back to article Amazon, ditch us? But they can't do without us – Oracle

Amazon is reportedly planning to stop relying on cloud rival Oracle’s database software entirely by early 2020. Rumours that Jeff Bezos’ firm is attempting to free itself from Big Red have been circling for some time, but according to reports in CNBC today, the end is almost in sight. The US outlet, citing inside sources, …

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  1. John Robson Silver badge

    Of course they're still spending...

    And they will do right until they turn off the tap, and that's a big customer to lose...

    Not only is it a big customer to lose, it's also one that has the capability to develop it's own solutions, and then to sell them to your other customers as well...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Of course they're still spending...

      Who do I root for? I'm so conflicted.

      1. Steve Button

        Re: Of course they're still spending...

        Obviously you should root for the underdog, and not the giant evil behemoth.

        oh dear.

      2. fishman

        Re: Of course they're still spending...

        "Who do I root for? I'm so conflicted."

        Oracle - Evil to employees and customers.

        Amazon - Evil to employees.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Of course they're still spending...

          >> Amazon - Evil to employees.

          and all the local retailers they have put out of business.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Of course they're still spending...

            Local retailers, like buggy whip manufacturers, have no inherent rights to the populace's money.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Of course they're still spending...

              >> Local retailers, like buggy whip manufacturers, have no inherent rights to the populace's money.

              Sure, and when Amazon is the only retailer left, come and tell us how you are enjoying their prices, once they no longer have to undercut anyone.

              1. Martin Summers Silver badge

                Re: Of course they're still spending...

                "Sure, and when Amazon is the only retailer left, come and tell us how you are enjoying their prices, once they no longer have to undercut anyone."

                That's the thing though. These things come in trends, competition starts up again to meet the demand. It's a never ending cycle as is how many things work in this world.

                1. Konk

                  Re: Of course they're still spending...

                  Not sure about that, I was looking for an alternative to Amazon for ebooks and there basically isn't one now.

                  1. phuzz Silver badge

                    Re: Of course they're still spending...

                    I was looking for an alternative to Amazon for ebooks

                    I use kobo.com, they seem to have 95%+ of all the books I'm after. Amazon still has better sales (ie cheaper) though.

                  2. Martin Summers Silver badge

                    Re: Of course they're still spending...

                    "Not sure about that, I was looking for an alternative to Amazon for ebooks and there basically isn't one now."

                    No maybe not now, doesn't mean there won't be one in the future. These things take time. It's like offshore call centres gradually coming back home, in another ten years some bright spark who wasn't around when they first tried it will decide it's a good idea to outsource. The world goes around in trends.

                  3. j2017

                    Wordery?

                    I have been reducing my Amazon usage - using eBay for goods and Wordery for books. (note that Book Depository was bought by Amazon.

              2. plrndl

                Re: Of course they're still spending...

                "Sure, and when Amazon is the only retailer left, come and tell us how you are enjoying their prices, once they no longer have to undercut anyone."

                In business, your profit margin is your competitor’s collateral. No-one could get backing to compete with Amazon, when it had 0% profit margin. If Amazon reaches a monopoly position and hikes its prices, competitors will rapidly emerge.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Of course they're still spending...

          The reaction of Oracle against it not so small customers Amazon says it all in my humble opinion ...

          So aggressive and arogant it doesn't make good PR or Business sense for me

          We do sell to our collage's /competitors ... its good business ..

          We are discrete in it .. for us we think its better they buy our gear than that they develop there own or go to an other competitor ...

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Of course they're still spending...

        Conflicted? IMO, Oracle’s been asking for a good kicking for longer.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Of course they're still spending...

        "Who do I root for? I'm so conflicted."

        Tech's very own Battle of The Bastards (though I'm not sure which is cast as Ramsey Bolton).

    2. Will Godfrey Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Of course they're still spending...

      I strongly suspect it will indeed be like a tap turning off. Full flow until they are confident they have all theirs ducks in a row, then not even "Don't let the door hit you bum on the way out'".

      But as another commentard said... so conflicted!

    3. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: Of course they're still spending...

