Larry Ellison and Marc Benioff Standoff

Marc Benioff once again reignited its long time hostility and war of words with Oracle’s CEO Larry Ellison. He lashed out his sour remarks in front of a huge number of 15,000 customers and stakeholders at the big Dreamforce affair a few weeks ago. He started by commenting that Oracle’s Exadata is “the false cloud” because it resists the requirements of customers for their cloud enterprise.

It could be true that Benioff offers a better cloud platform, but his commentary about Oracle being a false cloud has generated a big ripple in the IT industry, creating a statement that customers now consider in their view of what the cloud really is.

The problem seen with the Benioff-Ellison standoff is that it becomes so frustrating and annoying at times because it creates confusion amidst enterprise customers who are still trying to figure out, which statements about the cloud should be taken seriously and, which ones should go directly into the trash.

Benioff also reiterated that the cloud platform is something that all computer and business IT solutions should seriously consider because it is expected to revolutionize the way business are being done in the future. He said “Not everybody believes in this because, ladies and gentlemen, as I travel around the world—and I mentioned this last year as well—we need to be thinking about something very important, and that point is: we need to beware of the false cloud!”

After saying this warning at the Dreamforce event he showed a slide that displayed an Oracle Exadata box that drew an expression of amusement from the participants. Benioff said “Because the false cloud, ladies and gentlemen, is not efficient, it is not democratic, it is not economical, and it is not environmental!”

He further sliced through with his statement when he said “It is not the future, because these technologies do not just bleed from one to the next—you didn’t see the mainframe bleed into the minicomputer, the minicomputer bleed into the PC, the PC into the mobile bleed into the tablet.”

The rift between these two personalities began a year ago at the Oracle Open World when Benioff gave a talk about cloud philosophy, which was not supposed to be part of the program proper. Here he said as his opening remark “Beware the false cloud!”

He then pointed out that the difference between and Oracle is their conflicting approach towards the cloud. As he made fun of the Exadata and Exalogic boxes from Oracle he said We’re not gonna show you new computers taller than I am or clouds in a box because clouds aren’t in a box! And they never were in a box!”

Ellison on the other hand, continues to ridicule for its security loopholes; he also pointed out that Salesforce is not really a cloud platform for it only offers applications that cannot make cloud computing to thrive.

Ellison likewise made slicing remarks in the Oracle event; he said “ is really one or two applications on the Internet. It’s basically just a salesforce-automation app on the cloud, and is primarily just SaaS apps with a very limited platform.”

He also added that is not virtualized, which makes it lack the necessary security platform to protect its customer’s cloud data storage. Ellison said “With, hundreds of thousands of customers have to commingle their data to use these applications, so GE’s data is in there mixed up right next to Siemens’ data and so on—and the result is that really it is a very weak security model.”

As it is, cloud customers would have to put up with these opposing views from Ellison and Benioff. offers bits and pieces of the cloud platform with its various security issues according to Ellison.

And to point Oracle’s strong points he mentioned Amazon’s EC2 that is running several cloud applications including Linux, Java, MySOL, Oracle and many other virtual technologies. He said “The technology is virtualized so each customer has its own separate, secure, and virtual environment with fault isolation, so most systems failures affect only one customer.”

This week will be another yearly event for Oracle’s Open World and enterprise cloud customers need to brace themselves for another bout of word war between these two cloud personalities.

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