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Ellison says Oracle eats own dogfood for cloud apps

He's looking at you, Salesforce.com

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OpenWorld 2012 Oracle CEO Larry Ellison says one of the top advantages of his company's newly announced cloudy application suite is that Oracle uses all of its own technology to build and deploy its cloud apps, and it allows its customers to do the same.

"Oracle owns Java, the most popular programming language in the world," Ellison told the crowd assembled for the database giant's annual OpenWorld conference in San Francisco on Tuesday, adding that all of Oracle's cloud-based applications were written in Java and all run on Oracle databases.

By the same token, Ellison said, the programming language Oracle supports on its Platform as a Service (PaaS) offering is Java, and the database it offers is the Oracle database.

That's important, he said, because it means the tools Oracle gives its customers to modify, customize, and interoperate with its cloud platform – as well as to build their own applications – are the very same ones Oracle uses, something not all of its competitors can say.

Earlier in the day, Oracle VP of Product Development Thomas Kurian tactfully made it through his entire keynote without ever mentioning Salesforce.com, which is sure to be one of Oracle's biggest rivals in the cloud applications market. Ellison displayed no such restraint, calling out Salesforce as a prominent Oracle customer.

"Salesforce.com bases its entire cloud on Oracle database," Ellison said, "but its database platform offering is PostgreSQL. I find that interesting."

Similarly, Ellison said, Salesforce offers a PaaS development platform through its Heroku subsidiary. "But they don't use it," he said. "Salesforce wasn't written in Heroku Java."

That almost goes without saying, since the Heroku cloud has only supported Java since last year and its Java PaaS offering for enterprises launched last month.

In strict point of fact, Salesforce doesn't operate the backend behind the Heroku cloud, either. Salesforce bagged the startup PaaS vendor in 2010 for $212m in cash and $27m in stock, but Heroku still runs its platform on Amazon Web Services, rather than Salesforce's own infrastructure.

Ellison went on to extol the virtues of Oracle's privately-run cloud, which he said was also based on the company's own technology, including its newest Exadata X3 database clusters.

His comments came just weeks after Salesforce held its own Dreamforce 2012 conference, also at San Francisco's Moscone Center. At that event, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff trumpeted that his company offered the most popular cloud platform and the most widely used cloudy applications.

But if this week's OpenWorld keynotes were any indication, Benioff may soon need to step up his game even further. During Dreamforce, Oracle had only teased investors that it was readying a cloud push. Based on Ellison's comments on Tuesday, however, Oracle is not just entering the cloud applications and PaaS markets, but it's spoiling for a fight. ®

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