Deepak Patil (pictured) knows the cloud. He spent 16 years at Microsoft where he worked his way up to general manager for Microsoft Cloud Infrastructure, and now works at Oracle, taking over as vice president for development at the start of the year.
Patil explained that the opportunity to help Oracle build the "industry's first second-generation cloud platform" was very enticing, and that several other staff who have joined the team from AWS, Google and Microsoft feel the same.
"We said to them: you have built large-scale cloud platforms for the best part of a decade, you've learned lessons, seen what customers want, made mistakes. There is now an opportunity to come [to Oracle] and build the first truly second-generation cloud platform," he told V3 during an interview.
"So it's really an amazing opportunity to take a blank slate and build a cloud platform that avoids all the mistakes of the past and offers the very best to customers."
AWS, Google and Microsoft dominate the public cloud market for now, but Patil believes there is still huge scope for growth and that Oracle's offerings will appeal to the thousands of businesses still to move the cloud.
"We are the only large-scale cloud provider that builds the entire stack in-house - the hardware, firmware, software-defined networks, business software - so we have a unique advantage there," he said.
"The customers we talk to are only just getting started on the path to the cloud and we believe that the digital transformation around the cloud is just getting started. So AWS may have $12bn in revenue, but of a $1tn industry."
Oracle is going after as many customers as it can to continue growth in the cloud market, and Patil highlighted seven standard questions that customers ask. He calls these the 'seven questions of highly curious cloud customers':
- Compared with my on-premise set-up, or other provider, is your cloud cost-efficient?
- Is the cloud more reliable than my on-premise systems?
- Compared with my own systems is the cloud trustworthy? Is it secure, transparent, compliant, protects my privacy and has the necessary governance capabilities?
- Is the cloud platform truly elastic on a global basis? If I want to open in Japan tomorrow, does the platform offer this?
- Is the cloud open? Will I have the opportunity work on open source technologies?
- Does the cloud make me instantly more productive? Because no-one has the resources to completely redirect them for cloud migration and not see any return in a reasonable time. People want instant productivity increases in some shape or form.
- Do I get to maintain control of my ecosystem? Because a lot of big challenges and worries that cloud customers have is ‘I am getting out of the data centre business but there are things about my data centre I like. I like to have control. I have visibility. I feel more secure, and now I am relinquishing that control to you. How do I get to maintain control of things I want to maintain control of?'
Patil added some more context to some of these points, noting for example on question six, that customers have high expectations of seeing an almost instant benefit to their business by being in the cloud.
"This happens in four areas usually. It covers reduced costs, improved compliance and security, the ability to scale easily and having access to modern tools and technologies straight away," he said.
Touching on scalability and global presence, Patil hinted that Oracle will soon announce new regions, possibly including in Europe.
"We have two regions in EMEA, one in Amsterdam and one in Slough. We are aggressively looking at increasing our presence and making investments, and we are in the process of rolling out our global expansion plan that we will announce really soon," he said.
Oracle will, of course, hope to sign up as many customers as possible, but Patil said that in the future, as firms become more comfortable using the cloud, many will end up using a mix of providers, rather than going all in on one platform.
"All of us, Oracle, Azure, AWS and so on, will always show customers the reasons not to go anywhere else by demonstrating that our platform is the most complete and so on," he said.
"But at the same time we have to be cognisant of the fact a lot of customers will want to have multiple platforms."
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