Oracle Announces Cloud Products, Challenges Amazon

Oracle Corp. announced more than 20 new products and services for the Oracle Cloud Platform at its annual OpenWorld conference last week and took aim at its chief competitor in the cloud infrastructure market.

"Amazon's lead is over," declared Oracle founder, executive chairman and CTO Larry Ellison during his conference keynote. "Amazon is going to have serious competition going forward."

In an earlier statement, Ellison said his company's new Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), dubbed Generation 2, "delivers twice the compute, twice the memory, four times the storage and ten times more I/O at a 20 percent lower price than Amazon Web Services (AWS)." He added that IaaS "represents a huge new cloud opportunity for Oracle to layer on top of our rapidly growing SaaS and PaaS [Platform-as-a-Service] businesses."

The long list of announcements at this year's conference included the release of Oracle Database 12c Release 2. As part of the company's "cloud first" strategy, the latest version of the company's flagship product is being released as a Database-as-a-Service (DBaaS) into the cloud before it ships to on-premises users. In this release, Oracle has increased the multitenancy capability of the database, added native support for sharding (spreading a database across multiple nodes), and added Active Data Guard, which automatically duplicates the in-memory columns to multiple servers to minimize downtime. (In-memory databases were introduced in an earlier release.)

The company also unveiled a new Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offering that blends third-party data with real-time analytics and behavioral inputs "to create cloud applications that adapt and learn." These Adaptive Intelligent Applications are based on the insights from Oracle's Data Cloud, which the company describes as "a collection of more than 5+ billion consumer and business profiles, with over 45,000 attributes."

The list of new and/or enhanced cloud services announced at the show included Oracle Bare Metal Cloud Services, Oracle Ravello Cloud Service, Oracle Container Cloud Service, and Oracle Analytics Cloud, among others. The Bare Metal services provide bare metal cloud servers in a virtualized network environment that deliver high performance Database-as-a-Service (DBaaS), network block storage, object storage, and VPN connectivity. The Bare Metal services interoperates with existing Oracle Cloud Platform offerings.

Oracle says its Ravello Cloud Service is "the first cloud service in the industry that enables organizations to take enterprise VMware and Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) workloads and run them in the public cloud without any changes." This service makes it possible to run VMware natively on public cloud without requiring VM conversion, application reconfiguration, or networking changes, the company said. It is also the only service in the industry that allows enterprises to have full L2 and L3 networking flexibility in the public cloud.

The Oracle Container Cloud Service provides organizations with a Docker-compatible way to deploy application stacks with a single click, the company said. Registry integration capabilities, enterprise-grade application orchestration, and application scheduling and service scaling capabilities make the Oracle Container Cloud Service a uniquely compelling option for cloud developers.

The Oracle Analytics Cloud is an end-to-end solution for business analytics that provides a high-performance analytic processing infrastructure at scale. This service comes with: a suite of tools for data preparation, discovery, visualization and collaboration; a pre-packaged suite of domain-specific machine learning models; packaged best-practice analytic key performance indicators (KPIs); and large-scale, curated, public data sets designed for analytics.

The Oracle Cloud Platform now supports MySQL Cloud Services, the company announced, as well as Oracle Big Data Cloud Services and the Oracle Event Hub Cloud Service.

The company also announced a new program for managed service providers (MSPs) that makes it possible for them to package the Oracle platform with both Oracle and non-Oracle applications. The new Cloud Managed Service Provider Program enables Oracle PartnerNetwork (OPN) members to combine the company's PaaS and IaaS into a set of offerings optimized for specific types of IT deployment services. In addition, the company announed a cloud-based low-code development platform.

Ellison also made a surprise announcement: Oracle is also getting into the "chatbot" market, joining companies like Facebook, Microsoft, and Slack. The company is set to offer a new platform for building and running these human-conversation-simulating applications. During his keynote, Ellison showed off a new set of tools for creating intelligent chatbots that integrate his company's software. And he used an Oracle Mobile Procurement Messenger chatbot on an iPad to order business cards.

About the Author

John K. Waters is the editor in chief of a number of sites, with a focus on high-end development, AI and future tech. He's been writing about cutting-edge technologies and culture of Silicon Valley for more than two decades, and he's written more than a dozen books. He also co-scripted the documentary film Silicon Valley: A 100 Year Renaissance, which aired on PBS.  He can be reached at [email protected].