Oracle Open World 2016 is over and it’s time to take at least two steps back. Why at least? You’ll know it, if you read through this article.
To briefly summarize it upfront: It was again a great event! There was an amazing and, at the same time, special spirit around, which attendees were able to feel and which was contagious – that’s my view, because before Open World I felt a little uncomfortable. I wasn’t sure about the general direction, where Oracle is heading regarding different Cloud topics; the overall strategy was not 100% clear to me. I had some open questions and uncertainties, which were answered respectively clarified during the conference. This makes me much more confident for the future and gives me in addition new ideas for my daily work, which of course will not become easier with the knowledge I gained at the conference. But this simultaneously makes my job attractive and exiting.
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) – The new focus
If you look at the figures in Oracle’s business summary for fiscal year 2016, it is really impressive what happened there. The revenue, just for the Cloud business, was at 1 Billion dollar!
The good news, although this is not a secret, Oracle will keep going with investing in their Cloud business. As it can be seen from the picture above there is still room for improvement, since most of this revenue is coming from the SaaS and PaaS area.
“Now we are aggressively moving to infrastructure. We have a new generation that we are running around the world”, Oracle Executive Chairman and CTO Larry Ellison
The new thing is that a large part of the investments will be especially done in the Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) area, the Gen2 IaaS offerings, – I personally wasn’t aware of this. But doing so is just the logical next step, because a robust and reliable IaaS platform is key for growing the PaaS and also the SaaS business! This also converges with Larry Ellison’s statement, who said in one of his Keynotes: “IaaS represents a huge new opportunity for Oracle to layer on top of our rapidly growing SaaS and PaaS businesses”.
With this move, Oracle is approaching their main Cloud Competitors, like Amazon and Microsoft even more aggressive. So it will become hard times for them, since Oracle is even cheaper and faster than Amazon – the only thing you need to do is that you must be willing to pay 20% less, as Larry Ellison mentioned.
A further key differentiator for Oracle’s IaaS Cloud business are Bare Metal servers, which were announced during the conference. Bare Metal is a physical appliance optimized for high performance, without the need for virtualization. It is able to handle any workload, on any operating system and hypervisor – another piece of the Cloud puzzle. In addition Oracle is also working on the availability by providing cross-datacenter HA. All in all, these are interesting steps in the right direction!
Further investments in PaaS offerings to delivery “One consistent Platform”
Also in the areas of PaaS Oracle listed a singificant growth. Starting with 12 Cloud Services in Q1 2016, Oracle finally ended up with over 50(!) Cloud Services by Q4 2016. This is a very impressive increase in only one year, but also a huge challenge for Oracle to make comprehensible offerings to customers, since some of the Cloud services have overlapping functionalities. One big advantage of the Oracle PaaS offering: it is one complete platform that covers different areas, like for example Integration or Big Data, and which can be managed and monitored consistently.
To survive in this “jungle” of Cloud Services, customers need some guidance to choose the right combination of Cloud Services to address a specific business need. From a partner’s perspective, it is important to guide customers and to help them to find the right combination of Cloud Services – that’s blessing and curse. Oracle is already aware of that and will shortly introduce so called Suites, which will contain a useful combination of services, aiming to cover specific use cases.
In addition, there were some announcements regarding new PaaS services respectively the enhancement of existing ones. Highlights here were:
- New: API Platform Cloud Service
- Consistent Enterprise API Management platform
- Supports API First Design
- New: Analytics Cloud Service
- Visualize any data on any device
- No need for specific implementation skills
- Great connectivity (40+ connectors)
- New: Data Integration Cloud Service
- Data Warehouse and analytics
- Repliaction, ETL/ELT and Data quality
- New: Dataflow Machine Learning Cloud Service
- 0-Code GUI
- Leverages from Open Standards, like Apache Spark and Kafka
- New: Big Data Discovery Cloud Service
- Visualize and discover hidden values in data
- Transform huge amount of data to business insights
- Process data using Apache Spark
- New: Content and Experience Cloud Service
- Digital asset management and mobile collaboration (Multi channel)
- Consistent brand experience across channels
- New: Virtual Assistance (Chatbot) Platform
- Contextual conversations with intelligent virtual assistant
- Integration with Facebook Messenger, Slack and others
- New: Identity Cloud Service
- Central Identity Management Platform
- Can be used to align OnPrem and Cloud Identity Stores
- New: Management Cloud Service
- APM capabilities
- Centralized Logging
Furthermore there were announcements regarding enhancements of the already existing Cloud Services, like Integration Cloud Service (ICS), which is further improvement by adding new connectors and also adding new capabilities for defining integrations. So the existing Cloud Services are becoming also more and more mature, which is good to see.
Oracle Cloud Platform – Migrate, Extend and Modernize
Oracle’s claim is to provide a complete Cloud offering that supports the easy migration of existing applications to the Cloud, the development of Cloud Native apps in common technologies like Java or Node.js and the creation of new applications leveraging from the functionalities from the PaaS offerings.
Regarding the migration, Oracle’s intention is to make it as easy as possible for customers to move their applications to the Cloud by just hitting a button, which furthers the Cloud adoption – Lift ‘n Shift is the magic word these days.To flesh this out, Oracle acquired Ravello Systems. With Ravello it is easily possible to move complete existing VMware images to the Public Cloud. This works seamless by just hitting a button, without any furthers efforts.
In addition, Oracle provides Container Cloud Services to build Cloud Native apps, like Application Container Cloud Service (ACCS), to allow customers to easy shift existing Java, Node.js or even PHP applications to the Cloud. With Developers Cloud Service (DevCS), Oracle also provides a Cloud development platform that covers basic DevOps capabilities, like Source Code management, Build automation, Issue Tracking, Wiki and more.
To infinity and far beyond…
To make a long story short. Oracle’s Cloud offering reaches the next level of maturity, even though there is still a way to go! The great advantage of Oracle with respect to the competitors is that they have an integrated approach built upon the three pillows: IaaS, PaaS and SaaS.
It is interesting to see that Oracle is doing a huge shift of it’s core business; away from a leader for on-premise Platforms and Solutions and over to a pure Cloud company. This takes some time and also is challenging, from a organizational as well as from a technical perspective. The exciting thing is that we can learn a lot from this, because similar things has to be taken into account while defining a long-term Cloud strategy!
Even if Oracle seems to be late in the Cloud market and is now maybe not as mature as for example Amazon, they have a consistent and comprehensive vision. And although some people think that this is a disadvantage, from my point of view this might be a potential advantage form a long term perspective. Because as we’ve already seen in the past, learning from the pioneers in a specific area is not the worst thing.