A few days before Oracle began its OpenWorld event in San Francisco, Larry Ellison, the tech giant's founder, acknowledged that building a cloud system is hard — and grudgingly admired the way rival Amazon has shown rivals how it's done.
"A lot of people have tried to build cloud systems," Ellison told analysts during Oracle's earnings call. "It's not easy. I can attest to that. I have lots of scars…Our approach, I mean, sometimes they're critical of Amazon. Sometimes I try to learn from what they do. I mean, they were the innovator in cloud, and I give them credit for that."
But Oracle is fighting back, Ellison has said, painting a future when his company would one day play a much bigger —, if not dominant — role in a market now dominated by Amazon, Microsoft and Google.
That message reverberated at the convention where Ellison pivoted back to a more combative tone against Amazon, reminding attendees of the Capital One data breach believed to have been caused by user error that allowed an attacker to breach an Amazon cloud server and steal personal information from millions of customers.
"Clouds are complicated," Ellison said in his speech, in which he again touted Oracle's cloud platform as being far more secure than Amazon's. "The Amazon data breach where Capital One had 100 million of their customers lose their personal information happened because of a mistake…In the AWS cloud, if you make an error, and it leads to a catastrophic data loss, that's on you."
At the conference, some customers and partners expressed optimism about Oracle's chances in the battle against Amazon, even as they pointed to hurdles and some serious baggage the company brings to the fight.