Oracle gathered customers, influencers and the media at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York City today to convince them, and the world, that it’s a leader in the cloud. 

It seems that no one told Oracle founder and Chairman Larry Ellison that there are already too many clouds.

But that doesn't matter. Because Oracle has to transition from a product to a services company. Its executives — and pretty much everyone else — is sure of that.

We Own the Cloud(s)

Oracle CEO Mark Hurd, and Vice President of Applications Development Steve Miranda led the show today at Oracle CloudWorld. Speakers from PWC and Accenture, who both provide services around its wares, were also on the roster.

Analysts who were briefed before the event seemed impressed by what they saw and heard. IDC analyst Matt Eastwood noted, via a tweet, that the days of  Oracle’s defensive cloud strategy have long passed. (Ellison used to mock his competitors, denying that the cloud even existed.)

Today Hurd displayed a slide titled “The Current On-Prem IT Operating Model is Unsustainable.” In other words, for Oracle, the tenth largest technology company in the world, it’s cloud or bust.

“It’s not a question of if, but when, (our customers will move to the cloud),” said Miranda. He needs to insure that it’s Oracle’s Cloud and not someone else’s that they’re moving to, because the company’s on premises business isn’t growing.

It’s no wonder that Oracle is hiring 1400 new cloud salespeople to cover the EMEA market. Not just that, but Miranda told analysts that it has invested $38 billion in research and development since 2005.

Pick a Cloud, Any Cloud

In Hurd’s perfect view of the world, the only IT vendor companies would deal with would be Oracle. (OK, maybe not for productivity apps like Office 365 and Google Docs.) 

Not only does Oracle offer IaaS in Cloud, but also something on premises called the “Oracle Cloud Machine.” We learned about it from Constellation Research analyst Holger Mueller. It appears to be a dedicated server that companies can keep in their data centers that Oracle will manage and run. So regardless of where you want to run your business, Oracle’s got you covered, or at least that’s the pitch. 

Learning Opportunities

Moving from on-premises to the cloud is also supposed to be easy for Oracle customers since its management tools, security and support make data portability from private to public cloud environments simple and intuitive — again, according to the company. There was also talk of an Integration Cloud at the analyst event.

With its Platform as a Service play, Mueller noted that the platform for developers is polyglot, meaning that coders can work in whatever language they want. The idea being that things built on-premises also work in Oracle’s cloud, saving time and hassles. There’s also an impressive integration, between cloud, mobile, social and IoT, according to Constellation’s Natalie Petouhoff. 

What wasn’t mentioned, and Hurd didn’t take questions today, was whether Oracle would be joining Cloud Foundry. It’s the de facto PaaS standard according to Mueller.

Analysts spent most of their time tweeting about Oracle’s SaaS market yesterday, which doesn't appear to have changed much since Oracle Open World. But they also seemed especially interested in Oracle’s attention to the user experience. “Oracle understands the elegance of personalization and experience across Oracle Cloud Apps #OracleCloud #welldone,” tweeted Mark Smith, an analyst at Ventana Research.

The Million Dollar Question

All in all, we’ve seen an impressive show and tell from Oracle, but how it will manifest in the real world is anybody’s guess. And more important there’s a statement from Fortune Magazine’s Barb Darrow to consider: “Companies that are irked by Oracle’s hard-ball tactics in the on-premises software world may not be excited to replicate that experience in the cloud.”

We’ll be watching.