Oracle Cloud Pushes Forward Despite Immense Headwinds
Oracle this year announced a partnership with Microsoft to allow customers of their respective cloud businesses to move and run their mission-critical workloads in the other’s environments, a significant step for each company in the fast-growing public cloud space with a dominant leader in Amazon Web Services (AWS).
It was a particularly important move for Oracle, which over the past few years has been aggressively pushing to expand a cloud business that famously got off to a late start after executives initially dismissed the nascent public cloud market as a passing fad. The company is betting on its long history as a top database and enterprise application vendor to retain current customers and attract new ones to its cloud.
The company also is working to transform its internal operations to embrace licensing and recurring revenue models that are inherent in an increasingly cloud-centric world. During a June 19 conference call to discuss the latest quarterly numbers, Oracle co-CEO Mark Hurd noted that of the $11.5 billion in trailing 12 months revenue, 92% of it was recurring.
In the same call, Hurd and other executives talked about the growth in the cloud business and the number of new customers making the move to Oracle Cloud, particularly the second-generation cloud infrastructure introduced late last year that promised better performance, pricing and security. It includes an autonomous database that automatically encrypts data, backs it up, upgrades and patches. According to Oracle founder and CTO Larry Ellison, the company in the most recent quarter added more than 5,000 trials for its autonomous database.
Furthermore, total cloud services and license support revenue for the quarter grew 3% during the quarter, to $6.8 billion, and cloud license and on-premise license revenues jumped 15%, to $2.5 billion – up 15% – co-CEO Safra Catz said. Technology license growth increased 19%.
“This popularity is largely because our products are capable of doing things others just can’t do, whether it’s security, performance or scalability and in our cloud autonomous capabilities,” Catz said, per Seeking Alpha. “In addition, the recent interconnect agreement with Microsoft will only help accelerate the transition from on-premise database to the autonomous database service.”
Oracle Cloud’s Challenges
However, all this can’t hide the challenges that Oracle faces, including a cloud infrastructure services market that while growing – a 39% year-over-year increase in the second quarter, to $1.6 billion – is dominated by AWS and four other companies in Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform and Chinese providers Alibaba and Tencent, according to Synergy Research Group. The analysts grouped Oracle with IBM, Salesforce and Rackspace as other market leaders with lower growth rates and more of a niche play.
Oracle also faces skepticism in the industry about …