Monday Apr 21, 2014

Take-Aways from the Oracle Cloud Analyst Summit

Every year, Oracle's product strategy, development and marketing teams spend a considerable amount of time with members of the analyst community. Even though these teams have continuous dialogues with individual customers and customer advisory boards (CABs), the fact remains that IT research analysts and consultants play an important role by providing valuable insight on industry trends and opportunities and expert advice on business strategy. Such was the case this past March when Oracle invited twenty of the most influential analysts covering Cloud to Indian Wells, CA for an Oracle Cloud Analyst Summit.  During the summit, key Oracle executives discussed the latest additions to the Oracle Cloud Solutions portfolio and provided updates on our product strategy and roadmap.  The gathering was also the perfect forum to hear what analysts thought about Oracle’s vision and execution plans for addressing the cloud computing market.

While not all of the details of the summit are available or suitable for sharing publically, I want to share with you some of the analyst sentiment that came out during and after the event. First, here’s a Storified selection of analyst tweets that were posted during the summit.

There were also several blog postings and research notes as well. For example, Holger Mueller from Constellation Research posted Progress Report: Good Cloud Progress At Oracle, and a two step program to his blog.  I encourage you to read his blog posting because it’s quite interesting and insightful, but for those of you short on time, here’s a few excerpts worth noting:

  • “First of all there can be no question after this day, that Oracle is and remains committed to the cloud.”
  • “Six months after checking in with Oracle at OpenWorld, there has been good progress across the board for the cloud products. There is still a lot of road to cover though...But 2014 should be the year where it all comes together for Oracle.”
  • “Given Oracle’s large install base for its database we expect a lot of interest of existing customers for the Database-as-a-Service (DBaaS) offering. Having an 11gR2 or 12c database readily available to you, with the option of having it fully managed by Oracle is certainly an attractive value proposition for Oracle DBMS customers.”
  • “The DNA of Oracle’s SaaS products remains compelling – with its foundations on top of Oracle Social Network and a pretty good mobile architecture. User interfaces are now compelling to use – and it’s good to see executives – from (Thomas) Kurian down – demo the software themselves.”
[Read More]

Friday Apr 18, 2014

You Are Not Even Wrong About the Cloud - Part 4

This series of blogs has been exploring several aspects of Cloud computing which have the difficult property of orthogonality – a characteristic where two aspects of Cloud computing which would seem to work together actually follow separate and sometimes divergent paths. The tangible result of this orthogonality is difficulty coming up with an accurate assessment for a Cloud computing offering, since these multiple areas are not easily resolved into a simple value proposition. The last area in this brief list revolves around cost.

There is a widespread belief that Cloud computing means that IT will cost less. Through the magic of Cloud, the IT budget will shrink while still delivering everything your organization wants and needs. Some people justify this belief with the idea that buying in bulk gives Cloud vendors a cost advantage which they can pass on to their customers. You know – give it away and make it up in volume.

But, unfortunately, the reality is a bit different. Although Cloud vendors probably do get a better discount than individual customers, they still have to make margin themselves, which usually exceeds their lower cost advantage in one stroke.

Cloud vendors can reduce costs, though, by making it easier for them to scale the number of different distinct customer environments they can support with a smaller number of IT staff. There is no real magic in this – Cloud vendors use automation as one of the key ways to achieve this benefit.

[Read More]

Monday Apr 14, 2014

Integration between Cloud and On-Premise Information Systems

As cloud computing becomes an essential aspect of business operations there is a pressing need to integrate cloud applications with on-premises applications. Organizations need to be able to quickly, easily, and efficiently integrate their on-premise business applications with new software as a service (SaaS) cloud applications. Cloud data and functions often must be shared with on-premise information systems. Similarly, private clouds that depend on local data often need to feed that data to cloud-based applications.

Unfortunately, application programming interfaces (APIs) differ greatly from one cloud app to another. Each vendor enforces its own mechanisms for security, message delivery, metadata definitions, query criteria, object semantics, and object schema. It is helpful to have a universal way to mask these technical details and enforce consistency at a logical level.

