• October 1, 2012
  • By Leonard Klie, Editor, CRM magazine and SmartCustomerService.com

Oracle Continues to Build Out Its Cloud

SAN FRANCISCO (Oracle OpenWorld) --- As Oracle looks to build out its cloud-based portfolio, the computer software and hardware giant launched its infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) offering yesterday.

Larry Ellison, Oracle's CEO, in his keynote address Sunday evening, said the new IaaS offering complements Oracle's existing software-as-a-service (SaaS) and platform-as-a-service (PaaS) offerings because that's what the company's customers have requested. "It makes a lot of sense for Oracle to offer this," he said. "Customers, to fully embrace cloud computing, need all three layers of service."

"Oracle is the only company to offer all three," Mark Hurd, Oracle's president, stressed during his keynote speech Monday morning. "Oracle is the only vendor that can give customers the complete stack of hardware and software."

Ellison on Sunday evening also unveiled the Oracle Private Cloud, which allows customers to store some of their data behind their own firewalls while still maintaining all the benefits of a cloud deployment. And, "users can't tell the difference," he said.

According to Hurd, "this is a big deal," bringing "all the benefits of the cloud without any of the privacy or security issues."

Hurd also said that the entire stack is "the next generation of cloud solutions," providing a mix of public or private cloud, on-premises, or hybrid offerings.

Also launched at the event was Oracle Database 12C, a multitenancy product that Ellison said breaks the mold of traditional database options. Traditional database architectures rely on separate memory, processes, files, operating systems, and other components dedicated to each individual data stack, including those for CRM, ERP, and data warehousing apps. Oracle 12C, however, is one central system into which users can plug multiple data stacks. According to Ellison, this allows customers to use one-sixth of the hardware to run five times as many databases.

At last year's event, Ellison first announced Oracle's Public Cloud, but he said this year that this was not Oracle's first foray into the world of cloud computing.

Oracle first toyed with the cloud in 2004 when it drafted plans for the Fusion suite of applications. "We had to build the platform first before we could build the applications," he said. "In 2011, we got to the point where we could release Fusion and start delivering cloud services."

Today, "there's a lot that's attractive about cloud computing," he maintained, noting that the cloud provider bears all the responsibility while the customer buys capacity without a lot of upfront costs.

The last announcement of the day came when Ellison announced plans for the Exadata X3, its new in-memory computing platform, which can reduce data storage costs by up to 10 times.

Hurd, in his Monday address, said Exadata X3 offers "a gargantuan amount of memory," which is important gfiven that most companies are growing their data by 40 percent each year and spending about 20 percent of their IT budgets on storage.

All four developments, Hurd said, are the result of a high amount of spending by Oracle on research and development during the past few years. The company is on pace to spend $5 billion on R&D this year, after spending $4.5 billion in 2011 and $4.2 billion the year before. This also comes on the heels of $6 billion in mergers and acquisitions last year alone, he added.

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