SAN FRANCISCO — Oracle had one goal in mind yesterday when unveiling a string of new services at the kickoff to its OpenWorld conference  — domination of the cloud storage market.

That path to victory needs some outside help, however, with Oracle devoting a substantial block of time in the opening keynote of its OpenWorld conference to a new partnership with Intel.

Oracle executive chairman and Chief Technology Officer Larry Ellison used the partnership and his usual bravado to argue Oracle is best positioned to lead the pack in an ever-evolving market.

“We are in the middle of a generational shift with the cloud that’s no less important than the shift to personal computing when mainframes dominated industry,” he said. (You can watch the full keynote here, if you are so inclined.)

Ellison stepped down as CEO late last year, though retains essentially the same amount of influence over the company.

Oracle’s Big Showcase

OpenWorld is Oracle’s annual conference that sees thousands of customers, investors, analysts and others descend upon San Francisco to hear about the company’s latest new tools.

Oracle CEO Mark Hurd played up a new partnership with Intel, promising that Intel’s hardware know-how would be a boost for Oracle customers who want more rapid performance out of cloud-based services.

Hurd joined Intel executives onstage who talked up the increased computational power available. As more capacity moves to the cloud, it becomes more about the quality of the hardware.

Learning Opportunities

For example, Hurd showed off Project Apollo, which is supposed to have one-and-a-half times faster performance when running custom cloud applications.

Going Aggressive Against Competitors

Ellison used his part of the keynote to draw contrasts with key competitors. He pledged to outperform rival And he also said Oracle would either match or offer lower prices than Amazon Web Services.

Microsoft was also on the radar, as Ellison cited it as the only company that offers a comparable suite of cloud services to Oracle.

Ellison also said Oracle had work to do to make cloud services as reliable as utilities, arguing, “They must be always available,” with zero downtime to gain customer trust.

The final attempt to assuage current and potential customers was the newness of the cloud-services industry. Only 10 years ago, Salesforce was breaking out with its “Software-as-a-Service” (SaaS) offerings and Amazon began its effort to rule the cloud with Amazon Web Services.

According to Ellison, Oracle could still dominate the market, though the company needs to reverse its recent string of profit declines.

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Photos by Derek Walter for CMSWire