We had the chance to learn from Oracle executives about the company’s progress in all things cloud, at a recent event in Palm Springs. It was good to see that Oracle communicated openly and with candor where the company stands in regards getting ready for and taking advantage of the cloud era.


First of all there can be no question after this day, that Oracle is and remains committed to the cloud. Thomas Kurian who kicked of the day of briefings was crystal clear on that. All prior irritations of the past are history and there can be no question that the product development executives we spoke to are fully committed to cloud. Maybe even a little too much – as in my view too many products got the as a Service suffix – not sure how many ‘aaS’ products customer will really want to deal with.

The state of SaaS

Chris Leone (@chrismleone) presented the Oracle SaaS status and he was a good choice – as Constellation sees Oracle HCM Cloud having the most traction, followed by CRM Cloud and Finance Cloud. None of the colleagues questions Oracle’s push in SaaS. Likewise it was good to see Thomas Kurian speak about the Supply Chain and Manufacturing offering earlier in the day - for whatever reason(s) Oracle is traditionally late to bring manufacturing automation to new platforms, but it’s good to see the traction starting in this area that completes enterprise automation for most enterprises.

The DNA of Oracle’s SaaS products remains compelling – with its foundations on top of Oracle Social Network and a pretty good mobile architecture. User interfaces are now compelling to use – and it’s good to see executives – from Kurian down – demo the software themselves. And Oracle did a good job showing some thought leadership in a CRM demo – not only showing social interactions, but coining the term digital body language’ (coming from Eloqua) and using the predictive analytics foundation to foretell future sales success.


From Kurian's presentation.


New – Information as a Service

Kurian presented the Oracle cloud having one more offering than the usual trifecta of SaaS, PaaS and IaaS – with Information as a Service. Later he presented one slide on the topic – unfortunately under NDA – but we can all conjure what this offering is all about.

The state of PaaS

Oracle brings a very rich product portfolio to its PaaS offering, probably stronger than its IaaS offering (for now). Not surprisingly – and similar to IBM – PaaS caters to developers, LOB execs and IT managers.


From Kurian's presentation.

The most attractive offering for developers is certainly the Java-as-a-Service offerings, with an integrated IDE and access to a powerful database. On the LOB executive side social platform with collaboration and the integration / BPM capabilities are attractive. And on the IT side it’s certainly the cloud to cloud iPaaS and APM capabilities (based on EnterpriseManager) that are key offerings.

Given Oracle’s large install base for its database we expect a lot of interest of existing customers for the Database-as-a-Service (DBaaS) offering. Having an 11gR2 or 12c database readily available to you, with the option of having it fully managed by Oracle is certainly an attractive value proposition for Oracle DBMS customers.

The DBaaS offering is also one of the best examples right now how the integrated Oracle technology stack (aka redstack) can work together – to enable RESTful HTTP service Oracle ‘just’ bundles in a (lightweight) Java Server. Constellation expects similar under the hood bundling of the redstackto emerge sooner than later.

Moreover, Oracle 12c pluggable data base architecture makes it easy to move complete database between on premise, cloud and if you want clouds.

The State of IaaS

Here Oracle offers Storage, Compute, Identity, (lightweight) queues and notifications. From all three traditional cloud product areas – SaaS, PaaS and IaaS, this is the one where Oracle needs to catch up and move faster. In all these areas it seems Kurian has prescribed the two step program mentioned in the headline of this blog post – get there first and then differentiate. And we are positive that Oracle uses OpenStack standard both on compute and storage… but that of course means questions on how and where to differentiate remain.


From Kurian's presentation.


Logically Oracle has begun with Storage and Compute but it has some road to cover before being at par with Amazon’s AWS, Microsoft’s Azure and Google GCE. Credit goes to Oracle execs acknowledging this, but the roadmap looks realistic and only to a certain point ambitious.

A word on private cloud

One of the key decisions the Oracle executive team took was to operate public and private cloud offerings on the same technology stack, a decision that has proven right and is paying off already. And customers really appreciate the capability to run a familiar technology stack both on premise and in the cloud, being flexible to move loads across on premise and public cloud. On the IaaS layer the Nimbula Cloud Director is the key asset to orchestrate this capability.

From Kurian's presentation.

Needless to say Oracle offers customers plenty of option for consolidation – for servers (with Nimbula), platforms (RAC) and databases (12c multitenancy). We expect customers to heavily look into these areas as they may realize attractive cost savings. It was also interesting to see that Oracle plans to offer very similar consolidation offers for middleware – server (with Nimbula), platform (WebLogic clusters) and Application Server consolidation (multi tenant WebLogic Server).


Amit Zavery (@AZavery) later had a slide in his deck explaining how Oracle is working with with Microsoft and Verizon, who run Oracle’s database and middlware on Azure and Verizon Cloud respectively.

From Zavery's presentation.

No surprise here – but I believe this is the first formal public slide on the subject. We think seeing that Oracle is able to partner / OEM / deliver (pick your best wording) its products is a good proof point of the attractiveness of the products, but also forces Oracle to be open and flexible at certain intersection of its technology stack. Prominent example being support for Microsoft’s Hyper-v hypervisor in the partnership with Windows Azure.


6 months after checking in with Oracle at OpenWorld, there has been good progress across the board for the cloud products. There is still a lot of road to cover though, but all road maps were under NDA – so we can’t comment further. We still see the three strong converging forces working for Oracle and stay to our three concerns (they are here). But 2014 should be the year where it all comes together for Oracle.

At the end of the day we can only repeat ourselves – the fully integrated technology stack that Oracle is largely using already and revving for the cloud, remains one of the most intriguing technology stacks being built out there. But with well over 20k developers working on this – this is one of the largest engineering projects in the enterprise software industry ever, so the behind the scenes challenges around interdependencies, quality, ramp-up etc. can’t be overseen. To give Oracle, Kurian and his team credit – there are close to no stories on product problems out there. Let’s hope it stays like this – better for Oracle customers, Oracle and ultimately the whole industry. 

Also worth a look for the full picture

  • Is it all coming together for Oracle in 2014? Read here

  • From the fences - Oracle AR Meeting takeaways - read here (this was the last analyst meeting in spring 2013)

  • Takeaways from Oracle CloudWorld LA - read here (this was one of the first cloud world events overall, in January 2013)

And if you want to read more of my findings on Oracle technology - I suggest:

  • Oracle integrates products to create its Foundation for Cloud Applications - read here.

  • Java grows up to the enterprise - read here.

  • 1st take - Oracle in memory option for its database - very organic - read here.

  • Oracle 12c makes the database elastic - read here.

  • How the cloud can make the unlikeliest bedfellows - read here.

  • Act I - Oracle and Microsoft partner for the cloud - read here.

  • Act II - The cloud changes everything - Oracle and Salesforce.com - read here.

  • Act III - The cloud changes everything - Oracle and Netsuite with a touch of Deloitte - read here

Lastly - paying tribute to my Future of Work / HCM / SaaS research area:

  • Oracle pushes modern HR - there is more than technology - read here. (Takeaways from the recent HCMWorld conference).

  • Why Applications Unlimited is good a good strategy for Oracle customers and Oracle - read here.