Amazon's cloud boss Andy Jassy just slammed Larry Ellison and mocked his 'hand-waving and bombast'

Oracle founder Larry Ellison has a decades-long history of publicly slamming his competitors and lately he’s trained his sights on one of the most fierce competitors he’s ever had: Amazon Web Services.

In September, during the keynote speech at Oracle’s huge customer conference in San Francisco, Ellison spent a good deal of time trash talking Amazon, mostly by saying how much slower it was to run databases on Amazon’s cloud than it was to run them on Oracle’s cloud. 

Ellison provided the results of benchmark tests to back up his claims.

On Wednesday, Amazon hit back.

Andy Jassy, the CEO of Amazon Web Services, took the stage at his company’s huge customer conference in Las Vegas and mocked Ellison’s famous showmanship. Jassy told the crowd of IT professionals that Amazon’s cloud services could give them superpowers such as X-ray vision to help them avoid being swayed by Ellison’s claims.


“X-Ray vision is the unique ability to have visibility and vision,” Jassy said such as “the ability to see through the hand-waving and bombast.”

And during that time, for just a quick second, he flashed a picture of Larry Ellison, hands up on screen. The audience didn’t miss it and laughed. Jassy explained:

“In the old days, because it was so expensive to test and experiment for any period of time, you used to be able to get these old guard leaders who would stand up and make all these wild claims and manipulate benchmarks for their own purposes, or take out full-page ads or billboards claiming whatever they claim. And you had no ability to know what was real. You had to make a buying decision before you could figure it out. 

In the cloud, that’s not the case. That ship has sailed, kind of like an America’s Cup ship. The reality is that any of these technology infrastructure buyers will allow you to benchmark these services, test these services for any period of time, so you get to make an educated decision on what the best platform is for you.”

Jassy later doubled down on his attack by saying, that Amazon’s home grown database Aurora, is the “fastest growing service history of AWS.” And then he had a customer, Finra, on stage that talked about how it migrated its massive databases from Oracle to AWS.

AWS says 14,000+ databases have been migrated from other vendors to Amazon’s cloud. 

Jassy has shouted down Ellison’s claims about AWS before. Back in October, Jassy called Ellison’s speech a classic “old guard technology tactic,” in which a latecomer with less functionalities and a fewer number of customers tries to establish itself by “manipulating” benchmarks. “As far as I can tell, that was made up,” Jassy added, referring to the stats Ellison gave during his keynote last month.

The battle between these two is very heated

Oracle’s bread-and-butter product is its super popular database. Amazon’s cloud offers a large number of databases where companies pay only based on how much they use them. Its databases are among its fastest-growing cloud products. Last year, it even introduced a product that helps companies easily move their data from an Oracle (or other) database, into an Amazon one.

And AWS is on track to do $13 billion in revenue for its cloud this year, Jassy said. An increasing number of companies are opting to move all of their apps and data to the Amazon’s cloud, too, and as they do, are reassessing whether to use Amazon’s databases for some of their apps, rather than Oracle’s, they say.

Jassy’s smackdown of Larry Ellison was not lost on the crowd, either.

Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through hispersonal investment company Bezos Expeditions.

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