Oracle has become the latest firm to expand its UK data centre presence, adding new platform-as-a-service (PaaS) capabilities to its existing offerings, which the firm claimed now makes its portfolio the most comprehensive set of services for customers looking to take advantage of cloud computing.
Oracle has a couple of operational data centres in the UK, but the Slough facility has been upgraded to provide further infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) capabilities while adding new services such as Oracle Database Cloud, Oracle Dedicated Compute Cloud, Oracle Big Data Cloud and Oracle Exadata Cloud to its repertoire.
The move, announced at Oracle's Digital Transformation Conference in London, enables Oracle's enterprise and public sector customers in the UK to take advantage of public cloud services while still having the assurance that their data and applications are hosted in the local jurisdiction, the firm said.
However, Oracle also claimed that it is now the only cloud provider that can offer global enterprise customers a comprehensive set of cloud services, covering IaaS, PaaS and SaaS, all in a unified platform and governed by the same set of management tools. And it is not just targeting users of its existing on-premise systems.
"We're ambitious. Part of the reason for opening data centres and hiring 1,400 new people is that we want to be number one in cloud," said Dermot O'Kelly (pictured), Oracle senior vice president for UK, Ireland and Israel.
This is indeed an ambitious target, given the huge size and global footprint of Amazon's AWS cloud platform, but Oracle claimed that it offers a more comprehensive range of services that enterprises can get in one place.
"What's different about what we're doing is that others are building data centres for a particular service, for the piece of the cloud that they do. So for Amazon that's from an infrastructure point of view, Salesforce from an application point of view. We're building data centres for all of cloud, so you can digitise your whole business," O'Kelly told V3.
He added that Oracle has a pragmatic view of the cloud. Some firms are moving applications and services into the cloud, but many more will adopt cloud services at their own pace and we will probably never see the situation where everything is exported to the cloud.
"Some of the core systems and services, it's too much heavy lifting to move them to the cloud and there's no real advantage in doing so. But certain workloads are going to go the cloud completely, things like HR, ERP, sales and marketing, because we can't find a reason as to why you wouldn't," he said.
As an example, Oracle claimed that it will cost customers about $1 per terabyte per month to use the Oracle Storage Cloud Archive Service, making it about a hundred times cheaper than storing the same data on-premise.
Other good examples are databases and systems for handling big data, according to O'Kelly, who asked why a business would invest large sums of money in the physical infrastructure and the time needed to configure and manage it when they could just provision them with a few clicks from Oracle's cloud.
"This is great for existing enterprise clients, but cloud also opens up for us a whole new market of mid-size companies that like the scalability and security of the Oracle database but maybe felt the barrier to entry was too high," O'Kelly said.
Oracle is not the only cloud provider expanding its UK presence. Microsoft and Amazon announced last year that they were in the process of building new data centres in the country due to be operational later this year.
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