OCI demand for AI workloads, Cerner boost Oracle’s third quarter revenue

Oracle on Thursday reported third quarter total revenue of $12.4 billion, up 18% year-on-year, boosted by the demand for AI workloads in Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) and Cerner’s contribution to the topline.

“So, we have a lot of business, a lot of new AI companies coming to Oracle because we’re the only ones who can run their workloads. And by the way — and we are cheaper. But so we’re faster and we’re cheaper,” Oracle Chairman Larry Ellison said during an earnings call with analysts.

Top Oracle executives claim that the second generation of OCI has a superior architecture and network capability that enables it to run AI workloads faster.

Oracle’s Gen 2 Cloud, according to Ellison, is different from other products on offer from rival hyperscalers as it uses a non-blocking Remote Direct Access Memory (RDMA) network that allows two networked computers to share information without using any processing power.

“What this means is if you’re running a large group of Nvidia GPUs in a cluster doing a large AI problem at Oracle, we can build these AI clusters dynamically. Our standard network supports the large clustering of GPUs and allows them to communicate very quickly. So, we can create these groups of GPUs. We can marshal them together. The other guys can’t do that,” Ellison said during the earnings call, according to a transcript from The Motley Fool.

In contrast, other infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) platforms on offer from other hyperscalers, according to Ellison, are physically building new hardware to be able to support such a similar AI cluster.

Last year in October, Oracle and Nvidia extended their partnership to help speed customer adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) services.  

Continued double-digit growth across services

In line with the last sequential quarter, Oracle continued to see double-digit growth across its cloud services, Fusion applications, and Cerner.

For the third quarter, the company reported total cloud revenue (IaaS and SaaS combined) of $4.1 billion, up 45% year-on-year. Its cloud infrastructure (IaaS) revenue grew 55% to $1.2 billion while cloud application (SaaS) revenue increased 42% to $2.9 billion.

Revenue for Fusion Cloud ERP rose 25% to $0.7 billion, while the company’s NetSuite division’s revenue grew 23% to $0.7 billion.

Although Cerner’s contribution provided a boost to the company’s total revenue, it reported a revenue of $1.5 billion — the same number it had reported in the last sequential quarter.

Slump in profits

Despite seeing an increase in revenue, the company’s profit declined 18% year-on-year due to rising operating expenses.

Oracle reported a net income of $1.89 billion for the third quarter compared with $2.31 billion for the corresponding period last year.

Operating expenses for the company rose to $9.13 billion for the quarter ended February, compared with $6.69 billion for the same period last year.

AI workloads will be the next growth driver

Chairman Larry Ellison and CEO Safra Catz both believe that the next spurt of growth for the company will come from AI-based workloads as the world embraces generative models such as ChatGPT.

“There’s actually more demand for AI processing than there is available capacity,” Ellison said during the earnings call when asked about opportunities in generative AI.

Oracle, according to Ellison, is all set to grab the AI workload opportunity and plans to increase capacity to meet growing demand.

Artificial Intelligence, Oracle