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  • December 18, 2018

Building Enterprise Onramps to the Cloud Native Freeway

Andy Thurai
Emerging Technology Strategy & Evangelist

Welcome to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure Innovators, a series of occasional articles featuring advice, insights, and fresh ideas from IT industry experts and Oracle cloud thought leaders.

Businesses of all sizes, from startups to large, established enterprises, are talking about cloud native technologies such as Kubernetes, containers, and serverless. In fact, cloud native is becoming a market imperative for technology-centric businesses that want to remain competitive in the era of cloud computing.

I recently sat down for a conversation with Bob Quillin, vice president of developer relations at Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, who founded StackEngine, a container management startup acquired by Oracle in 2015. In this interview, Quillin explains how Oracle Cloud Infrastructure enables enterprises to use traditional technologies in a cloud-native context. He also talks about Oracle's longstanding embrace of open standards and open source software and offers recent examples of cloud native uses cases around Oracle Database, Java microservices, and WebLogic technologies.

Listen to our conversation here and read a condensed version below:

You came to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure from a startup. How does it feel here?

Bob Quillin: It has actually been a pretty exciting time. The Oracle Cloud Infrastructure team up in Seattle was basically formed as a startup within Oracle. Over the last two to three years, we acquired Wercker for continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD). They were a startup in the CI/CD space. We also brought in the Iron.io serverless team, and Dyn was another huge acquisition that added a whole bunch of edge services expertise into the Oracle Cloud Infrastructure team. So, we really have a lot of innovators. There are lots of people trying to do some cool and interesting things inside Oracle, and also help us take our second-generation capabilities around cloud and cloud native to the market. It's been a great opportunity.

What is your team hearing from customers about the cloud and cloud native technologies?

Quillin: As we talk to customers—enterprises, startups, any technology-centric company—we've learned that going cloud and cloud native is really a market imperative. It's a mandate for businesses that want to be digital in this era. The movement is customer driven—and one thing I've found here in my time at Oracle is that Oracle is very customer-centric. Working on this team and evangelizing cloud native technologies over the last four to five years, I've seen that this movement toward cloud native is pervasive. It's both large and small organizations, and it's happening across the board.

Can you tell me more about what's happening with cloud native and open source technologies at Oracle?

Quillin: Oracle actually has a long history in open source and open standards with technologies like SQL, Java, and Linux, for example. We now have this new whole new breed of startups that came into Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, and they're bringing a real startup mentality, a new kind of DNA, into Oracle. If you think about the Oracle Cloud Infrastructure team in Seattle, a lot of them came out of cloud businesses like Amazon and Azure. So, in many ways, we're used to cloud, we're open source software developers, and we're really committed to taking this forward in the right way.

To that end, last year we joined the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) as a Platinum member. We rolled out a whole bunch of new cloud native technologies based on CNCF standards and Kubernetes. We were one of the first solutions to be certified conformant by the CNCF, and we're also one of the first to release open source serverless solutions through our Fn project. People don't necessarily equate Oracle and open source and cloud, but we’re here to help change that. The way to do it is to really commit from the bottom up by engaging with the community and working with developers organically. That's what we're doing. We're working with developers from the bottom up and enterprises from the top down.

Cloud native development is obviously taking the world by storm. But is it only suitable for enterprises that focus mostly on developing new applications? Or, can it also help if I'm a big enterprise with lots of traditional applications, databases, and legacy workloads?

Quillin: It can absolutely help big enterprises with traditional workloads. Most of these technologies came out of web-scale companies, be they Netflix, or Google, or Spotify, for example. A lot of the cloud native technologies came from Generation 1 cloud or first-wave cloud native offerings. I think what we're seeing now is the second wave, where you have more and more organizations like Oracle trying to build more onramps to the cloud native freeway, and getting more people, teams, and technologies on board with cloud native. We've got to reach out and connect to the technologies that people know so they have a starting point from which they can actually adopt cloud native strategies.

Can you provide some examples of our cloud native technologies? How are organizations using them?

Quillin: For starters, the WebLogic team here built a Kubernetes operator which basically extends Kubernetes to create, configure, and manage a whole WebLogic domain. One of our big technology customers is CERN, the European research organization with the largest particle physics lab in the world located in Switzerland. CERN is a huge WebLogic and Java shop. They've embraced Kubernetes, and they're using this operator to move a lot of existing technology to this cloud-native world.

That's great. Do you have any other examples?

Quillin: Another good example is a project we announced at Oracle OpenWorld in October called Helidon. It's a Java microservices architecture that was rolled out to really simplify the process of doing microservice cloud native deployments in Java. My solutions team basically helped write a Kubernetes wrapper to connect that into Kubernetes. As a result, Java applications that are written in microservices format using that pattern can easily connect easily into Kubernetes.

A third example is one we're working on right now: We're seeing a lot of Oracle Database customers starting to leverage cloud native apps based on Kubernetes for new web frontends or for some artificial intelligence back-end processing. They're looking at moving to the autonomous database that Oracle launched at OpenWorld this year and using the Oracle Container Engine for Kubernetes to get autonomy and automation, not just on the database side but throughout the whole application.

So, those are three pretty powerful examples of database technology, Java technology, WebLogic technology. Over the last year, we've seen a huge leap forward in enabling customers to use more traditional technologies but use them in a cloud-native context.

Learn more about Oracle cloud native technologies today.

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