Tuesday Oct 02, 2012

Social Networks & the Cloud

It’s no secret that millions of people are connected to the Internet. And it also probably doesn’t come as a surprise that a lot of those people are connected on social networking sites.  Social networks have become an excellent platform for sharing and communication that reflects real world relationships and they play a major part in the everyday lives of many people. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google+ and hundreds of others have transformed the way we interact and communicate with one another.

Social networks are becoming more than just an online gathering of friends. They are becoming a destination for ideation, e-commerce, and marketing. But it doesn’t just stop there. Some organizations are utilizing social networks internally, integrated with their business applications and processes and the possibility of social media and cloud integration is compelling.

Forrester alone estimates enterprise cloud computing to grow to over $240 billion by 2020. It’s hard to find any current IT project today that is NOT considering cloud-based deployments. Security and quality of service concerns are no longer at the forefront; rather, it’s about focusing on the right mix of capabilities for the business. Cloud vs. On-Premise? Policies & governance models? Social in the cloud? Cloud’s increasing sophistication, security in applications, mobility, transaction processing and social capabilities make it an attractive way to manage information. And Oracle offers all of this through the Oracle Cloud and Oracle Social Network.

Oracle Social Network is a secure private network that provides a broad range of social tools designed to capture and preserve information flowing between people, enterprise applications, and business processes. By connecting you with your most critical applications, Oracle Social Network provides contextual, real-time communication within and across enterprises. With Oracle Social Network, you and your teams have the tools you need to collaborate quickly and efficiently, while leveraging the organization’s collective expertise to make informed decisions and drive business forward.

Oracle Social Network is available as part of a portfolio of application and platform services within the Oracle Cloud. Oracle Cloud offers self-service business applications delivered on an integrated development and deployment platform with tools to rapidly extend and create new services. Oracle Social Network is pre-integrated with the Fusion CRM Cloud Service and the Fusion HCM Cloud Service within the Oracle Cloud. Learn more how you can use Oracle Social Network to revolutionize how you create, understand, and achieve true value through enterprise social networking. And be sure to check out the follow sessions here at Oracle OpenWorld, where can learn more about Oracle Cloud and Oracle Social Network.

  • Tuesday, Oct 2 – Oracle WebCenter’s Cloud Strategy: From Social and Platform Services to Mashups, 1:15pm - 2:15pm, Moscone West – 3001 
  • Wednesday, Oct 3 – Oracle Social Network: Your Strategy for Socially Enabled Oracle Fusion Applications, 11:45am - 12:45pm, Moscone West – 3002/3004

PaaS, DBaaS and the Oracle Database Cloud Service

As with many widely hyped areas, there is much more variation within the broad spectrum of products referred to as “Cloud” that is immediately apparent. This variation is evident in one of the key misunderstandings about the Oracle Database Cloud Service.

People could be forgiven for thinking that the Database Cloud Service was a Database-as-a-Service (DBaaS), but this is actually not true. The Database Cloud Service is a Platform-as-a-Service, which presents a different user and developer interface and has a different set of qualities.

A good way to think about the difference between these two varieties of Cloud offerings is that you, the customer, have to deal with things at the level of the offering, but not for anything below it. In practice, this means that you do not have to deal with hardware or system software, including installation and maintenance, for DBaaS. You also do not have much control over configuration of these options.

For PaaS, you don’t have to deal with hardware, system software, or database software – and also do not have control over these levels in the stack. So you cannot modify configuration parameters for the database with the Database Cloud Service – your interface is through SQL and PL/SQL, with Application Express, included in the Database Cloud Service, or through JDBC for Java apps running in the Java Cloud Service, or through RESTful Web Services.

You will notice what is not mentioned there – SQL*Net. You cannot access your Oracle Database Cloud Service by changing an entry in the TNSNames file and using SQL*Net. So the effort involved in migrating an existing Oracle Database in your data center to the Database Cloud Service may be prohibitive.

The good news is that Application Express and the RESTful Web Services wizard in the Database Cloud Service allow you to develop new applications very quickly, and, of course, the provisioning of the entire Database Cloud Service takes only minutes.

