Oracle launches worldwide cloud-computing tour

The 50-plus-date road show series follows repeated mocking of the concept by CEO Ellison

Oracle has officially put both legs on the cloud-computing bandwagon, recently launching a roughly 50-date global road show on the topic for developers and system administrators.

The move stands in contrast to CEO Larry Ellison's well-publicized mocking of cloud computing, which he has deemed a rebranding and conflation of existing technologies. But it's not as if the ongoing tour wasn't telegraphed.

During a recent webcast on how the company plans to use the assets it gained from the purchase of Sun Microsystems, executives indicated Oracle's main focus will be on helping customers build private clouds. In 2008, Ellison himself said, albeit with sarcasm, that Oracle would make cloud computing announcements in the future.

"If orange is the new pink we'll make orange blouses. I'm not going to fight this thing," he said. "Maybe we'll do an ad. I don't understand what we would do differently in the light of cloud computing other than ... change the wording on some of our ads."

But the road show will apparently go further than that by detailing in depth Oracle's particular take on cloud computing, a label that has been slapped on everything from virtualized, scalable pools of computing infrastructure such as that sold by Amazon Web Services, to SaaS (software-as-a-service) applications.

Attendees of the events will be able to "break through the haze" surrounding the topic, as "Oracle experts" clarify how companies can take advantage of "enterprise cloud computing."

Topics will include tips on developing a private cloud, how to move current IT environments to a cloud-like structure, and how to use public cloud options such as AWS.

The company simply has to stake a public claim in cloud computing given how pervasive the market forces in this direction are, said 451 Group analyst China Martens. One issue facing Oracle is how to include the Sun technologies in its plans, and that work is probably not complete, she added.

The company has already made it fairly clear it has no immediate designs on Amazon's turf, as it has abandoned Sun's plans for a public cloud service.

Oracle has some time to formulate its own answer, according to Martens.

"Whatever [Ellison] says is going to get lots and lots of play, and sometimes he says whatever comes into his head. And Oracle has to pull back and rephrase that. That's what they're doing, but slowly and carefully," she said. "They can set their own pace but have to show they're listening to the market and [are] not in a bubble."

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