Salesforce and Oracle tie-up is the real deal


That’s more like it.

If the Microsoft and Oracle was a trifle underwhelming, then the Salesforce and Oracle tie-up is more of the real thing. All talk of false clouds and ejection from conferences has been shrugged aside as Salesforce’s CEO Marc Benioff and Oracle’s Larry Ellison come together.

It’s not quite clear what the partnership means. According to the press statement, plans to standardise on the Oracle Linux operating system, Exadata engineered systems, the Oracle Database, and Java Middleware Platform. Oracle plans to integrate with Oracle’s Fusion HCM and Financial Cloud, and provide the core technology to power's applications and platform. will also implement Oracle’s Fusion HCM and Financial cloud applications throughout the company.

One of the most interesting parts of the deal is the reference to Exadata, Oracle’s hardware systems. Salesforce has always made much of its reliance on commodity hardware. Indeed, it’s only a couple of years ago that I saw Marc Benioff and Michael Dell enjoy a love-in on stage (or at least via a video link) as Benioff swore undying passion for Dell servers, decrying those companies who built their cloud offerings around proprietary servers as purveyors of ‘false cloud’.

How times change: now Michael has been replaced by Larry and the talk is of Exadata rather than commodity servers. It’s true that the likes of Google and Amazon have moved away from commodity kit, but their approach has been to develop their own highly specialised hardware, a move to Oracle is another matter altogether.

In truth, much of the antagonism between Oracle and Salesforce is for effect (another manifestation of the TV wrestling syndrome I’ve mentioned before). It must be remembered that Benioff is an Oracle alumnus and that Larry Ellison was an early investor in Salesforce. It should also be remembered that Salesforce is a heavy user of Oracle already – quite what the reference to powering Salesforce’s applications and platforms is about is not quite clear.

What is clear is that this gives credibility to Oracle’s ambitions in the cloud space. I’m not sure that it adds much materially– unless it’s finding a major customer for Exadata – but Oracle can certainly bask in the reflected glory of one of the cloud pioneers; if not the cloud pioneer.

Salesforce seems to get a whole lot more: some real clout into some very big enterprise customers, ones who have been looking to move to a more flexible way of working but have got a heavy investment in Oracle they can’t ignore.

No-one knows exactly how this will work out but my feeling is that this evening, Benioff is as happy as, er, Larry.

Max Cooter

Max Cooter is a freelance journalist who has been writing about the tech sector for almost forty years.

At ITPro, Max’s work has primarily focused on cloud computing, storage, and migration. He has also contributed software reviews and interviews with CIOs from a range of companies.

He edited IDG’s Techworld for several years and was the founder-editor of CloudPro, which launched in 2011 to become the UK’s leading publication focused entirely on cloud computing news.

Max attained a BA in philosophy and mathematics at the University of Bradford, combining humanities with a firm understanding of the STEM world in a manner that has served him well throughout his career.