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In recent months, attention on Oracle's cloud moves has centered on the Oracle database, but there are other reasons for users to consider the giant software vendor's much-touted platform in the sky.
For one development house, the decision to go with Oracle was based in part on Oracle's autonomous database technology. But it was also based on benefits the company saw in the Oracle Mobile Cloud and Oracle Intelligent Bots platforms, both elements of the database leader's overall cloud strategy and both intended to offer development teams easier entry into programming complex applications.
"We are integrating the Oracle chatbot into our applications, so any developer can use it," said Stephane Lamoureux, chief operating officer at Virtual Artifacts, a Montreal-based vendor that has worked for almost 10 years to produce an AI-oriented privacy engine for mobile developers that want to syndicate content across multiple mobile apps.
With a global background in team building and IT operations troubleshooting in varied industries, Lamoureux joined Virtual Artifacts late last year to help drive the commercialization of its AI-oriented privacy software.
Known as Hibe -- now in beta -- this Virtual Artifacts platform lets end-users share content without leaving the applications they're using. As the company looks to speed the deployment of work long in research and development, it has opted for Oracle Mobile Cloud, according to Lamoureux.
Tapping into Oracle's available software to handle chatbot implementations rather than building such capabilities from the ground up provides a faster route to market.
The Oracle Mobile Cloud bot provides a communication channel for Hibe developers, both inside and outside of Virtual Artifacts. Virtual Artifacts' developer customers can similarly interact with their own customers via bots.
Meanwhile, Oracle's cloud outlook is being watched closely in anticipation of its upcoming Oracle OpenWorld 2018 conference. The company's cloud future has been discussed often as of late, especially with the recent departure of Thomas Kurian, former president in charge of Oracle product development. Long a leader among Oracle technologists, Kurian was widely seen as a key driver of the company's cloud strategy.
Data gathered by bots and other activity can be analyzed using Oracle cloud technology, Lamoureux said. Here, Lamoureux pointed to the usefulness of the Autonomous Database Cloud software platform. This much-touted Oracle offering is meant to reduce administrative workloads and is part of Lamoureux's strategy to speed deployment.
Stephane LamoureuxVirtual Artifacts
"We moved to the autonomous database because we needed to concentrate on our product. We wanted the back-end work to be outsourced and to not have to worry about patches," he said. "Database administrators are hard to find -- the very good ones are even harder to find."
Lamoureux said Virtual Artifacts' use of Oracle's Autonomous Database Cloud was limited to data warehouse analytics for now, but putting it to work for transaction processing will come later.
Again, looking toward the future, he said Virtual Artifacts is interested in applications of Oracle's blockchain technology as part of the cloud marketplace. According to Lamoureux, his team is working closely with Oracle in that regard.
Oracle cloud futures
A great deal of Oracle's cloud effort is focused on moving present customers to its cloud. But new users like Virtual Artifacts are important to the company, too, as much of the cloud boom has relied on new applications from new companies.
So far, new applications for new companies have been a stronghold for Oracle competitor AWS. Along with Microsoft, over which it still has a decided edge, AWS sits atop the cloud market.
For Oracle, "it's going to be difficult to penetrate markets already dominated by Amazon and Microsoft," said long-time cloud industry observer David Linthicum, chief cloud strategy officer at Deloitte.
People are going to migrate certain aspects of their IT work into Oracle cloud, he said, relying on Oracle for what he called tactical purposes; that is, for example, for the databases and SaaS systems.
"Oracle is one of the players out there. It's the 800-pound gorilla in the database space and it will be a player in the cloud space, as well," Linthicum said. "We are seeing that out there now."