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Last Week in the Cloud: Debunking Oracle’s take on multi-tenancy, IT’s ‘Arab Spring’

Eric Berg

Big week last week in cloud news. Oracle’s occupation of San Francisco for OpenWorld 2011 produced a few good sound bites as CEO Larry Ellison unveiled the company’s Public Cloud offering (and took a swipe at Benioff and salesforce.com in the process).

Ellison on Multi-Tenancy: ‘State-of-the-Art 15 Years Ago’

During last week’ Oracle OpenWorld conference, Ellison had a lot to say about the cloud and Oracle’s competition. In one fell swoop, Ellison unveiled Oracle’s Public Cloud, trashed multi-tenancy and labeled Salesforce as the “roach motel” of cloud providers. It was Ellison’s thrashing of multi-tenancy that we found the most troubling as he’s dead wrong. Ellison argues for co-mingling data at the virtualization layer instead of the database layer, which is ludicrous. The key is for vendors to implement multi-tenancy that provides the best economic results for customers while ensuring security. That’s exactly why salesforce.com and Okta are built with more modern architectures that achieve this.

The Inevitability of B.Y.O.D.

The economist ran a great piece in its October issue on the proliferation of personal devices in business — and why institutional resistance is pointless (“IT’s Arab Spring”). The article discusses friction at Unilever, the multinational CPG giant, as younger employees demand a device-agnostic workplace and an accommodating IT. According to the article,

Like many other companies, Unilever is recruiting from a generation whose expectations of technology have been profoundly shaped by Facebook, mobile apps and other innovations. But it isn’t just ‘digital natives’ who are shocked by the state of some of the technology in their workplaces. The rapid spread of tablets and smartphones, and the magnetic attraction of social networks and other online tools such as Twitter, mean that people of all ages have grown accustomed to having powerful yet easy-to-use technologies at their fingertips. Many of them want the same stuff at work too.

This change is inevitable, and we agree that it’s irresponsible for IT to stand in the way. The spread of mobile devices in the workplace is a boon, not a bother, for business. Smart IT departments understand the difference and are accelerating the move to these more distributed models that optimize for end user experience and business productivity instead of uniformity and absolute centralized control.  Forward thinking IT departments know that by implementing services like Okta and the numerous enterprise cloud applications in Okta’s network, they are able to both increase security and minimize business risk while simultaneously delivering great value to their end users and the business.