Oracle, Strike Cloud 'Strategic Partnership' CEO Marc Benioff and Oracle CEO Larry Ellison held a joint webcast  last week to say they have formed a "strategic partnership." will use Oracle's suite of software, ranging from its distribution of Linux, to its Exadata appliances, the Oracle database and its Java-based middleware platform.

Oracle also said it will tie its Fusion HCM and Financial Cloud with's application suite, and will implement it internally, as well.

Despite the competitive nature of the two CEOs over the years, Oracle has long provided the underlying database for applications, so it's hardly a major shift in strategy for to go deeper with the company.

Oracle's more surprising alliance took place Monday with a partnership with Microsoft. While the two rivals have always jointly supported Oracle's wares on Windows Server, this official partnership comes in the form of an agreement to work together to support Hyper-V and Windows Azure, including offering license mobility for Oracle software and the ability to acquire it from Microsoft via Windows Azure. It also means the two companies are working together to extend support for Java.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and Server and Tools Group President Satya Nadella, along with Oracle President Mark Hurd, discussed the new partnership during a conference call on June 24. The companies did not disclose terms of the partnership, which takes effect immediately. Curiously, Ellison sat that one out.

Ballmer acknowledged a formal partnership and cooperation was long overdue. "It's about time and we're really glad we have a chance to work in this much newer and more constructive way with Oracle," Ballmer said, adding that the companies' chilly relationship has "evolved" in recent years.

"I think both companies have always, at least [for] many, many years, have had respect for one another and has done the work our customers wanted us to do, maybe behind the scenes, to get Windows Server and the Oracle database, application server and the applications to run," Ballmer said. "In the world of cloud computing, I think that behind-the-scenes collaboration is not enough. Frankly, the relationships between the two companies have evolved. Despite the fact we continue to compete, they have evolved in a positive and constructive manner."

Word of the pact came down during Oracle's earnings call on June 20, when Ellison revealed plans to cooperate with Microsoft, and NetSuite in the cloud. Ellison also alluded to a new database coming from Oracle, called Oracle 12c, with "c" standing for cloud. Ellison described Oracle 12c as "the most important technology we've ever developed for this new generation of cloud security."

There was no mention of Oracle 12c on the call Monday, but what is effective immediately is support for Oracle databases, middleware and apps on Hyper-V and Windows Azure. Also effective Monday is the ability for license mobility customers to run Oracle's software on Windows Azure.

Coming in the future, Microsoft will offer a variety of its software, including its databases, WebLogic Server and Java, in the Windows Azure image gallery. The companies didn't say when the software would be available or which specific configurations, other than to describe them as popular versions.

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.