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Three things we learned at Oracle OpenWorld 2017

Leo Leung
Senior Director of Product Management

Oracle OpenWorld 2017 was a clash between the old and the new. Performance tuning vs. Autonomous. Centralized vs. Blockchain. Human best practices vs. AI. Big Iron vs. IoT. Middleware vs. microservices. Billy Joel vs. The Chainsmokers.

It's a classic scenario: Vendors want to flex their technology muscles and show a vision for the future. Customers are curious, but have entire portfolios to manage, including technology that may be decades old. Funny enough, cloud infrastructure has become something of a middle ground, where when done correctly, both the old and new can be addressed.

It's with that context that I'll share three things that the cloud infrastructure team learned at OpenWorld this year.

1. Customers are interested in the latest, but are still at the beginning of cloud adoption

Take Jim DeVos of Entrust Datacard. One of two IT staff, Jim decided to try Oracle Cloud Infrastructure to update his on-premises Exadata database DR strategy. In a matter of weeks, Jim was able to set up and test much more of the infrastructure than he was used to, including configuring public-facing networking, spinning up temporary VM instances, and more. No longer hindered by the limitations of physical infrastructure, he got up and running on brand new cloud instances, seeing tremendous performance gains over his old setup. New technology, but very practical application. We often see backup and disaster protection as one of the first use cases of cloud infrastructure and our conversations at OpenWorld reinforced that.

2. Customers are thirsty for best practices to start their move to the cloud

Driven by a mandate to reduce capital expenses, Darling Ingredients (NYSE:DAR) had dozens of applications to move. They took a methodical approach, evaluating the top vendors and deciding on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure after rigorous testing. They tested specific use cases and operational processes, licensing and scalability, services and support. In the end, they were able to move Oracle E-Business Suite (EBS), Oracle Hyperion, and a dozen other applications and databases. Like Entrust Datacard, Darling saw substantial improvements over on-premises infrastructure, running some EBS reports 2.5 times faster.

Cloud Infrastructure is a workload-driven decision. Like Darling, we advise customers to thoroughly review their portfolios before selecting vendors. It's quite common to pick one or more infrastructure providers. But if you want to work with a single vendor across both cloud applications and infrastructure, or focus on migrating and running Oracle Applications and Database, we are hands down the best choice. From migration automation and know-how, to unique production-grade capabilities, to tremendous price-performance advantages, we'll prove ourselves on the first application and happily take the next ones you have on your agenda.

3. Customers want to maintain systems and processes they know work

Technology keeps getting faster, denser, and cheaper, but oftentimes, hard experience creates strong, repeatable, proven processes. In IT, when something has worked under fire, there has to be a really good reason to change it. Oracle's Real Application Clusters (RAC) is one of those trusted technologies that is part of nearly every production Oracle Database deployment process and architecture.

When one of world's the largest manufacturers considered Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, deployment architecture was a key consideration. Behind their key enterprise applications, they required extremely high database availability with near instant failover, backed by replication and backup to a different region. Oracle Cloud's unique support of Exadata and RAC were important, but so too were the knowledge of how these technologies work, as well as the support model. Our lesson: when it comes to mission-critical applications: dependability and trust matter just as much as the technology.

We answered a lot of questions at Oracle OpenWorld. There was curiosity around the new announcements, how automation would impact job roles, how new use cases would be realized, and how new offerings would perform in various applications. But many conversations came back to the practical: how does the cloud infrastructure work in the real world? Who else has done it and what did they learn? How much do I have to change to get it done? As much as we like to talk about the new, it's amazingly satisfying to meaningfully address the here and the now.

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