      Imagine the commission that the original sales-person from Oracle received.

      Just think of all that cocaine!

      1. elDog Silver badge

        Re: Of course they're still spending... commissions?

        I believe Oracle has some pretty stringent claw-back clauses in its contracts with salespeople. If someone has bought a luxury yacht and nice manse based on paid commissions, they may find themselves back on dry land with no home.

        1. HolySchmoley

          Re: Of course they're still spending... commissions?

          >If someone has bought a luxury yacht and nice manse

          Manse?

          Their salespersons are clergy?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Of course they're still spending...

        "Just think of all that cocaine!"

        Surely that's expenses, not commission?

    4. TheVogon Silver badge

      Re: Of course they're still spending...

      "We don’t believe that Amazon Web Services has any database technology that comes close to the capabilities of the Oracle database"

      Capabilities to extract money from prisoners presumably

    5. TVU Silver badge

      Re: Of course they're still spending...

      "Not only is it a big customer to lose, it's also one that has the capability to develop it's own solutions, and then to sell them to your other customers as well..."

      At the start of this year, Amazon released Amazon Linux 2 for their own on-site deployment so this is part of a larger trend to be independent of external suppliers for services. Nice to see though that the overly litigious Oracle got bitten where it hurts.

      *does Muttley laugh*

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The way to go, why have a colossal stack of OSS kit running and flogging usage to other people, and then pay someone else for DB software and support? It doesn't really make much sense. As as 25 year Oracle DBA veteran I'm happy to see Larry and his toybox bugger off. 25 years ago serious RDBMS software was hard work and there were few serious players, theses days there are so many fun OSS DB toys out there. It's an exciting time to be playing with all the wonderful software that OSS has given and keeps giving, the curtain is going up for the last act of the closed niche players like Oracle.

  3. Hans 1 Silver badge

    Oracle is historic legacy software for Amazon

    Surprised it took them this long to realize they had to get rid of it ...

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Oracle is historic legacy software for Amazon

      If it's running things like ERP, ie. anything that keeps the money coming in, then migration costs and risks are a big reason to keep paying for licences. At some point, however, you have enough resources to do the work and evidence that a new system can do the work and that the migration is indeed doable.

      However, doing this kind of thing for its own sake or for the possibility of saving money is not enough as it means you now have to maintain an inhouse solution for non-core software. This would change if you develop some software, or services that you can sell to other companies, which is exactly the sort of thing that AWS does…

      1. Christian Berger Silver badge

        Re: Oracle is historic legacy software for Amazon

        "However, doing this kind of thing for its own sake or for the possibility of saving money is not enough as it means you now have to maintain an inhouse solution for non-core software."

        Well if you are as big as Amazon, having your own custom software for your internal use might be something cheaper. After all instead of paying "per seat" you will only have to invest a flat fee. Also customizing "off the shelf" software often is more expensive than writing your own dedicated package. A good example here is SAP and Lidl where the customisation of the "off the shelf" package cost 500 millions! BTW I do think that ERP is a core function of any larger enterprise.

        So yes they are also going to offer it as a service, as they do with most of the things they buildt for themselves, but that's just an extra bonus.

        1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

          Re: Oracle is historic legacy software for Amazon

          Well if you are as big as Amazon, having your own custom software for your internal use might be something cheaper.

          Indeed, but this itself might not be sufficient argument for choosing to do it. Hence, the continuing insourcing versus outsourcing debates and case studies of resources being devoted to something mirroring off-the-shelf software. Sometimes it works, sometimes it just becomes another money pit. The benefit of having real customers in a market is the focus it brings.

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Oracle is historic legacy software for Amazon

        "you now have to maintain an inhouse solution for non-core software."

        The software that runs your day-to-day business is core. Is the greater risk relying on an in-house supplier or an external vendor? The answer to than might change with scale.

    2. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: Oracle is historic legacy software for Amazon

      Even if your Oracle is deeply burrowed into the skin of your business like a swarm of ticks, any CIO/CTO has always got one eye open for a way out.

      That's not the right sort of relationship between companies.

