When it comes to Oracle’s cloud strategy, the company may be one of the most inclusive in the industry.
To Oracle, the cloud is more than a Salesforce.com application delivered as Software as a Service (SaaS), and it’s more than the hardware and software that Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) customers use to spin up computing power. For Oracle, a key component is the private cloud -- the hardware and software that enterprise customers can buy to launch their own clouds in their own data centers.
Yet, it’s important to note that Oracle isn’t trying to carve out a definition of a particular kind of cloud. Oracle’s cloud meets the needs of corporations evolving their virtualization of internal resources into private clouds -- like Exalogic – as well as collaborating with Amazon to certify the use of Oracle Database, Fusion Middleware and various applications to run on Amazon EC2.
Oracle has delivered a cornucopia of applications as on-demand services, most of which the company seems quite happy to associate with cloud computing. Customers can get CRM, procurement, and human resources applications on demand from Oracle, just to name a few. It also offers various cloud-related tools that don’t need to touch Exadata or Exalogic. Oracle Enterprise Manager can help customers with their initial cloud set-up and the management of physical and virtual resources from a single console.
Another example is Oracle Optimized Solution for Enterprise Cloud. It is an integrated package that includes everything Oracle and Sun: blade servers, Solaris or Linux operating systems, Oracle VM, Oracle ZFS storage, Oracle Database, Oracle Fusion Middleware and Oracle applications. The company likes to call this the cloud. Detractors might say it’s just a big bundle of hardware and software that creates vendor lock-in.
- Chris Maxcer, contributor
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Evolution of the Oracle cloud
Oracle’s relationship with cloud computing goes back more than a decade, when cloud computing wasn’t even a term yet.
The software company had its fingerprints on just about every precursor to cloud computing, with its On Demand initiatives that came out in the late 1990s to its SasS model that it’s been serving for years. That is a main reason why CEO Larry Ellison has railed on cloud computing all along – not because of the technology but because of what he has perceived as the hype around the term.
Either way, many have argued that Oracle hasn’t yet grasped the idea of what cloud computing really is. That despite the fact that Oracle is primed to be a bigger player in the cloud computing market, what with its ownership of applications, middleware, hardware and storage up and down the technology stack.
Read more about Oracle’s connection to the cloud over the years, dating back to before the cloud was even called the cloud.
Oracle database and applications in the cloud
It has been several years since Oracle starting hosting applications for their customers remotely, which many consider to be the foundation of cloud computing. But as the term and the technology have developed, Oracle has tried to keep up.
Amazon clearly took the head start in the cloud computing game, and Oracle was game to go along with it. As far back as three years ago it started offering Oracle database and applications in Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud, and a laboratory at Harvard University was one of the first to take them up on it. The lab was doing research on a blood-clotting drug and needed a quick way to get its server and database infrastructure up and running to collect data. Amazon and Oracle allowed the lab to do so.
In recent months Oracle has offered more applications in the Amazon cloud, including versions of PeopleSoft, E-Business Suite and J.D. Edwards.
That said, it’s still early in the game. In a SearchOracle.com survey taken last year, only one-third said they planned to adopt cloud computing of any sort.
Oracle's future cloud forecast
So what does Oracle have in mind for their vision of the cloud in future years?
The truth is that Oracle has its fingers in many aspects of what it considers to be cloud computing. So it is working with Amazon to have Oracle applications and database hosted within Amazon’s cloud services. It is collaborating with Salesforce.com to be the infrastructure behind Salesforce.com’s own cloud service offerings. It is dealing directly with customers to build out private clouds as well.
In 2010 Oracle came out with Oracle Exalogic, which it initially called a “cloud in a box.” The company has since backed off those claims somewhat, but the product is still called the Exalogic Elastic Cloud. Now the company is mostly saying that Exalogic is to middleware and Java performance what Oracle Exadata is to the database – an integrated hardware and software combination meant to run Oracle middleware and applications better than they could be run on third-party hardware.