Written by Rick Greenwald

Oracle Cloud Applications: The Right Ingredients Baked In

Oracle Cloud Applications: The Right Ingredients Baked In

Eggs, flour, milk, and sugar. The magic happens when you mix these ingredients together. The same goes for the hottest technologies fast changing how IT impacts our organizations today: cloud, social, mobile, and big data. By themselves they’re pretty good; combining them with a great recipe is what unlocks real transformation power.

Choosing the right cloud can be very similar to choosing the right cake. First consider comparing the core ingredients that go into baking a cake and the core design principles in building a cloud-based application. For instance, if flour is the base ingredient of a cake, then rich functionality that spans complete business processes is the base of an enterprise-grade cloud.

Cloud computing is more than just consuming an "application as service", and having someone else manage it for you. Rather, the value of cloud is about making your business more agile in the marketplace, and shortening the time it takes to deliver and adopt new innovation. It’s also about improving not only the efficiency at which we communicate but the actual quality of the information shared as well. Data from different systems, like ingredients in a cake, must also be blended together effectively and evaluated through a consolidated lens. When this doesn’t happen, for instance when data in your sales cloud doesn't seamlessly connect with your order management and other “back office” applications, the speed and quality of information can decrease drastically. It’s like mixing ingredients in a strainer with a straw – you just can’t bring it all together without losing something.

Mixing ingredients is similar to bringing clouds together, and co-existing cloud applications with traditional on premise applications. This is where a shared services  platform built on open standards and Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) is critical. It’s essentially a cloud recipe that calls for not only great ingredients, but also ingredients you can get locally or most likely already have in your kitchen (or IT shop.)

Open standards is the best way to deliver a cost effective, durable application integration strategy – regardless of where your apps are deployed. It’s also the best way to build your own cloud applications, or extend the ones you consume from a third party. Just like using standard ingredients and tools you already have in your kitchen, a standards based cloud enables your IT resources to ensure a cloud works easily with other systems. Your IT staff can also make changes using tools they are already familiar with. Or even more ideal, enable business users to actually tailor their experience without having to call upon IT for help at all. This frees IT resources to focus more on developing new innovative services for the organization vs. run and maintain.

Carrying the cake analogy forward, you need to add all the ingredients in before you bake it. The same is true with a modern cloud. To harness the full power of cloud, you can’t leave out some of the most important ingredients and just layer them on top later. This is what a lot of our niche competitors have done when it comes to social, mobile, big data and analytics, and other key technologies impacting the way we do business. The transformational power of these technology trends comes from having a strategy from the get-go that combines them into a winning recipe, and delivers them in a unified way.

In looking at ways Oracle’s cloud is different from other clouds – not only is breadth of functionality rich across functional pillars like CRM, HCM, ERP, etc. but it embeds social, mobile, and rich intelligence capabilities where they make the most sense across business processes. This strategy enables the Oracle Cloud to uniquely deliver on all three of these dimensions to help our customers unlock the full power of these transformational technologies.

Oracle Java Cloud Service - Platform as a Service for Your Java Applications

Oracle Java Cloud Service is an enterprise grade Platform as a Service for developing, testing, and deploying business applications. For Java developers, Java Cloud Service provides the power, flexibility, and performance of a true Java EE container in the cloud.

Java Cloud Service delivers one of the key advantages of the Java platform, the ability to “write once, run anywhere”. Because of the standards-based approach, there's no need to worry that applications you build and deploy are forever locked into the Oracle Cloud.  In fact, you can use Java Cloud Service just as you would an on-premise Java EE environment and deploy your Java applications on a Java Cloud Service instance as-is.

Provisioning of Java Cloud Service instances is self-service and takes only minutes, making access to Java environments both quick and easy. Java Cloud Service instances are also automatically associated with Oracle Database Cloud Service instances, so there's no complex setup involved in order to get a complete application environment up and running.

If you're attending Oracle OpenWorld in San Francisco this week, I'm sure you've seen that there are many sessions covering Oracle Cloud services, including Java Cloud Service. Each session will provide a wealth of information, so I highly recommend you consult your conference schedule and try to check them out. In the meantime, here's a short video about Java Cloud Service. Enjoy!


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