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Does Oracle have a shot in the public cloud vs. Amazon and Microsoft?

Brandon Butler | Sept. 23, 2016
Starting from scratch, Oracle’s got a solid foundation, but a long way to go, analysts say

Oracle Bare Metal Cloud Services

Bare metal servers are non-virtualized physical compute nodes (meaning there is no hypervisor running to create virtual machines). Giving customers access to the physical machine is helpful for high performance applications, such as database, or running Hadoop, Spark or other applications with high input/output demands or that need a lot of memory. IBM has a bare metal cloud offering with SoftLayer, but Oracle says its bare metal will be faster-provisioning because of its software-defined network underlying it. The bare metal service will be available in early October.

Oracle Container Cloud Service

Latching on to the hottest buzzword in the cloud, Oracle has announced plans for a cloud platform dedicated to running and managing Docker application containers. It will include registries for tracking container images, application orchestration, scheduling and scaling services, Oracle says. It will be available around the start of 2017. Amazon, Microsoft and Google each have container platforms on their clouds.


Sensing an opportunity in the market, Oracle is expanding on its Cloud@Customer service, which allows customers to run infrastructure available from the Oracle Public IaaS cloud behind their own firewall. Cloud@Customer was previously available but new offerings this year include Big Data@Customer for analytics and Exadata@Customer. For all of these offerings, customers rent the infrastructure capacity and only pay for it as it’s used. Microsoft has a similar offering named Azure Stack, which has been delayed in coming the market. Neither AWS nor Google has anything like this.

Not just IaaS

Oracle officials say they have another advantage in the cloud: They will package IaaS with the company’s growing SaaS and Platform-as-a-Service offerings.

“Cloud is not just about infrastructure as a service,” says Oracle senior vice president for Integrated Products Amit Zavery. “The way we define it is software as a service, platform as a service and infrastructure as a service.”

Zavery acknowledges that Amazon was first to the market with AWS. But he notes that Oracle began offering SaaS 10 years ago, too. “They have a lot of catch-up to do in an area where we are already a leader,” he says.

More bluntly, Ellison in one of his keynotes said AWS is 20 years behind Oracle when it comes to SaaS.

The price/performance metric

One of Ellison’s chief talking points for Oracle cloud is its price/performance ratios. Oracle’s largest virtual machine instance size is larger than AWS’s top tier VM.

Leong, from Gartner, suggests taking this with a grain of salt though. Prices in the cloud market are known to change frequently, and there are many different accounting practices used to bill customers, from on-demand instances to reserved instances to spot instances. Vendors are constantly rolling out new VM instance sizes. too.


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