There's no love lost as AWS lures Oracle exec over to lead its Americas sales team

That's going to smooth relations between Larry and Jeff

Cloud computing superpower AWS has secured the services of Oracle veteran Rich Geraffo as veep for its Americas sales team amid the ongoing market tussle with Big Red.

The hiring of Geraffo, who served as Oracle senior veep for North America for six years, could help AWS make up for the database giant's win in hiring former vice president of worldwide marketing at AWS, Ariel Kelman, as its chief marketing officer.

For the IT community at large, Geraffo has posted some homely sentiments on his LinkedIn profie, saying he feels "nothing but gratitude for all of the learnings, growth, insights and relationships" he has cultivated at Oracle.

The post includes a bizarre, slickly produced personal video testimony about the move to AWS, including his son's gaming chair and daughter's wedding album. In the video, he said: "The future is much brighter than the past… when you think about the innovation agenda from a customer's point of view, we're just at the beginning."

Seasoned industry watchers might be at pains to point out that his success may depend as much on technological inertia and cold hard commercials as it does innovation.

The animosity between AWS and Oracle has been pretty public, including Amazon's 2018 decision to quit Big Red's proprietary database wares by 2020. Oracle's response? "We don't believe that Amazon Web Services has any database technology that comes close to the capabilities of the Oracle database."

By April last year, Amazon claimed that Amazon Fulfilment was Oracle-free and by October 2019 the business said it had switched off its final Oracle database in its consumer biz.

AWS evangelist Jeff Barr admitted last autumn that AWS did still use Oracle tech and so wasn't entirely free of Larry's clutches. "Some third-party applications are tightly bound to Oracle and were not migrated," Barr wrote. The company promotes its own relational database service (RDS).

The future of the database in generally thought to be cloud-based.

Back in September, Oracle reported 2 per cent year-on-year gains in its cloud services and licence support revenues as Fusion ERP cloud revenue jumped 33 per cent and NetSuite ERP cloud revenue rose 23 per cent.

AWS has an overwhelming lead in the cloud infrastructure market overall, with a 32 per cent revenue share recorded as of Q3. Azure has a 19 per cent share while Google has 6 per cent, according to Canalys. Oracle didn't register in the top five so has less than a 5 per cent share of the spoils.

Despite AWS's overwhelming lead in the cloud market, Oracle will be hoping its strength in enterprise databases and applications give it leverage as customers continue to move workloads into the cloud.

In September, Oracle founder and CTO Larry Ellison claimed that Oracle customers were choosing to run its software on its cloud because of "much better security, much better reliability, much better performance, and dramatically lower cost: much, much lower cost than AWS."

Considering Oracle gets to set the licensing terms for deploying its software in the cloud, it may have the upper hand, at least with existing Oracle customers. At the same time, it has the option of porting customers to cloud products, such as the Oracle Cloud Exadata database, which are not available on other platforms.

AWS has been beefing up its sales operations for a while, but luring Geraffo from Big Red offers the possibility of going into Oracle customer accounts having built up relationships over the years. There, he can explain the AWS strategy while at the same time understanding Oracle's sales tactics and hotly debated licensing terms. ®

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