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Case Studies

What’s Next in Oracle Cloud

Virtual data centers, compute services, open source certifications, analytics, and more

by John Foley

September 2016

With hundreds of software-as-a-service applications, Oracle Cloud is expansive. And with a growing portfolio of infrastructure-as-a-service and platform-as-a-service offerings, it is also comprehensive.

The responsibility for all that development lies with Thomas Kurian, president of product development at Oracle, whose team has been busy adding new capabilities at all layers of Oracle Cloud.

In advance of Oracle OpenWorld 2016, Kurian gave Profit an update on the latest innovations in Oracle Cloud.

Profit: As Oracle ramps up its infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) offerings, what are we working on for compute?

Kurian: Oracle’s IaaS strategy is to allow customers, using software APIs and a graphical user interface, to define software-defined virtual data centers that run in Oracle Cloud. These software-defined data centers obviously include virtual networks to which customers can attach different kinds of compute and storage.

And we do four things uniquely: We give you very fast and very predictable performance and scalability; great reliability and availability; highly differentiated security; and a high degree of control and governance. Compute is the building block, and we’ve got five flavors of compute services for different kinds of workloads.

Profit: What is Oracle doing to enable open source and non-Oracle software to run in IaaS?

Kurian: Our cloud runs any piece of software, whether that is Oracle, Microsoft, IBM, open source, or a packaged application. As long as the software runs on Linux, Windows, Oracle Solaris, Ubuntu, or CentOS, it can run in our cloud.

On open source, we’re doing a lot of things with the community to get three kinds of things done with our cloud. One is to certify the most popular open source packages with our cloud. This could be Cassandra, Hadoop, Node.js, Tomcat, MySQL, a variety of NoSQL databases, Kafka, Mesos, Docker, and many others. You can pick and choose. There are about 480 open source packages we have certified.

We’re working with a number of partners who have test-and-development tools that people like to use as part of their continuous integration dev-test or DevOps cycle, and we’re working on automating the developer lifecycle across this environment. And we have done several optimizations on some of these key technologies for performance, reliability, and ease of use. For example, we’ve introduced a service to allow people to use Hadoop, Spark, and Kafka analytics completely elastically, with great performance and via an API.

Profit: What differentiates Oracle’s cloud infrastructure offerings from those of other cloud providers?

Kurian: Five things: unbelievably fast performance; scale and reliability; control, so IT departments can procure cloud services and track utilization; deep security through the entire stack, whether it’s around data security, certificate management, encryption, or segregation of duties; and ease of migration.

Profit: What is Oracle’s platform-as-a-service (PaaS) strategy?

Kurian: It’s about solving three things. One, it gives customers a complete platform based on Oracle and open-source technology that’s standards-based for building cloud services and applications.

Two, it dramatically lowers the cost of ownership for people using the software, because we’ve taken all of the cost and labor associated with installing, configuring, patching, backing up, encrypting, and maintaining the Oracle software and eliminated it by automating all of these tasks through software.

And third, it’s built on top of our IaaS, so you inherit the benefits of the IaaS from a performance, scaling, reliability, and security point of view.

Profit: How can customers of Oracle’s or another company’s software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications use Oracle’s PaaS?

First and foremost, we’re working with the developer community to make our technology accessible to everybody who wants to use it.”

Kurian: You may want to build an extension to our SaaS or another company’s SaaS application. We have a product called Oracle Application Builder Cloud Service. It’s meant for a person who’s a declarative developer, not a hardcore programmer.

Second is Oracle Integration Cloud Service. Assume you have our cloud SaaS for customer relationship management and you want to connect it to Oracle E-Business Suite as an enterprise resource planning system that sits on your premises. You can use Oracle Integration Cloud Service to do API management, secure messaging using its service bus, and define orchestration or business processes on top of it using our Business Process Execution Language (BPEL) solution.

Third, imagine you’re running HR in our cloud. You’re an HR professional, and you want to blend some data from HR with information from payroll. Oracle Visual Analyzer allows you to extract data from our SaaS applications or from an on-premises system. All you need to know is Microsoft Excel to do an extract. You upload the data using a spreadsheet, and then blend it. All you need is a browser.

Profit: What are some of the new ways in which Oracle is working with the developer community?

Kurian: First and foremost, we’re working with the developer community to make our technology accessible to everybody who wants to use it. If you’re a developer, with our cloud you can access any software we have with a browser or an API core, and we’ve published our APIs into a catalog. We make all these services available. Second, we know developers love open source tools and technologies. We talked here already about everything we’re doing to integrate these technologies with services in our cloud so you can use the best tools to automate how you build, deploy, and manage software environments.

Third, we’re doing some specific things for the new class of developer called the infrastructure developer, the person traditionally called DevOps. If you look at IaaS, what it’s really done is take hardware and made it programmable through an API, and there’s a new class of developer who’s responsible for spinning up infrastructure.

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