Is Oracle ready to play with the cloud big kids?

Oracle this week announced positive steps for its cloud platform, but it's got a long road to catch up with leaders of the IaaS market

oracle cloud on building
Stephen Lawson

This week, at its Cloud World conference in New York, Oracle revealed new details of its cloud offering, making its case once again to be among the big kids of the cloud market. Here's Cloud Chronicle's take: It’s a valiant effort; but Oracle still has a ways to go.

Oracle executive Thomas Kurian made a solid argument for the company’s cloud. Oralce is not just focusing on one area of this market: It has offerings across the SaaS, IaaS and PaaS markets. Perhaps its SaaS offerings are the most mature. IaaS and PaaS still have some development to work on.

Within the IaaS cloud, Oracle is staking some claims that will differentiate it from competitors – namely Amazon Web Service, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud. It’s also providing customers a good amount of choice. Take it’s compute offerings, for example: They come in three flavors - bare metal, virtualized and container-based. It’s network is fully programmable, so customers using the combination of its bare metal and virtualized network will receive “100% isolation” of their workloads on the company’s cloud, Kurian says. Neither Amazon nor Microsoft can make that claim – although IBM can.

Perhaps Oracle’s biggest opportunity is in offering databases from it’s cloud. Existing Oracle customers who are looking to shift their data-intensive workloads that are already tightly integrated with Oracle’s suite of databases to the cloud with minimal change will find Oracle’s cloud offerings attractive. Kurian argues that it’s databases and virtual machines offer a significant price/performance ratio compared to AWS. Such claims are difficult to verify on an apples-to-apples basis, however.

Most analysts agree that AWS is the leader of the IaaS cloud market. Even compared to Microsoft Azure, AWS has a wider breadth and depth of features and functionality. They’re leading the market in terms of new, innovate offerings like its Lambda serverless computing product.

It’s taken Microsoft years just to be within striking distance of AWS. Google is aiming to give AWS a run too.

It could take years for Oracle to build up a cloud that’s on the same level as AWS.

It’s not insurmountable: The market is young enough that Oracle still has a shot. The advancements the company has made this week are certainly positive steps forward. But as BMO Financial analyst Keith Bachman wrote in a report this week, Oracle is now in a “show me” phase where it needs to convince users why they should use its cloud compared to competitors. And that could be a tough task at this point.

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