The jury is still out on Oracle's big push into cloud-based software and services. But Oracle allayed some fears about the state of its cloud software efforts on Thursday [Dec. 14], when it reported cloud-based revenue of $1.5 billion during its fiscal second quarter, which ended November.

That figure was 44 percent higher than the $1.05 billion in cloud sales that Oracle reported in the same period a year ago, and topped the company's own forecast for cloud sales to rise between 39 percent and 43 percent.

However, Oracle's shares fell as much as 4.5 percent to $47.93 in after-hours trading because its cloud sales missed the $1.56 billion forecast by Wall Street analysts.

That reception took some of the shine off of the rest of Oracle's quarterly report. The company earned 70 cents a share, excluding one-time items, on revenue of $9.62 billion. During last year's second quarter, Oracle earned 61 cents a share, on $9.04 billion in sales. Wall Street analysts had forecast Oracle to earn 68 cents a share on revenue of $9.57 billion.

Oracle Chairman and Chief Technology Officer Larry Ellison used the company's results to take a dig at rival Amazon, and its popular Amazon Web Services.

In a statement, Ellison reiterated that Oracle will soon deliver what he said will be the world's first "self-driving," fully autonomous database that will require no human effort for upgrades and product administration. Ellison said the Oracle Autonomous Database would cost "less than half the cost of running a database in the Amazon Cloud."

Oracle's results came as the company continues to shift its business more toward cloud-based subscriptions and away from its long-time reliance on software sales and revenue from product support and licenses.

Speaking on a conference call to discuss Oracle's results, Co-Chief Executive Safra Catz said that for Oracle's third quarter, it expects cloud revenue to rise 21 percent to 25 percent from the $1.2 billion it reported a year ago, and total revenue to climb 2 percent to 4 percent over last-year's sales of $9.2 billion. Catz also said Oracle estimates its earnings, excluding one-time items, will be between 68 cents and 70 cents a share, compared to the 69 cents a share the company reported in the same period a year ago.

Editor's Update: Doubling down on its cloud investment strategy, Oracle yesterday [Dec. 18] announced its $1.2 billion acquisition of Aconex, an Australian company that provides cloud software for construction project management.