March 25, 2011
Instead of building his own cloud, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison wants to build clouds for just about everybody else. The same statement holds true for Cisco Systems CEO John Chambers.
Their respective strategies go something like this: Offer IT executives, channel partners and cloud service providers the tools they need to launch public and private clouds on their own. Other than some niche applications — such as Oracle CRM on Demand and Cisco WebEx — neither Oracle nor Cisco are trying to build major SaaS or platform as a service businesses.
The latest evidence: Ellison claims Salesforce.com — the popular SaaS platform — was built atop Oracle’s databases and middleware. Equally impressive, Oracle’s latest quarterly results show booming channel demand for Exadata and Exalogic solutions, which are core building blocks for Oracle’s cloud strategy.
Meanwhile, Cisco Systems has shut down its own cloud email service and launched a Cisco Cloud Partner Program — which aims to empower cloud resellers, cloud builders and cloud service providers. CEO Chambers claims Cisco enjoys cloud thought leadership, and CTO Padmasree Warrior has clearly communicated that Cisco has no plans to compete with partners in the cloud.
Back at Oracle, Senior Director of ISV and SaaS Strategy Kevin O’Brien has a similar strategy. O’Brien has been helping ISVs to rewrite their applications for the SaaS and cloud world. He has also championed Oracle’s service provider licensing efforts — giving cloud service providers pay-as-you-go options as they build out their SaaS businesses.
The Other Path Taken
Meanwhile, rivals like IBM, Hewlett-Packard and Microsoft are taking decidedly different paths to the cloud. On the one hand each company is introducing cloud computing partner programs. But on the other hand, IBM, HP and Microsoft each are expanding their own public cloud efforts — setting up potential competition with some channel partners and cloud service providers.
Among the channel-friendly moves worth noting:
HP CEO Leo Apotheker is expected to discuss the HP cloud channel partner strategy at the HP Americas Partner Conference (March 28-31, Las Vegas).
Still, some channel partners will wind up competing with the various HP, IBM and Microsoft public clouds. For the most part, the same can’t be said for Cisco and Oracle — each of which wants to be the foundation for third-party cloud platforms. The one big difference… Cisco will promote cloud computing mainly through channel partners, while Oracle will continue to lean heavily on its direct sales force mixed with channel partner initiatives.
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