Tech titans sell yesterday's idea wrapped in tomorrow's dream
Cloud-washing: The process of making legacy look cool
Open ... and Shut News flash: Oracle and SAP are both "cloud washers" who pretend to have sexy, cool technology, but actually are encumbered by legacy systems.
This is the charge that cloud consultant David Linthicum and Deal Architect founder Vinnie Mirchandani level against the two giants, but one wonders why they bother. It's standard operating procedure for the enterprise incumbents to market tomorrow's technology while selling yesterday's products. What other choice do they have?
In order to peddle its systems, Oracle is revisiting the dot-com bust by renting "private infrastructure as a service clouds" to CIOs anxious to jump on this cloud bandwagon. But as Linthicum points out, Oracle's "new" offering is arguably neither cloud nor an equipment lease. Instead, Linthicum insists, it's "an odd hybrid created because Oracle finds itself stuck between the rock and the cloud, reluctant to devalue its hugely lucrative enterprise software products by folding into cloud-service pricing."
In other words, Oracle is trying to confuse the issue while its lumbering products catch up with the market.
Not that its stodgy enterprise customers will care. Nor will they mind SAP talking a big cloud game but, as Mirchandani points out, doing roughly two per cent of its revenues in cloud-related business. After all, they don't look to the enterprise IT titans to innovate: they just want a big brand to package yesterday's innovations for them.
And in some cases, they just want to keep using the same old legacy rubbish forever and ever and... ever.
How else can one explain that IBM still racks up $1.2bn in Lotus Notes revenue, as The Wall Street Journal reports. Who knew that you had to pay for Lotus Notes torture? And so much?
Back to cloud. Of course Oracle and SAP aren't delivering true cloud technology. To do so would threaten tens of billions of dollars in revenue streams. A risk-taker like Apple might be willing to build a new category of technology that potentially cannibalises its existing business (the iPad versus the Mac), but Oracle and its ilk aren't risk-takers. They're risk-mitigators.
Which is precisely why CIOs don't mind buying their cloud-washed, "open" products. ®
Matt Asay is vice president of corporate strategy at 10gen, the MongoDB company. Previously he was SVP of business development at Nodeable, which was acquired in October 2012. He was formerly SVP of biz dev at HTML5 start-up Strobe (now part of Facebook) and chief operating officer of Ubuntu commercial operation Canonical. With more than a decade spent in open source, Asay served as Alfresco's general manager for the Americas and vice president of business development, and he helped put Novell on its open source track. Asay is an emeritus board member of the Open Source Initiative (OSI). His column, Open...and Shut, appears three times a week on The Register. You can follow him on Twitter @mjasay.
The whole cloud is the old "time-sharing" systems repackaged with a sexy name
The whole cloud is just the old "time-sharing" systems repackaged with a sexier name. Often running on that "legacy old rubbish" Unix repackaged as Linux - by companies like those Asay worked for. So where''s the innovation and the innovators?
It's just the actual small players in the cloud business are very afraid the heavy gorillas are entering their market - and kick them away.
Apple knew iPhone and iPads wouldn't have cannibalized its Mac market that much - I can't see any heavy Photoshop or Illustrator user starting using an iPad for that... Apple wasn't bold, it was just smart enough to understand there was a new market to cover. Let's see when Apple will be bold enough to enter the low margin server market... and build its own cloud on them.
Which is precisely why CIOs don't mind buying their cloud-washed, "open" products
I agree that the Tech Titans marketing just repackages old technology as shiny new things. But would ask what "open" products don't also fall into this category?
The "cloud" is the very definition of yesterday's idea wrapped in tomorrows dream. Its little more than FTP and terminals.
Why would I need a massively distributed ERP system, and why should SAP fear one?
Sure, cloud is the marketing term du jour, but "real cloud" isn't a panacea.
If you have a big enterprise, you have lots of uses for a system of record, and it won't need to scale out over a great huge cloud. You'll have plenty of uses for SQL databases too. SAP and Oracle are trembling all the way to the bank.
Save me from the old days please !!!
Ok now everyone has got their dose of "Those were the Days" mania, let's have some reality shall we...
First off, to *anyone* who tells me that the consumer-level ease of a service like DropBox is "little more than FTP and terminals". Are you mad?! FTP may be ok for us sad tech-types but, did you every have to train an end-user is FTP useage? Were you confident they wouldn't end up deleting entire branches of a company website? Do you enjoy using a clunky text interface? Oh, i could go on and on with this one. The point is, modern Cloud services are easier, faster, more intuitive and more fun to use than ever before, which is why 100's of millions now use them in every business context imaginable.
Second point - so, Cloud is "time-sharing with a sexier name"?! Right, so when you were a SysAdmin for a mainframe using clunky old time-sharing to manage user access you had tens of millions of users? Er, no you didn't - because mainframe systems' time-sharing at the user-level were simply not configured for those levels and could not be managed due to their time-intensive setup (hence the requirement for entire flipping DP teams and the endlessly annoying calls at stupid hours because someone who was insufficient.y trained had cocked up a user - again!). Time sharing in the context of processor sharing on the other hand, is something that has always been here - the point with Cloud is its ability to be used & consumed automatically, easily, confidently & competently at a far lower cost.
Third, I think the author was simply using Apple as an example of a company who wouldn't blow it's entire bottom line if it were to break into a new operating/business model, i would say its disingenuous to let the onversation degrade into an Apple snarl-fest - replace with Google if it makes you feel better
Oh my Gawd people, stop whining about what's gone before - do you really think its comparable to the ease, sophistication & automation of cloud based systems. I dont and i reckon I'm as long in the tooth as the rest of you, given i was working on Mainframes in 1979. Yup, it's been done before but it ain't better, ask anyone holding a 19th century Colt Revolver who's facing off against someone with an M4 Assault Rifle (after all they ARE both guns that fire more than one bullet!!!!!)
On the authors' assertion - he's bang on WRT SAP, Oracle and etc - who should be looking at Cloud and thinking "is this my Novell moment". Incumbent companies have always struggled to wash their wares with the latest paradigm, the truth is the new players will continue to take market share away from them; those who go 'safe' will lose competitive advantage to those who are prepared to absorb new Cloud methods into their business processes - and they won't be thinking about FTP when their doing it!