When Sun owned Java, Staten says, it didn't want to license it to Microsoft because it didn't want to make Windows stronger. By putting Oracle's database on Azure, Microsoft has found a way to get a Java license from Java's new owner.
Where does that leave Microsoft's SQL database? Staten points out that, since Azure is positioned as Windows in the cloud, any software that runs on premises should also be able to run on Azure. "This deal means that no one is forced to give up Oracle if they want to run their applications in the Azure cloud," he says.
In any case, SQL isn't seen as a direct alternative to the more powerful and scalable Oracle database by most organizations, Staten says. "But for Microsoft, at least Oracle customers may be exposed to SQL Azure or SQL running in a VM as a consequence of this deal."
The partnership is also good for Microsoft because it's exclusive: You can virtualize Oracle software only in an Oracle VM or using Microsoft's virtualization technology. There's no technical reason why Oracle can't run on a VMware hypervisor, but that company has effectively been left out in the cold. "Oracle appears to be betting against VMware becoming a leader in the public cloud space," Staten says.
Everyone's a winner
As for the known details of the deal, Microsoft will likely have to pay Oracle a significant sum for the Java license. In financial terms, then, Oracle would seem to be the main beneficiary of the deal in the short term. Oracle also benefits by ensuring that its technologies can be used in what one day may be the biggest public cloud.
Looking further, though, Microsoft may be the bigger winner. That's because Azure and Hyper-V gain a great deal of credibility from being certified platforms for Java and Oracle's database. It puts Microsoft Azure on nearly equal footing with AWS and definitely gives it an advantage over VMware's public cloud efforts.
But perhaps the biggest beneficiaries will be Microsoft's and Oracle's enterprise customers. The deal makes Azure a more competitive platform for them, as Oracle software is now fully supported in Microsoft's cloud. Previously customers would have had to have gone to AWS for that kind of support. Plus, increased competition is invariably good for business.
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