On Day Two of Oracle Open World 2009, San Francisco awoke to an apocalyptic rainstorm. The word around the conference: “That’ll teach Larry not to diss clouds”.
On the evidence of what I saw, I think that maybe the clouds had a point.
Our Session · It was called “The Cloud: Why and How”, presented by myself, Craig McClanahan, and Toby Gray, who’s a technology AVP in AT&T’s Business Solutions division, and is engaged in building out some stuff based on those Sun Cloud APIs that Craig and I have been working on. Toby is a really smart and engaging guy; if any of my readers are thinking “Telco dork”, I’ll just mention that he rolled out another recent service offering on Heroku.
Oracle Develop is a small skinny tail on the Oracle Open World dog. Also, the Sun sessions were added late, didn’t show up in the paper handout, and weren’t exactly supported by a massive marketing push. As a result, some of them were, let’s say, thinly attended.
Not ours; you could have got a few more people in the room, but not many. The only way that people could have found out about the session was through the schedule planner’s search function; it’s the same (abysmal in my opinion) one we use for JavaOne; so anyone who fought their way through to our session by definition seriously cares about clouds.
The questions were smart, including a few issues I hadn’t really thought about; for example, how are IT departments going to restructure their budget process and chargeback mechanisms to deal with utility-style costs, as opposed to the current capex-heavy approach? And how are vendors (for example, Oracle) going to design licensing structures for delivery in a cloud ecosystem?
I’m not going to try to summarize Toby’s message, except to say that if you care about this stuff, I’d advise paying close attention to what they start rolling out in the near future.
Mike and the Back-Channel · In Michael Dell’s keynote, he and his CIO pounded the Cloud drum quite a bit, to good effect I think. Now obviously Dell wants to sell infrastructure iron behind private clouds, but on the other hand his arguments for why people might want to go there were pretty sane and reasonable.
Finally, I was watching both the #oow09 tweetstream and the blogosphere pretty closely; there was some vocal disgruntlement that none of the Oracle keynotes visited the cloud space.
So, I dunno, maybe this whole cloud thing really just is a buttload of hype and arm-waving. I don’t think so. But one thing I know for sure: Right at the moment, Oracle’s customers seem more interested in it than Oracle does itself. It’ll be interesting to see how this shakes out.