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Oracle pushes its database platform further into the cloud

At Oracle OpenWorld 2014, CTO Larry Ellison announced that users will be able use a new cloud database service to send their Oracle Database instances to the cloud with "the push of a button."

Oracle CTO Larry Ellison on Sunday unveiled an updated cloud platform, highlighted by a database platform service that the former CEO said would allow users to move an Oracle Database instance to the cloud with "the push of a button."

The updated Oracle Database platform as a service (PaaS) offering will go live by the end of September, Ellison said during a keynote speech at the Oracle OpenWorld 2014 conference in San Francisco. According to his presentation slides, the new Database Instance as a Service component will spin up a fully provisioned Oracle Database 11g or 12c instance in a virtual machine running on Linux in the Oracle cloud, with the ability to bring it back on-premises if desired.

The expanded database service was one of several announcements that Ellison made, with others covering applications, hardware, and processors. All came during his keynote, which kicked off OpenWorld 10 days after Ellison gave up his CEO position and became Oracle's CTO and executive chairman.

For customers, the increased cloud capabilities could mean more flexibility. "It really is about options," said Alyssa Johnson, president of the Oracle Applications Users Group. "I think Oracle users are going to have more options for how they deploy."

Ellison said Oracle became aware that it would have to become a provider of the three layers of the cloud: PaaS as well as software as a service (SaaS) and infrastructure as a service (IaaS). "We had no choice," he said, adding that it was "all because of a promise we made to customers 30 years ago."

Ellison explained that IT architectures have gone through four major generations: mainframes and minicomputers, client/server, thin clients and now the cloud. During each of the transitions between those technologies, Ellison said, Oracle customers wanted to move their databases to the new infrastructure with little disturbance. That, he said, is what Oracle has enabled from the beginning of its existence, and what it will continue to do as customers migrate to the cloud.

"That's what people expect us to do -- what we've been doing for the past 30 years: to upgrade everything without having to touch a line of code," he said.

Audience members noted Ellison's emphasis on the cloud. After the speech, Chet Phillips, CIO at Enlivant, a Chicago-based operator of assisted living communities for senior citizens, said, "We were just noticing that a lot of the buzzwords were missing, like big data. We think he sees [cloud vendors] as his biggest competition, so he's pushing all the buttons."

Ellison spent much of the early part of the keynote touting Oracle's cloud credentials, calling the company a "player" in SaaS and promising to price its IaaS offering competitively with what market leader Amazon Web Services charges. He also took potshots at rivals, Workday and SAP.

But the spotlight was on the revamped cloud database platform, as Oracle seeks to establish itself as a leader in cloud computing. Currently, it is far from that, according to figures from technology market research firm IDC. In July, IDC reported that the public cloud market amounted to a total of almost $46 billion in 2013. But in terms of revenue leaders, Oracle ranked in the top five in just one category, taking fourth place in SaaS. IDC said AWS topped both the PaaS and IaaS segments, while Salesforce led the way in SaaS.

Additional reporting by News Director Mark Fontecchio. Follow SearchOracle on Twitter: @SearchOracle.

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