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Why I'm Betting on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure

Andy Thurai
Emerging Technology Strategy & Evangelist

Oracle? Seriously?

That's the question people asked when I told them my destination after leaving IBM.

A few months back, when I started looking for a career change, some good opportunities came my way. Some required me to move across the country to Seattle. Some required me to move to Silicon Valley. A few good local opportunities in the Boston area also came up. I had to make a hard choice. What do I want? Money? Respect? An important title? A strong company culture?

After a lot of thought, I chose Oracle. Seriously. I have joined the company to lead strategy, vision, innovation, and evangelism in cloud infrastructure, edge services, and emerging technologies. Let me tell you why.

About three years ago, when I was leading emerging tech strategy for IBM, we were working on technology to make Internet of Things (IoT) and edge devices collect, procure, analyze, share, decide, and act on data in a secure, autonomous, and automated fashion.

One of the companies that my then-boss (and still-mentor) asked me to look at was Dyn. I argued with him, saying, “Dyn is a DNS resolution company. What value are they going to add to our mission and vision?” He said, “Trust me.” I still remember driving up to Manchester, New Hampshire, thinking, "Why am I going there?" But I also remember thinking about the fact that Dyn made a $100-million business out of DNS resolution! I at least had to learn about their go-to-market brilliance.

As I became familiar with the company, I learned that Dyn is more than just DNS (more on that later). Their business acumen made me like them, and their integrity and culture made me like them even more.

Integrity

Dyn was facing tough competition from niche players who were offering DNS resolution services for almost free. They had to differentiate their value proposition to offer more to their customers than those competitors did, and they were consistently winning those battles.

On Oct. 21, 2016, everything changed. A massive, worldwide distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack was launched against Dyn's DNS resolution service, temporarily disrupting access to much of the internet, including major sites such as Twitter, Amazon, Netflix, Spotify, PayPal, Salesforce and GitHub. This was not your garden-variety DDoS attack; it relied on tens of millions of IoT devices compromised via the infamous Mirai botnet, and it was only the second known attack of this kind.

The first attack took down the blog of my favorite investigative security writer, Brian Krebs. When the hackers took him on, Akamai decided to stop hosting his blog, because it was disrupting their other customers. Everyone was watching closely to see how Dyn would respond to this new attack.

The company could have surrendered to the hackers and asked for mercy. Instead, it fought back. Essentially, there were three attacks that day. Dyn mitigated the first in a couple of hours, the second in less than an hour, and the third before it happened. After that, the hackers decided to move on.

The incident happened while Dyn was being acquired by Oracle. Considering the risk, Oracle could have just walked away. The fact that it didn't demonstrated its character and the value of Dyn.

And unlike some major corporations who have tried to sweep security breaches under the rug, Dyn talked openly about the attack. That transparency helped other major companies prepare for future attacks and helped Dyn's reputation not only survive but thrive in the aftermath.

As the Chinese proverb says, "Failure is not about falling down, but refusing to get back up."

Culture

Whenever I visited Dyn's Manchester office, everyone seemed to be having fun. The main attraction of the office was the slide (yes, a slide, like kids use in the park).

I slid down that slide (in a suit!) the very first time I visited the office, and I still have videos to prove it. When I sent those videos to my kids, they asked, “What are you waiting for? When are you starting there?”

In addition to the slide, the office had beer taps with rotating selections from local microbreweries, a big gong hanging in front of the slide, and a bunch of great restaurants within walking distance.

But above all, the things that really stood out to me were the respect that Dyn employees had for others and their willingness to always learn.

Vision

When I was looking for a new career opportunity, I dove deeper into Oracle Dyn. It's part of the Seattle-based Oracle Cloud Infrastructure unit, which has developed an identity and culture similar to that of the original Dyn.

The internet has become the most essential utility. Almost all major corporations use the internet to move their major, sensitive, and mission-critical workloads. For that to happen, every enterprise needs efficient and secure connectivity, plus full visibility into internet performance.

When you are building an enterprise-grade cloud, consider the following questions:

  • Cloud is not just about compute. It is about data. Is your cloud equipped to support enterprise data?
  • Is your cloud provider flexible enough to allow you to build truly cloud native applications, regardless of your cloud deployment model?
  • Is your provider secure from the edge to the core so that you can confidently send highly sensitive workloads to the cloud for processing?
  • Can your provider support bare metal, virtual machines, serverless, Functions as a Service, containers, and a flexible orchestration system?
  • Does your provider offer complete visibility into the internet portion of your network?

Oracle Cloud Infrastructure does all these things, helping customers redefine what an enterprise version of the internet truly is. That's why I'm excited to join the team.

And yes, we are hiring. Big time! Reach out to me either on LinkedIn or Twitter if you want to immerse yourself in this journey.

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