SAN FRANCISCO: Oracle has expanded its cloud suite, adding 10 services ranging from Java to mobile to business intelligence, which customers can access on a subscription basis via the Oracle Cloud.
Oracle was keen to promote the benefits of going with its version of the cloud at the OpenWorld show this week, as it continues to compete with pureplay cloud and software as a service (SaaS) rivals such as Salesforce.com and Amazon Web Services (AWS).
The latest additions to the Oracle Cloud include the Java Cloud, which gives firms a full-featured WebLogic instance in the cloud, so any Java app customers run on-premise, they can run in the cloud; the Database Cloud, which offers a dedicated database instance and supports any Oracle Database application; the Mobile Cloud, which lets firms take any enterprise app, expose services from there and publish those apps out to iOS and Android devices without running any software on-premise; and the Business Intelligence Cloud that allows firms to take data from any source, build reports, and do analytics in the cloud environment.
Oracle has also added cloud services for sharing documents, running cloud workloads, unstructured data storage, database backup, revenue management and a cloud partner marketplace.
The 10 new services join existing modules in the Oracle Cloud for apps such as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and talent management, social tools and storage.
According to Thomas Kurian, executive vice president of development at Oracle, there are currently 21 million people across 163 countries carrying out 19 billion transactions a day on the Oracle Cloud. He added that 18,000 companies use the Oracle Cloud, which increases to 20,000 if that number includes partners.
The most popular apps running in the cloud at present are HR and customer experience CRM, with 10,000 instances of each. ERP was introduced to the cloud in June 2012, and now has 50 customers with live versions, and a further 100 in deployment, which Kurian said takes about 18 months.
Neil Ward-Dutton, research director at analyst MWD, said Oracle was taking the right approach to the cloud by adding services in a slow and measured manner. “Oracle’s customers are quite conservative in many cases, especially those coming in from acquisitions,” he said. “They want tried and tested. It’s all about trust, which is the message that Oracle wants to engender. Customers can try the public cloud or they can do it in their own environment.”
Kurian was keen to allay any concerns customers might have around the privacy of data stored in the Oracle Cloud. Oracle has 13 data centres located around the world, he explained, with one in Slough, one in Scotland, along with three in the US, and others in locations including Sydney and Singapore. He added that Oracle has data centre partners only operating in Europe, so the US does not touch the data, which is especially important in light of the NSA PRISM spying scandal.
Kurian said one of the key differentiators for the Oracle Cloud is that Oracle manages the entire process for customers. “Oracle manages the software for you, we’re not giving you a compute as a service and you have to deploy the image you’ve got and you’re responsible. With our Java Cloud service, we manage that environment for you and give you a highly available environment,” he explained.
Another key advantage is the potential cost savings from Oracle providing not only the compute and storage resources via the cloud, but also the database and application infrastructure. “So you don’t have to maintain the system, you don’t have to back up, restore, upgrade – this is where the big cost reduction comes,” Kurian said.
Kurian also touted Oracle’s ability to offer a broad range of services in the cloud, from database to analytics to mobile, and the familiarity of running the same software that firms have been running on-premise in the cloud.
“It gives the IT group both comfort that their people are not writing code with a set of software not blessed with their standards, and the flexibility to move between the cloud and on-premise,” he noted. “This breadth of offering is important, we take care of the management. You don’t have to put your data and code and business processes in lots of different places.”
However, Kurian acknowledged that there was still work to be done within Oracle to transform the sales organisation for the cloud era, focusing on selling to business units such as sales and HR rather than just IT. “We need to get our sales teams to focus on selling these solutions to the business buyer and simplify the message. That’s an ongoing journey that we’re on.”
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