Oracle promises SLAs that halve Amazon's cloud costs

Larry Ellison also pledges 'Autonomous Database' to cut the cost of – gulp – the people who run databases

Oracle chair and chief technology officer has pledged to undercut Amazon Web Services pricing by 50 per cent for infrastructure-as-a-service and platform-as-a-service, in part by increasing use of automation.

Big Red staged a Cloud event on Tuesday, at which Ellison said that the primary cost of running platform-as-a-service (PaaS) is labour and opined that human involvement in running databases or middleware is best avoided.

By automating we reduce the amount of labour needed and also reduce the amount of human error - Larry Ellison

“The way we want to compete in PaaS is to deliver a high degree of automation to our customers,” he said. “By automating a lot of those services, we reduce the amount of labour a customer would need to expend to run the DB database or run the middleware and also reduce the amount of human error associated with that labour.”

“How expensive could an error be?” Ellison asked, then answered by saying “I don't know … if you don't patch the database at Equifax, that could be expensive.”

Oracle's answer to this is a forthcoming “Autonomous Database” that Ellison said will debut in December and feature automatic, non-disruptive patching, will tune-itself as it runs, won't ever miss a backup and won't run without being satisfied it has a disaster recovery rig waiting to pick up the slack.

He also pledged 99.9995 per cent availability and said the 30 minutes a year the database won't work will be planned downtime.

Ellison re-iterated Oracle's claim that its cloud is twice as fast as Amazon's, so can complete your job in half the time. As Oracle aims for price parity with AWS on infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), Ellison declared the Big Red cloud is already half the price of Jeff Bezos' bargain bit barns.

The automated PaaS services are Big Red's plan to beat AWS on price in that arena, backed by what Ellison said are prices that make detailed total cost of ownership calculations moot.

Ellison mentioned SLAs to hold Oracle to his 50 per cent cheaper than AWS pledge, but didn't explain if there are any conditions to the offer. The Register has contacted Oracle representatives to clarify the offer, but has not received a reply at the time of writing.

You'll pay for all of this in new ways. Oracle's created a “universal credit” that you can use for any of its IaaS or PaaS services without having to pre-commit to any particular service.The company has also introduced new bring-your-own licence plans for existing Oracle customers.

Ellison's presentation was a curiously unpolished affair. The CTO repeated himself many times, was out of synch with his slides, seemed a little confused about whether it was his job or a minion's to advance to the next slide, and wore jeans and sneakers that have seen better days. He also needs a quick refresher course in microphone technique.

But despite the slightly shambolic tone of the presentation, one thing shone through: Oracle is going to dare its customers to choose a rival's cloud, then challenge any pricing plan or technology talk they see as representing a viable alternative.

Ellison also clearly used yesterday's event as a warm-up act for Oracle Open World gabfest, which kicks off in just under two weeks. He said we'll hear more about the company's PaaS and database plans at the event. ®

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