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Three things Oracle has done to become a big cloud player

New database and partnership with Microsoft, Salesforce mean Oracle's ready to play in cloud industry

By , Network World
July 25, 2013 11:43 AM ET

Network World - Oracle had a busy couple of weeks at the end of June, rolling out a new version of its database software and announcing partnerships with Microsoft, and NetSuite. In doing so the company – who’s CEO Larry Ellison at one time bemoaned cloud computing – has almost overnight become a major player in the industry. Here's why.

The moves are not just significant for Oracle; the partnerships that the company has garnered are significant to the partnering with Microsoft and Salesforce, too. And they’ll also reverberate across the industry to competing companies such as Amazon Web Services and SAP, predicts Holger Mueller, vice president at Constellation Research who recently published a report about these developments. “The bottom line: Oracle technology will play a fundamental role accelerating cloud adoption,” he writes.

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During the last week of June, Oracle announced Oracle Database 12c with a built-in multi-tenant architecture geared specifically for running cloud workloads; the “c” stands for cloud. The day before it had announced a partnership with Microsoft in which Oracle DB will now support Windows Hyper-V virtualization platform, marking the first time Oracle has supported another hypervisor. Microsoft also announced that its Azure cloud platform will support Oracle Linux, Java and databases.

Later that week Oracle and announced a partnership that would include Salesforce using Oracle servers and databases as the hardware platform for its market-leading SaaS cloud offering. In return, Salesforce will integrate Oracle’s cloud-based human capital management (HCM) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) programs into its cloud-based offering. NetSuite also announced that Oracle HCM will be available on its platform.

The Microsoft-Oracle partnership is important for both companies and marks strategic shifts, Mueller points out. Microsoft is enabling full-stack support for Oracle products in its cloud, providing an alternative platform compared to its in-house SQL Server offerings in its cloud. By doing so, Azure can now run Java applications, and Microsoft cloud customers have additional database choices. The other side of the coin is that Microsoft applications will now be compatible on Oracle databases.

For Microsoft, Mueller contends it provides a significant advance for its Azure platform, which is looking to compete with Amazon Web Service’s market-leading IaaS. “With the addition of Java to the overall mix, more interoperability has been achieved than customers would have expected and overall this is good news for the cloud, and more importantly, for Microsoft’s and Oracle’s customers and partners,” Mueller says.

The Salesforce-Oracle news is somewhat of a surprise given the public feuding between Ellison and Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff over the years. Salesforce committing to use Oracle hardware and pursuing a go-to-market offering with enterprise applications adjacent to its customer relationship management tool is something many watching the industry likely would not have expected to see. In doing so, however, Salesforce automatically adds not just CRM specialty, but it now has HCM and ERP capabilities. That’s a fuller product portfolio that it can go up against rivals like SAP with. The and Oracle partnership proves that if two companies have a common competitor, such as SAP, they can find ways to work together.

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