Oracle takes the fight to Amazon, Salesforce.com with new cloud services
By Chris Kanaracus
Oracle is offering a series of new services that position it as a one-stop shop for all things cloud and directly target the likes of Amazon Web Services and Salesforce.com.
While Oracle had already offered SaaS (software-as-a-service) applications, database-as-a-service and other products, it announced 10 additional cloud services at the OpenWorld conference in San Francisco on Tuesday.
They include Compute Cloud and Object Storage Cloud, both of which seem aimed at similar services from AWS. Oracle termed its own offerings as secure, “enterprise-grade” and “fully configurable.” The services are currently in preview, according to Oracle’s cloud services website.
Oracle also announced a new managed Database Cloud service that gives customers control over a dedicated instance of its database.
“We back it up nightly, we give you point-in-time recovery, we upgrade the software for it and we can also tune it for you if you need us to do so,” executive vice president of product development Thomas Kurian said during a keynote address at OpenWorld on Tuesday.
Oracle is apparently offering the new database service in three tiers: Basic, Managed and Premium Managed. All three options were listed as being in preview stage on Tuesday.
That verbiage suggests Oracle wants to give customers the option of a higher-touch, and likely more expensive experience than they’d get from simply paying as they go for raw database capacity from the likes of AWS and Oracle itself.
Oracle also announced a Java Cloud that delivers clusters of Weblogic Server along with “full administrative control”; a BI (business intelligence) cloud that provides self-service tools for uploading data and generating dashboards; Documents Cloud, for file sharing and collaboration; Mobile Cloud, which includes tools for building secure mobile applications; and a database backup service. The latter three are also in preview mode.
In addition, Oracle announced a Billing and Revenue Management cloud service for companies that depend on subscription billing. This offering will directly compete with the likes of Zuora.
Finally, in a nod to Salesforce.com’s AppExchange, Oracle is rolling out Cloud Marketplace, a site where partners can list applications that integrate with Oracle’s own and customers can shop around.
Oracle apparently wants to present itself to customers as a company that can meet all of their cloud-related needs.
There’s a benefit to this approach, said Senior Vice President of Applications Development Chris Leone, during a presentation earlier in the week.
Most companies have taken a “very tactical” approach to adopting cloud services, Leone said. But then they end up dealing with “four, five, six vendors, all with different [service-level agreements],” and IT departments end up with the unwieldy task of managing these relationships, he said.
“What we’ve seen is customers say, how can I consolidate my cloud mess and bring this all together,” Leone said. “We have the full breadth, so you can start to think about that.”
When Oracle denotes a service as being in preview, it means that between 20 and 100 customers are using it in sort of a beta program, Kurian said during a press conference Tuesday. All of them are expected to be generally available in the first half of 2014, he added.
Of particular interest to some may be how much Oracle charges for its object storage and compute services, given the continuous downward pricing pressure in that market. While declining to give specifics, Kurian said Oracle plans to be price-competitive.
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