      A software product has got to be applied to add value over and above its licensing costs, not hold for a ransom.

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: Oracle is historic legacy software for Amazon

        A software product has got to be applied to add value over and above its licensing costs, not hold for a ransom.

        Just take "licensing" out of the statement and you express the classic buy or build dilemma. Amazon is a bit weird because it's already largely outsourced lots of its own IT to AWS, which it seems to keep largely for tax and, hence, share price benefits.

  4. Steve Button

    Amazing news!

    The surprising news is that Amazon still rely on this technology in 2018 from such an un-friendly and price gouging company.

    1. Korev Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Amazing news!

      >The surprising news is that Amazon still rely on this technology in 2018 from such an un-friendly and price gouging company.

      Are you talking about AWS or Oracle?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Amazing news!

        > Are you talking about AWS or Oracle?

        Yes.

  5. LDS Silver badge

    Maybe it's what is needed to force Larry to review his business model.

    Oracle for a long time lived on the idea replacing its database for high-end, mission critical solutions was very hard and difficult, so he could set the prices, and customers were forced to accept and pay.

    The landscape has been changing, and Larry may start to see red soon.... and I think pissing off your better customers may not be the best way to make business, even when they become a competitor in some areas.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Maybe it's what is needed to force Larry to review his business model.

      > I think pissing off your better customers may not be the best way to make business

      Oracle's problem- and that's assuming it *does* become a problem- is that until recently this wasn't really true for them. Their business model has, for a long time, been to get their victims (sorry, "customers") suckered in, and once they're dependent on their technology, hold them to ransom and use it as an excuse to squeeze money out of them.

      (I've said more than once that I suspect that this *is* Oracle's business model, with the various products merely being a means to lure customers in).

      It's not like they've ever made this a secret- quite the opposite, anyone paying attention can see how openly abusive they are. So if things change, and they start suffering because of this, it's going to be a big shock for them.

      I wouldn't put money on it though- Oracle are very, *very* good at being dicks and getting away with it.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Maybe it's what is needed to force Larry to review his business model.

        Their business model has, for a long time, been to get their victims (sorry, "customers") suckered in, and once they're dependent on their technology, hold them to ransom and use it as an excuse to squeeze money out of them.

        --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

        Why does that sound familiar?

        .... Microsoft, Apple, IBM, Xerox, Cisco, .....

    2. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      Re: Maybe it's what is needed to force Larry to review his business model.

      Leisure Suit Larry is in La La Land if he thinks his products can not be replaced with some effort. RDBMS systems are quite common now with many very good ones available for much less that his bloatware and some are FOSS (with paid support available). The migration problems are not the backend but rewriting the code that exploits specific features and syntactical sugar that the other backend does differently. Doable, a PITA but not impossible.

      Also, any mission critical software is a core component and if the company is large enough they should try to write their own in house solution. Commercial packages are not written for specific situations but for more generic situations and are often difficult to customize.

    3. Zippy's Sausage Factory

      Re: Maybe it's what is needed to force Larry to review his business model.

      My betting is the moment AWS starts offering database services that could compete, Oracle will sue claiming that their services are a clone of Oracle's technology.

  6. Scott 29

    > Just 2 per cent of 154 execs surveyed said Oracle was their most integral vendor for cloud computing, while 12 per cent chose Amazon – meanwhile, some 27 per cent named Microsoft, emphasising that cloud isn’t a two horse rase.

    I guess 110% of execs just say "Microsoft" whenever asked any question.

    1. steelpillow Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Wrong question

      "Just 2 per cent of 154 execs surveyed said Oracle was their most integral vendor for cloud computing"

      Which matters diddly squat, because migration to cloud is still a revolution in progress. What matters is the stuff you are migrating to the cloud. If Oracle have their suckers hooked on that, whose cloud are you going to migrate it to when the day finally comes?

      IMHO if Amazon, RedHat and Google joined forces they could hammer out a usable OSS competitor. Pooling their patents and opening them to GPL copyleft style licensing would eventually push Oracle into a corner it couldn't escape from. In my dreams.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "IMHO if Amazon, RedHat and Google joined forces"

        How much of its internal code code Google has ever open sourced? I'm sure Google runs some very huge databases, but it's part of their core business and a competitive advantage. Don't expect it to release that open source just to poke Oracle in the eye.

