Oracle Product Managers Get Ready To Battle Amazon In The Cloud

Oracle and Amazon both want to own the cloud
Oracle and Amazon both want to own the cloud
Image Credit: WorldSeriesBoxing

I’m pretty sure that by now you’ve heard about “the cloud” – it’s the mythical place where companies can get their programs to run and their data to be stored in such a way that they don’t have to buy any computers or storage systems. Another company takes care of all of the day-to-day activities required to make this all work out. This cloud thing is estimated to soon be a big deal and it turns out that the product managers over at Oracle are getting ready to go to battle with the product managers at Amazon in order to own a bigger chunk of it.

The Battle Over Databases

The Oracle product managers have done a great job over the years with their database product development definition and getting large corporate clients to purchase their database software. However, there is a wholesale change going on in the market that is forcing them to rethink how they go about doing their jobs. The cloud has arrived and everyone is now thinking about if and when they should move their database operations into the cloud. Considering the fact that the database market is estimated to be an US$41.3 billion dollar annual market, this is a critical question for Oracle.

Traditionally Oracle had not had a lot to do with the cloud. There was no reason because they sold software that came on CDs. However, when Amazon started offering their Amazon Web Services (AWS) product which allowed companies to use Amazon computers to host their applications and allow Amazon to take care of all of the details, then that changed everything. Amazon’s AWS services grew by 78% in the past quarter alone and it shows no signs of slowing down. Oracle sold US$451M worth of database software and services in the past quarter which represented a growth of 34% (now that would look good on any product manager resume!), but it’s not growing as fast as Amazon is.

There is no question that Oracle’s product managers dominate the traditional corporate data center via their database products. However, the move to the cloud is now threating this position of dominance. Oracle has been hiring cloud engineers from both Amazon and Google in order to learn how they have to change in order to be successful in this new world. The Oracle product managers believe that a move into the cloud can be both problematic and troublesome for large corporate customers. New companies or companies that are web based may not have the same difficulties.

Who Will Own The Cloud?

Going forward, it is unclear which set of product managers is going to emerge victorious. Most people who have been watching both companies agree that the Oracle product managers are still in the process of finding their way. One of the biggest problems that Oracle has faced with the cloud is that they have yet to find a way to monetize it in a similar fashion to how they make money from selling database software. Most outsiders had been expecting Oracle to play a bigger role in the cloud because of their deep relationship with corporate customers.

Although it’s not directly competing with Amazon’s AWS service, Oracle has started to offer similar services to its database customers. In the past quarter Oracle reported that they had made US$160M from providing their customers with the raw computing power that was required to run their database products in the cloud. Just in case things were not already complicated enough, there is another player in this cloud database market: Microsoft. Microsoft through its Azure cloud service is trying to get corporate customers to move from locally hosted versions of its Microsoft SQL database server to cloud based versions of the same product.

The Oracle product managers fully realize that Amazon is their biggest competitor for cloud customers. As Oracle continues to build out its cloud infrastructure, it will be coming more in contact with Amazon’s AWS service and that’s when the real battle will start. Oracle is a large company with deep pockets and so the Amazon product managers need to be watching Oracle’s aggressive move into the cloud with some concern. The Oracle product managers believe that Amazon will run into problems when they try to sell their cloud services to conservative corporate buyers who are currently Oracle customers. The Oracle product managers believe that they are the ones who are best positioned to help their customers move their databases into the cloud.

What All Of This Means For You

The cloud has arrived and the product managers at two giant companies, Oracle and Amazon, are reviewing their , product manager job description in order to get ready to battle it out to see who will dominate this market. The cloud consists of servers and storage systems that companies operate for other companies so that they no longer have to concern themselves with the day-to-day details of operating computer hardware.

Oracle has long dominated the corporate database market and has deep relationships with the people who run corporate data centers. Amazon’s AWS product offering has been growing rapidly and is being adopted by more and more firms. Oracle is hiring engineers who have cloud experience to boost its ability to compete in this new market. Oracle is still trying to find ways to monetize its cloud offerings. Oracle believes that it will be best suited to help its traditional corporate customers move their databases into the cloud.

The Oracle product managers are facing a classic product manager challenge: how best to enter a new market. This new market is already occupied by a strong competitor, Amazon, and so the Oracle product managers are going to have to move carefully. If they build on the corporate relationships that they have so carefully nurtured to this point, they stand a very good chance of becoming the company that everyone goes to when they want to move their database into the cloud.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Product Management Skills™

Question For You: Do you think that the Oracle product managers should compete with Amazon on price for cloud services?

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