While many enterprises have committed some level of investment to the cloud, most of these organizations have to deal with on-premise systems as well—or fuse data among cloud applications. Oracle Fusion Middleware includes one set of integration tools to streamline all of these integration scenarios, with direct and interchangeable connections to cloud, on-premise, and legacy systems. For example, Oracle SOA Suite includes adapters to connect on-premise applications to Salesforce and RightNow, along with a software development kit to create custom integrations with other cloud applications.

Oracle SOA Suite accommodates all types of information systems, deployment models, SaaS vendors, and Platform as a Service (PaaS) infrastructure, anchored by a cohesive set of tools for development, management, security, and governance. Along with other components of the Oracle Fusion Middleware family, it is the hub to integrate on-premises and cloud-based services through one cohesive middleware layer. A unified integration approach between on-premises and cloud applications reduces the time, cost and complexity of application integration projects. It also lowers total cost of ownership by simplifying integration, consolidating toolkits, and reducing maintenance costs. To learn more about Oracle SOA Suite visit us: Simplifying Cloud Integration

Spend a day in the cloud with Oracle to understand how you can revolutionize your IT with simplifying cloud and on-premise integration. 


Oracle Announces Storage Cloud and Oracle Database Backup Service

Oracle announced today that the Storage Cloud Service and Database Backup Service are now generally available in the Oracle Cloud. I thought it would be worth discussing the significance of these two new services beyond what's stated in today's press release. But before I do, let me first start with the basics of each service. The Oracle Storage Cloud Service is an IaaS offering that provides a secure, scalable, and reliable object storage solution for easily storing and managing data backups and archives in the cloud. The Oracle Database Backup Service is a PaaS offering that provides a simple, low-cost, and secure cloud-based backup and restore solution for on-premise Oracle Databases.

The launch of the Storage Cloud is significant as it marks the first time the Oracle Cloud, or any public cloud for that matter, offers services in every key layer of the cloud technology stack: SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS. With Oracle Cloud, you're not forced to build and maintain integrations between multiple public clouds in order to meet the growing needs of your business. While storage itself has become more of a commodity over the years, the importance of security and reliability of storage housing critical business data can never be overstated. The Storage Cloud has features you'd expect from an enterprise-class storage solution like built-in redundancy, access via RESTful web services or Java libraries, and capacity on-demand. That's not to say that other clouds that offer storage services can't or don't offer similar capabilities, but now you have the choice of storing your data in the same cloud that you can depend on to run all of your critical business applications. Wouldn't it be nice to have a single cloud and single cloud service provider to work with for all of your business application and data needs?

Every business performs backups of their critical databases to reduce the risk of data loss. The Database Backup Service provides a simple, low-cost solution that can become part of a multi-tiered database backup and  restore strategy.  From my experience, most IT organizations perform RMAN backups of Oracle Databases to local disk, and usually to the Fast Recovery Area.  However, when it comes to Tier 2 backups, most perform RMAN backups to remote disk. Then for those who are storing data that is infrequently accessed, Tier 3 backups are stored to tape and archived. Now with the Database Backup Service, you can avoid the data center cost and resource requirements associated with buying and deploying additional disk and tape backup systems by moving your Tier 2 or Tier 3 backup and restore solutions to the cloud. One of the advantages not mentioned in the press release is that the Database Backup Service actually stores database backups to the Storage Cloud, which means that all of the security and reliability of triple-mirroring for redundancy and data isolation apply to the Database Backup Service as well.

I hope you take the time to review the details of these two latest additions to the Oracle Cloud service portfolio. If you think you could benefit from either of these new services, sign up for a 30 day free trial and take them for a test drive.

Friday Apr 11, 2014

When is “Big Data” in HR Just Analytics?

By Mike Vilimek

wow

If you follow HR technology even a little, you have heard something about big data. In terms of popularity, it’s right up there with other key trends like social, mobile, and the cloud. And while definitions for many of these are not set in stone, big data is by far the most undefined and misunderstood trend of the bunch. 