        In many ways GPL is perfect for companies like Google which run enormous internal system and don't sell much of on-premises software. They can take advantage of others' code, but because they never release/sell theirs, they can keep all for themselves - but when it suits their very own needs to open source.

        RedHat is probably the main choice to run Oracle on Linux, if you don't want to get the OS from Oracle as well (which is anyway little more than a rebranded RedHat). I'm sure many of its licenses comes from that source.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "I guess 110% of execs just say "Microsoft" whenever asked any question."

      And then use it. There doesn't seem to be much doubt that Azure is going to be top of pile in cloud on current form.

  7. DrXym Silver badge

    Eating its own dog food

    Amazon is basically a database / storage company in their own right these days. There is no sense in paying a competitor to store data when they have their own software that should be capable of doing the job.

    And honestly I really don't read of many deployments of Oracle where the expense and lock-in is remotely justified by the alleged benefits of the software itself.

  8. 2Nick3 Bronze badge

    When Amazon moves to AWS are they really moving to the Cloud?

    Isn't Cloud running your business on someone else's servers?

  9. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
    Pint

    What next? Create their own Binary Flag (0/1) scheme?

    A huge company the size of Amazon should have a small internal team of Database Professionals to invent and manage their database concepts, structures, and lowest level software. It's just not that complicated to create efficient and scaleable data structures. You don't need outside help, unless it's clearly better faster cheaper.

    Using outside DB software has to be demonstrably better, and provide better return. That's unlikely given the scale of Amazon.

    Whoever has been signing off the invoices all these years should have noticed.

    1. Claptrap314 Bronze badge

      Re: What next? Create their own Binary Flag (0/1) scheme?

      You REALLY don't understand just how this all works. When you are a garage company, you rely on other people's work for as much as you possibly can. As you grow, you bring a lot of things in-house, but if you are smart, you differentiate between the expertise that is core to your business from that which is not. This is how the large consulting firms exist. Sure, you could have your own team of accountants or lawyers or programmers, but your business is selling widgets. At least one major automobile manufacturer split off its financial services for this reason.

      So back to Amazon. When Amazon started, they were a book seller. Okay, online, but a book seller nonetheless. They needed to focus on getting a web front end up that worked and on delivery of their product. Of course the database was in the middle of all of this, and with their rapid success, they soon hit the point were MySQL (or what ever they were using) was choking. So, do you go out and find a bunch of people that can design a better DB engine, or do you look to buy something? They went with Oracle. (Trading one problem with another.)

      But then, a funny thing happened. This online bookseller became a technology company. That change meant that it was now reasonable to talk about building your own database solution. But "reasonable to talk about" verses "have it done" are two very different things. You have to decide that it makes sense to proceed, then you need to hire the talent, then you need to build the thing. Oh, wait. You are almost certainly running one of the top 100 largest datasets in the world. You can't bring in average talent. You can't bring in above average talent. You are going to have to recruit (and/or grow) some of the absolutely best talent in the world to execute this plan, because if it fails, you are d-e-a-d dead.

      You yeah. It's obvious that one of the most successful companies in the world doesn't have a clue. Glad that you informed us.

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: What next? Create their own Binary Flag (0/1) scheme?

        >You REALLY don't understand just how this all works.

        Agree, this reminds me of Sun Microsystems who for exactly the reasons you give, found their internal business applications all ran on an IBM mainframe. I don't know if they managed to get off the mainframe before Oracle took them over.

      2. IHateWearingATie
        Thumb Up

        Re: What next? Create their own Binary Flag (0/1) scheme?

        Nailed it.

        1. James Hughes 1

          Re: What next? Create their own Binary Flag (0/1) scheme?

          And Amazon clearly have enough cash to buy in the best DB people in the world...

          Given the salaries of some of the Amazon people I know, it won't be difficult to attract top end DB developers.

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