Oracle Cloud Revenues: Reality Check

Oracle Cloud Revenues: Reality Check

Oracle cloud revenues are approaching a $1 billion run rate, according to President Mark Hurd. But what does that really mean?

Oracle Corp. (NASDAQ: ORCL) says its cloud business is already approaching a one billion dollar run rate, and "will become much bigger over time," according to President Mark Hurd. That sounds impressive but it's somewhat difficult to get a feel for Oracle's overall cloud computing performance because the company is blurring the line between traditional software conversations and cloud conversations.

In its Q2 2013 earnings results, announced yesterday, Oracle said "new software licenses and cloud software subscriptions revenues were up 17 percent to $2.4 billion." But that wording essentially lumps traditional software and cloud software into a single pile. I'd really like to see the line items broken out to get a better feel for the on-premises vs. cloud revenue mix.

Meanwhile, Hurd in a prepared statement mentioned Oracle's march to a $1 billion cloud business run rate. But that's not really a new statement. Hurd made a similar declaration during an April 2012 analyst meeting in Redwood Shores, Calif.

Oracle has made multiple cloud moves this year. The company continues to promote its Exadata and Exalogic platforms for building public and private clouds. Moreover, Oracle's own cloud is now rolling out, and Channel Chief Judson Althoff has been looping in partners.

But Oracle's cloud strategy also faces plenty of question marks. Chief among them: Just how much recurring revenue -- what are the margins -- can partners generate from Oracle Cloud? Also, can partners such as MSPs monitor and manage applications running in Oracle's cloud? I don't have clear answers to either question.

Still, I do see Oracle gaining cloud momentum. Mark Hurd has put the stake in the ground, repeating his $1 billion cloud run rate multiple times. How soon until he ups the ante to $1.5 billion -- or perhaps even $2 billion?


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