[Read More]

Tuesday Apr 08, 2014

Checklist for Sales and Sales Operations Leaders

You’re running a sales or sales operations team. You get invited to a number of events—or are spending time out of the office with customers. That’s your job.

Another invitation comes along. You quickly scan it, thinking “what’s in this for me?

The Checklist

  • New Ideas: Do you look outside your company, to industry thought leaders and your sales peers for new ideas?
  • Career Planning: Is it important to look ahead—for your business and your career—to understand where Selling is headed and how it’s changing your job?
  • Translating Plans to Action: Is there something you could learn from your peers—running Sales organizations like yours—about doing things faster, closing more big-ticket deals?
[Read More]

Friday Apr 04, 2014

Network With Your Back Office Peers at Oracle CloudWorld Chicago

[Read More]

Friday Mar 28, 2014

Cloud Odyssey: A Hero's Quest at Collaborate 2014!

Calling All Heroes - Join the Quest!

Cloud Odyssey: A Hero's Quest is launching at Collaborate 2014!  Sponsored by the IOUG, OAUG and Quest user groups, you can attend this exclusive sci-fi movie screening as a pre-conference workshop at Collaborate on Monday, April 7, Venetian Hotel, Lido 3003.  If you and your organization are on a journey to the cloud, join us to watch Cyrus Agarwal and the crew of the starship Stratus on their voyage to the mysterious cloud planet, Terranuvem.   To get there, Cyrus and the crew will test the limits of technology, tenacity and human ingenuity.  Watch the movie trailer here.

 After the film, you'll learn how to build, deploy and deliver private clouds that enable IT organizations to provide the business with greater agility, lower cost and lower risk.  Along the way, you just might become a cloud hero, too!

see the detailed agenda here

If you are unable to attend the event at Collaborate, please join us in our global tour, coming to a city near you, complete schedule of events around the world is here.

Oracle and Verizon Provide Customers More Choice in the Cloud

In case you missed it, Oracle and Verizon Enterprise Solutions recently announced they had forged a new relationship to offer Oracle software on Verizon’s cloud infrastructure. It was a significant announcement because both companies are leaders in their respective industries and are showing their continued commitment to being leaders in the cloud. Verizon offers enterprise-level services that allow large and mid-size businesses to tap into the power of the cloud. Oracle’s cloud strategy and commitment is to provide customers greater choice and flexibility in how to deploy Oracle software in the cloud.

As part of the agreement, Verizon will offer Oracle Database and Oracle Fusion Middleware on the Verizon Terremark Enterprise Cloud, Verizon Managed Hosting, and the new Verizon Cloud, which is currently in beta. Customers will be able to pay as they go for Oracle software and choose from either monthly or hourly subscription pricing with the security and reliability of deploying on Verizon’s proven, enterprise-class cloud infrastructure. In addition, Verizon’s deep experience with database administration tasks such as provisioning, backups, patching, monitoring, and capacity scaling enables customers to focus on innovation and growing their businesses.

Customers interested in leveraging Oracle software on Verizon Enterprise Cloud or Verizon Managed Hosting services should visit the Verizon Enterprise Solutions website. For more details about the relationship, read Verizon’s news release or the FAQ.

Also, if you're attending InterOp Las Vegas next week, join Oracle's Joe Rayman (VP, Technology & Strategy), Verizon Terremark CTO, John Considine, and other industry executives on April 2nd @ 4pm (InterOp session #VT34)  for an executive panel session on the emergence of enterprise cloud ecosystems. We expect to have an open and informative discussion which will include Oracle and Verizon's own visions for the cloud. We hope to see you there.

Friday Mar 21, 2014

You Are Not Even Wrong About the Cloud - Part 3

The next area of Cloud computing subject to the distorting effect of orthogonality has to do with the way many people want to start to use the Cloud. The most common starting place is to try to move existing applications to the Cloud.

People want to migrate an existing application to a new environment. Migration, by its very nature, is orthogonal. In a migration effort, you invest effort and resources and take on risk to achieve the goal of having the same application you used to have. So there are costs for the migration effort, without an direct benefit over what you have now from that effort. Of course, there are other benefits that come from a migration, such as a simpler or most cost-effective environment, but these are not directly related to the migration itself. This is the definition of orthogonality – benefits from one area and costs from another.

