This post is one of a series of previews of companies presenting at Cloud Field Day 3, an invitation-only event in Silicon Valley, taking place 4-6 April 2018. For more information, see the dedicated CFD3 events page https://blog.architecting.it/events/cloud-field-day-3/.
There are few people in the IT world who haven’t heard of Oracle. The company has dominated the relational database business for well over 20 years, although the history of the company stretches back more like 40 years old. Unfortunately, dominance doesn’t necessarily translate to popularity and it’s fair to say that Oracle (the company) has a fervent stance towards sales, which hasn’t always enamoured it with it’s customers.
But what about the cloud business? In 2008, then CEO Larry Ellison poured distain on the cloud model, even as he admitted Oracle would eventually have a cloud offering.
“Maybe I’m an idiot, but I have no idea what anyone is talking about. What is it? It’s complete gibberish. It’s insane. When is this idiocy going to stop?” – Larry Ellison in reference to Cloud Computing.
Oracle has had cloud service offerings for a long time and in the “modern era” of cloud computing (e.g. after AWS launched) delivered PaaS and database focused services from 2011 (link). However, IaaS offerings like AWS EC2 were only delivered in 2015. Since then, things have moved on at a pace, although growth may be slowing.
Devil in the Detail
I have to admit to knowing little about Oracle Cloud offerings. I have looked into them as a comparison to EC2 and other vendor instance/compute services. It seemed that Oracle had chosen a different design model in terms of processor, memory and I/O definitions that made it difficult to compare between providers.
The only other area I can think of where Oracle may choose to present is in relation to their Ravello platform. Ravello Systems was acquired by Oracle in February 2016 for the princely sum of $500m and enables applications running on VMware vSphere to be ported to AWS and GCP. That logic has been extended to Oracle Cloud, in a bid to make it easy for Oracle to acquire customers using on-premises virtualisation.
The concept of Ravello is pretty cool. It effectively implements application portability, without a need to refactor the application itself. Although I’ve never used it for any length of time, I have played with the platform and know of large IT organisations that find Ravello essential to their test and development operations.
The Architect’s View™
Whether Oracle chooses to present on IaaS or Ravello, we should be in for some interesting discussion. From the IaaS side, I’d like to understand Oracle design goals and differentiation compared to say AWS or Azure. With Ravello, I’m interested in understanding the way in which data is moved to/from a Ravello deployment. More generally, I’m hoping to get a feel on how Oracle is expecting to retain their customer base as the previous lock-in (or stickiness) of the Oracle Database doesn’t transfer to the cloud model. This is probably the most challenging area for the company in the coming years.
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