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OOW SF17 Larry Ellison 2Oracle executive chairman Larry EllisonOracle
  • Oracle says it has big plans to keep Amazon from grabbing more of its database customers away.
  • Executive chairman Larry Ellison said that Oracle’s latest, greatest database is coming in January.
  • He says it will use machine-learning to automatically manage itself and that Oracle is guaranteeing customers in writing that it will be less expensive than Amazon’s database.

Oracle’s expectation-beating third quarter announced on Thursday had one big bear: The cloud didn’t grow as fast as analysts expected.

Thanks to that, Oracle’s stock fell in after-hours trading and is still down about 4% on Friday.

But Oracle executive chairman Larry Ellison was was ready during the quarterly conference call with analysts Thursday afternoon to answer the bears.

He reminded them that he’s got big plans to launch a power move against his new arch nemesis in cloud computing, Amazon Web Services.

Ellison said that Oracle’s latest and greatest database, announced in October, will be available in January.

Oracle calls it the “autonomous” database. It uses machine learning to manage itself, tweaking its performance, noticing and fixing security issues on its own, and so on.

Oracle believes that customers will flock to this new database on Oracle’s cloud rather than use Amazon’s competing database, Redshift, because Oracle will be promising, in writing, that its new database will cost less. 

Ellison explained: 

If you take a workload from Amazon running on Redshift and move it over to Oracle, your Amazon bill will drop by 80%. It will cost you five times more to run Redshift than to run the Oracle Autonomous. And this is not total cost of ownership, this is not labor, this is not – this is your Amazon bill, what you pay Amazon to do a piece of work, you can run on the Oracle cloud and pay $.20 on the dollar by moving from Amazon to Oracle.

We’re so confident of our cost advantages over Amazon that Oracle will provide our customers with written service level agreements that guarantee, that guarantee moving to the Oracle cloud will cut Amazon customer’s database bills in half or substantially more than half.

Ellison’s attack is the latest volley between the two companies. A couple of weeks ago, AWS CEO Andy Jassy showed some less-than-nice cartoons of Larry Ellison on stage at its annual tech conference. Jassy attacked Oracle over the prices Oracle charges its customers and some of the tactics it uses to raise prices on them. 

And there are some signs that some of Oracle’s customers are fed up with some of its hard-nosed sales tactics.

For instance, Morgan Stanley surveyed 84 of Oracle’s database customers in November and found that half of them have already moved one of their Oracle databases to another vendor. About three-quarters of them said they have plans to move more of their Oracle databases to another vendor, and 71% said they plan to choose a database vendor other than Oracle for much of their future database needs. 

True, 84 customers is a statistically insignificant percentage of Oracle’s 430,000 customers, many of whom use its database. Still, it may indicate that a surprising number may be considering other options.

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