However, the hope that a migration to the Cloud will be effortless is founded on a basic misconception about the Cloud. The Cloud is not magic – reduced costs are not suddenly available through magic Cloud pixie dust. Although Cloud vendors may get their underlying components at a bigger discount because they buy larger quantities, this savings is offset by the need for these companies to make a profit on their services.

The way the Cloud saves money is through automation. Cloud vendors automate various IT maintenance tasks and operations, and, by doing so, can scale with less expense. Pretty much all the cost benefits from the Cloud stem from this core fact. Even a technical feature like multi-tenancy is a way to automate the support of many individual tenants on a fixed pool of IT resources.

The use of automation comes with a corresponding loss of flexibility. Automated procedures expect fairly standardized environments, or they may not work properly. The more productivity that a Cloud offering provides, the more automation, the greater the loss of flexibility.

[Read More]

Friday Mar 14, 2014

Managed Cloud Services: Governance Grows Up

 written by: Beth Ellyn Rosenthal, Outsourcing Center

Ask 10 people what constitutes a successful long-term managed cloud service relationship and you will get 10 different answers. But everyone will say governance is a key driver in every managed cloud services relationship, no matter the flavor, and will continue to be as long as buyers and their service providers have to work together.

But governance has been undergoing a constant metamorphosis since the days when Ross Perot took over some mainframe functions. “Governance has grown some teeth and the teeth are in the shape of dollar signs,” says Michael Alfonsi, managing director, Financial Transactions Portfolio, Americas for BancTec. “Governance, which started out as a service level agreement (SLA) development and management committee, has now become a true management metrics oversight body that assigns penalties or provides incentives (in more enlightened relationships) as it monitors the performance of the entire relationship.”

We asked a third party to survey a  panel of experts on what forces will change this bedrock function in 2014 and beyond. Here are their sage predictions. Click here to read the full article.

Friday Mar 07, 2014

Oracle’s Day in the Cloud in Melbourne

written by: Rushenka Perrera

Oracle CloudWorld in Melbourne took place on a steamy 32 degree day at the Grand Hyatt. The event kicked off with registration at 8am and the plenary at 8.45am. With 600 attendees, it was even bigger than the event we ran in Sydney almost a year ago.
The event featured six tracks focusing on sales/marketing; finance and operations; customer service; developers; IT innovation and HR. This CloudWorld had large numbers of attendees from all different lines of business as every effort had been made to make sure the agendas for each track were compelling enough to appeal to the specific needs of these busy individuals.
The plenary sessions were packed to the rafters. Tim Ebbeck, Managing Director for ANZ kicked off the proceedings and introduced Jeff Henley, Oracle’s Chairman who had the audience captivated with his presentation on Moving at the Speed of Opportunity. Jeff was followed by Reggie Bradford, SVP, Product Development, Oracle, Former Founder & CEO of Vitrue who presented the power of the Oracle cloud.


The plenary sessions ended with a panel titled ‘Transform Your Business’. The participants came from diverse backgrounds but provided highly engaging banter to challenge the perceptions of the audience and to introduce them to new ways of thinking. The panel lineup included a stellar cast:
Iain Clarke, Chief Technology Officer, Cloud Services, Capgemini Australia
Brandon Byrne, Vice President of Finance and Administration, Curse
Dr David Rock, Author and Director, NeuroLeadership Institute
Matthew Holst, Director of Demand Centre & CRM APAC, Dell
Anthony Micomonaco, Manager Knowledge Management, Product & Markets, National Australia Bank
The different track speakers also included some heavyweights including:
•    Hugh Macfarlane, Founder & CEO of MathMarketing | Author of "The Leaky Funnel" talking about integrated sales and marketing.
•    Dr Catriona Wallace, Customer Experience Futurist and Chief Executive on designing a high performance customer experience organisation for the future.
•    Dr David Rock, Author and Director, NeuroLeadership Institute on the neuroscience of developing leaders.
•    Brandon Byrne, Vice President of Finance and Administration, Curse talking about why Curse chose Oracle Cloud over the competition.
•    Iain Clarke, Director – Chief Technology Officer - Cloud Services, CapGemini and NRMA on how to drive end to end innovation around cloud adoption.
•    Matthew Holst,Director of Demand Centre & CRM APAC, Dell discussing Dell’s marketing journey using Eloqua.
•    Nigel Prior, National Customer Experience Practice Manager, NEC Australia talking about their customer experience strategy.
•    Robert Hillard, Managing Partner Technology Agenda, Deloitte on what the tech trends will be for 2014.


