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Cloud Transformation: Recapping Oracle OpenWorld 2018

Leo Leung
Director of Product Management

We had a number of exciting announcements at Oracle OpenWorld 2018, but I'll summarize the conference through the eyes of our customers and partners, and what they shared throughout the week.

Customers Are Ready to Transform Their Mission-Critical Applications

We've long said that our focus is building a true enterprise cloud, one that can handle tough, mission-critical database workloads. All week, in customer briefings, in roundtable discussions, and in the expo hall, customers told us about these workloads. They want to move and improve E-Business Suite, PeopleSoft, JD Edwards, EPM, Cognos, and many more. It was exciting to see so many customers eager to begin their cloud transformation. It was equally great to hear the successful transformations of companies like Covanta Energy, HID Global, 7-Eleven, and Allianz.

Allianz is one of the largest insurance companies in the world. They specifically chose a mission-critical business-intelligence workload as their first project on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, not only because it would help them meet delivery timelines, but also, maybe more importantly, to accelerate their people's cloud transformation. Lessons and best practices learned from moving SAS and MicroStrategy to the cloud have convinced Allianz to form a cloud operations practice to operate the new environment and drive additional projects throughout this 140,000 employee, multinational enterprise.

External customers aren't the only ones moving mission-critical applications; Oracle is drinking our own champagne. Oracle NetSuite, which serves tens of thousands of businesses as a large SaaS provider, is integrated with Oracle Cloud Infrastructure and will be provisioning new customers on the new infrastructure starting next year. Brian Chess, the EVP of Infrastructure, Security, and Compliance for NetSuite has a great video about the benefits of running on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure. Our roadmap for region expansion, particularly into Asia, is important for growing the NetSuite business.

High Performance Computing Applications Are Also Transforming

Many categories of applications have never run on the cloud, often because most cloud infrastructure vendors have been unable to meet performance and other requirements. Product engineering is one of these categories.

Altair is one of the key software vendors in the product engineering space, which has largely transformed to completely digital designs and simulations. Altair software has helped companies design everything from planes, trains, and automobiles to medical devices and buildings, from improving aerodynamics to reducing product weight. This type of software has been stuck on-premises because the cloud hasn't been able to meet the high and predictable performance required.

So there was a large opportunity to broaden the market for product engineering software by moving it into the cloud. Altair chose to run their new Hyperworks CFD Unlimited cloud service on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure because of the unique performance capabilities of our bare metal instances and nonblocking network, and our significantly superior price performance. Our announcements around new lower-cost AMD EPYC based compute instances and RDMA-powered cluster networking will further benefit HPC customers and partners like Altair.

Transforming Newer Real-Time and Big Data Apps

More and more companies require massive amounts of real-time data processing for business analytics and use cases like security. Use cases for IoT and streaming data, as well as more traditional Hadoop, were actually fairly common in my conversations with customers. Like HPC, these applications have also been traditionally performed on-premises, in custom environments built by enterprises and software vendors.

Cisco, which is investing heavily in the software and security markets, chose to build a SaaS version of their Cisco Tetration product on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure. This application ingests and processes millions of events per second at their current scale, and is growing with each end customer. Cisco went from inception to production on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure in only two months, achieving significantly better performance than on-premises or other cloud providers, and lowering costs.

If Cisco can build a big data security product on Oracle Cloud, it's certainly an interesting option for other software vendors and enterprises. I engaged in a number of interesting discussions with customers after they heard the Cisco story. This deployment was also a strong vote of confidence for Oracle's core security architecture and continued efforts around core (Key Management, Cloud Access) and edge security.

It's About People Transformation, Too

Mark Hurd predicted that 60 percent of IT jobs haven't been created yet. That provoked a reaction among attendees and analysts, but there's no denying the continued, accelerating change in skills required for IT success.

At OpenWorld, we were excited to work with customers and partners to teach them more about cloud operations with technologies like Terraform and Kubernetes; to give them the basics on Autonomous Data Warehouse, machine learning, and Big Data; and to help certify some of them on our platform. We heard repeatedly how "Peopleware" is critical to cloud transformation. While customers were attending sessions to learn more about how autonomous databases would make their day-to-day administration much simpler, the discussions about skills gaps were ever-present.

Increasing the skills of internal IT is important, but expert partners can accelerate time to market. Throughout the week, Oracle partners like Astute Associates, Velocity Technology, Accenture, DXC, and Viscosity shared insights and best practices, in presentations and interactive sessions, on how to succeed in the cloud. It's never easy to make big changes in technology infrastructure, but it was encouraging to see a dramatic rise in the level of expertise and experience this year from the partner ecosystem.

What Did You Experience at This Year's OpenWorld?

The level of real change and success felt different this year. Some interesting innovations were revealed. What was your experience at OpenWorld 2018? We'd be excited to continue the conversation at our official handle (@OracleIaaS) or my personal one (@lleung).

Leo Leung
Senior Director, Product Management, Oracle Cloud Infrastructure

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