 Cloud by approaching security from edge to core — not just at the infrastructure layer. A true enterprise cloud provider should also give complete visibility into the entire network, including internet and infrastructure performance metrics.
Oracle built its cloud with security in mind from the ground up to do just that, which was refreshing to see.
4. Oracle is truly building an enterprise-grade cloud.
When you play catch-up, you can enter the market in one of two ways:
- You can continue building what you have and try to showcase it up a bit to make it look like you are “cloud ready,” while you continue to build under the covers to keep the existing customers happy.
- You can decide to swim with the sharks.
Oracle has decided to take the second approach by building everything from the ground up. When you have four decades worth of enterprise software experience, and the knowledge of where other cloud providers are failing to provide a true enterprise-grade experience, it is easy to build things a little differently.
An enterprise cloud is about more than just cost and ease of use. Sure, a highly configurable infrastructure — with a few quick add-ons like a Mickey Mouse database and a couple of messaging middleware components — can help you build an app or service quickly. But, after the project is approved, are you confident enough to use that same cloud to take it out into the real world?
Oracle seem to be addressing this issue head-on. It will be interesting to see how fast other cloud providers follow suit.
5. Major enterprises do have a choice!
For the last 10 years or so, the choices were very limited whether enterprises wanted to experiment with cloud innovation or migrate their sensitive workloads to cloud. Now these organizations have options to achieve the same levels of reliability, security, availability, and isolation that they have been so used to in their own backyard. When your organization is making this choice, take a hard look at your options. Ask your cloud provider some tough questions and demand the things that are important to you — from security to performance to multicloud support to transparency. Don’t make the decisions based on cost alone!
6. The newer, sexier, higher capacity workloads — such as AI — are going to be your major expense going forward.
With every major organization wanting to do high-performance computing, deep learning, and artificial intelligence workloads, there is a major demand created that cannot be solved by existing data center capacity or existing sets of tools. When you combine real-time augmented reality and virtual reality workloads, the capacity needs could be mind boggling.
Not only is the sizing of these workloads way beyond your current capacity, but the tools required to run them — whether it is for model creation, inference, or cognitive decision making — are beyond the capabilities of what your current infrastructure can support.
When you are deciding on a cloud provider, take into consideration the needs of these modern workloads — not just current legacy workloads.
7. Oracle gets cloud.
By watching executive chairman and CTO Larry Ellison’s keynote, you can tell not only that Oracle “gets” cloud computing but also is “all in” on cloud. The Oracle Cloud Infrastructure organization is headed by a former Amazon Web Services executive, and most of its engineers are born-in-the-cloud, coming from companies such as Amazon, Microsoft, and NVIDIA. It is the fastest-growing unit within Oracle, with more than 7,000 employees currently.
Reach out to us if you want to be part of that excitement! BTW, I am hiring cloud thought leaders and evangelists.