Additional tools for Oracle Cloud Infrastructure will let users quickly provision packaged software onto Oracle's online app marketplace -- and, the company hopes, help close the competitive gap with AWS, Microsoft and Google.
Click-to-launch capabilities added to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure let customers select software products from Oracle partners and Oracle itself through an online marketplace and launch them directly from the OCI management console. This eliminates deployment steps to import into a running instance and then create custom images, according to the company.
These tools for the Oracle Cloud Marketplace provide a preinstalled app inside a host OS and are meant to run on a single server instance. However, it's not meant for customers to quickly deploy apps in production, but rather make it easier to run pilots using Oracle partners' software, said Bruce Burns, senior director of product management at Oracle.
Still to come is Stack Marketplace, which is set for release in the next few months. It will deliver rapid provisioning capabilities for reference implementations and use a combination of compute, network, storage and databases. Oracle will use HashiCorp's Terraform infrastructure-as-code software under the hood for this.
Notably, Oracle does not take a cut of software license sales partners make through the site; its goal is to grow the amount of OCI workloads and make money on infrastructure charges alone.
Customers also must negotiate all software license pricing directly with the third-party vendor involved.
"We make the connection between the partner and the customer to bring that enterprise sales model to the cloud," Burns said. Partners will get a portal that provides dashboards and other information about activity on their product listings.
Oracle has uphill climb with cloud marketplace
Oracle offered app provisioning capabilities for its first-generation IaaS, which was based on OpenStack. But that saw little market traction, and the more advanced Oracle Cloud Infrastructure arrived in 2016.
There is nothing especially novel about the OCI marketplace or the rapid provisioning capabilities, given the long-standing presence of services like Salesforce's AppExchange. But Oracle needs both to be credible and competitive in today's cloud market.
More than 3,500 applications are available through the marketplace today. But, initially, only 16 images will take advantage of the new provisioning tools.
Oracle's model also blurs the line somewhat between the traditional way enterprises buy software -- an evaluation process with multiple vendors, proofs of concept and a final selection -- and how it's done in the cloud era, said William Fellows, vice president and co-founder of 451 Research.
SaaS, on-demand and consumption-based plans and marketplaces will ultimately usurp the perpetual license model.
"Paying maintenance three years into a license term makes no sense in the world of subscriptions, SaaS and CI/CD [continuous integration/continuous delivery]," he said. "[Nevertheless] plenty of enterprises still purchase software and services on a term basis, with upfront costs that support traditional accounting and budgeting controls rather than the risk of runaway costs with consumption-based models."