The day ended with Reggie Bradford summing up on customer expectations in the age of the modern customer experience and finally with Lauren Anderson, Chief Knowledge Officer at Collaborative Lab, really challenging the audience and wowing them with stories of new cloud innovation in her presentation on  a new world of consumer behaviours.

Friday Feb 21, 2014

You Are Not Even Wrong About the Cloud - Part 2

In the first part of this blog series, I described the orthogonal nature of costs and benefits with regard to Cloud computing. The mismatch between the forces that incur costs and rack up benefits has led to a general misunderstanding of this technology area. The first area for examination of this mismatch are the different audiences investigating Cloud computing.

The past couple of years have really reminded me of the early 90s, with Cloud taking the place of graphical user interfaces (GUIs). I distinctly remember being at the launch of Window 3.0, the first real GUI from Microsoft, the dominant client operating system. There were a bunch of crotchety old IT guys (who were probably younger than I am now) complaining about how they “weren’t going to buy 286s to run Windows”. And they were probably right. They didn’t buy 286s that year – they bought 486s in two years.

Because the wave of GUIs was an unstoppable tsunami. The client side of the environment went from green-screen/command-line to GUI in just a couple of years, whether IT liked it or not. The reason was simple: it was easier.

[Read More]

Friday Feb 14, 2014

You Are Not Even Wrong About the Cloud - Part 1

Many years ago, I read an article in The New Yorker about a math expert who was working as one of the early quants on Wall Street. One phrase from that article has become a part of my vocabulary – “You are not even wrong”. By this, the mathematician meant that the person was so far off base on a topic as to not even qualify as being wrong – it’s like they had left the universe of correct and incorrect on a certain topic.

I have used it over the years as a sarcastic description of some opinion I felt was on the far side of clueless. But, in reality, the description is not just an ultimate putdown of sorts. This phrase can apply to any ideas which don’t really apply to a particular scenario. The person expressing the opinion is not necessarily unintelligent, or even uninformed. They are just playing on the wrong field.

I’ve been product manager for the Oracle Database Cloud for the past 3 years, and I find that this situation is wildly common when people talk about Cloud computing. Seemingly everyone is excited about the possibilities of the Cloud, but the overwhelming majority of people are looking at this technology area from an inappropriate viewpoint.

Put simply, most believe the Cloud is magic. And we all know there is no magic technology – even a great advance like Exadata is a result of a bunch of good decisions implemented well.

The problem lies in something I refer to as the orthogonal nature of costs and benefits. When two terms are orthogonal, there is no statistical relationship between them. In the same way, there are important facets of Cloud computing where the costs and benefits stem from different places – places which are rarely united in a single world view.

This blog is the first of five parts. In the next three parts (with the first of these three parts here), I will discuss three prominent areas of orthogonal costs and benefits, which will help you to understand how to properly evaluate the what, when and hows of Cloud computing for your particular organization. The final part will be a general prescription on how to move to the Cloud to maximize benefits and minimize both problems and disappointments.

Tuesday Feb 04, 2014

Summary of Twitter chat about Cloud Odyssey, a sci-fi movie by Oracle

We had a twitter based chat with Rex Wang , VP of Product Marketing , Oracle and executive producer of the Cloud Odyssey, a sci-fi movie by Oracle. In this chat, Rex answered questions about the objectives behind the movie, how movie is made, technologies covered in the Cloud Odyssey events etc. Here is the summary of the twitter based chat captured as Storify story :
[Read More]
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