Complete Cloudby Chip Brookshaw
Oracle unveils broadest cloud strategy in the industry.
Oracle CEO Larry Ellison announced the industry’s broadest and most advanced cloud strategy at an event in Redwood Shores, California, on June 6. At the heart of this strategy is Oracle Cloud, which delivers a complete, modern, and flexible enterprise cloud that provides subscription-based access to best-of-breed, integrated, and standards-based application, platform, and social services, all completely hosted, managed, and supported by Oracle.
The announcement was the culmination of a companywide initiative that involved thousands of employees and billions of dollars—and took nearly seven years to come to fruition. The project was so complex because Oracle chose to re-engineer its entire product line for the cloud, from applications to disk.
“We are not trying to be a niche provider [with] one, two, three applications in the cloud,” Ellison said. “We are providing a complete suite of CRM applications, a complete suite for B2B and B2C including social relationship management, a complete suite for ERP [enterprise resource planning], a complete suite for human capital management and talent management. [It is] by far the most comprehensive set of applications in the cloud available from any vendor in the world.”
Built on the same standards-based, enterprise-grade platform products as Oracle’s on-premises software, Oracle Cloud’s Platform Services enable organizations to speed time to market and lower costs by quickly building and deploying applications. Platform Services include Oracle Cloud Database Services, Oracle Cloud Java Services, Oracle Cloud Developer Services, Oracle Cloud Web Services, Oracle Cloud Mobile Services, Oracle Cloud Documents Services, Oracle Cloud Sites Services, and Oracle Cloud Analytics Services.
Oracle Cloud Database Services allow organizations to run Oracle Database in the cloud to manage data and rapidly build Web-based database applications using Oracle Application Express.
Oracle Cloud Java Services provide a way to develop, deploy, and manage Java applications in the cloud, with a choice of popular integrated development environments (IDEs) including Oracle JDeveloper, Eclipse, and NetBeans.
Oracle Cloud Developer Services provide instant access to tools that enable faster, smarter, and more-collaborative development in the cloud. With Developer Services, development teams can use their favorite developer tools (Hudson for continuous integration, Git and GitHub for source control, wiki and tasks for project management) in Oracle Cloud. These services also integrate with popular IDEs such as Oracle JDeveloper, Eclipse, and NetBeans.
Five additional services round out the Oracle Cloud Platform Services offering. The first two, Web Services and Mobile Services, complement the Developer Services component. Web Services support the rapid building of Web applications using PHP, Ruby on Rails, and Python. Mobile Services allow organizations to build cross-platform native and HTML5 applications for smartphones and tablets.
The other three components are services that Oracle provides to end users: Documents Services, Sites Services, and Analytics Services. As Ellison put it, “We have a complete suite of tools for developers/ programmers and a complete suite of tools for business users where they can develop and deploy applications in the cloud. You don’t have to be a programmer.”
The Documents Services component supports collaboration and sharing of documents via online workspaces and portals. “Collaborations are very important,” Ellison said. “You have teams of people doing development. You have teams of people doing all sorts of things. We provide a variety of collaboration tools, of file-sharing [and] document-sharing tools.”
Sites Services support the development and maintenance of visually engaging Websites. This component includes intuitive drag-and-drop design tools and self-service publishing capabilities.
Finally, Analytics Services allow organizations to quickly build and share analytic dashboards and reports. “Let’s say you do deploy a store on Facebook, and you’d like to see what people are posting about the store and about the products you’re selling in the store,” Ellison said. “We provide you with tools where you can analyze those posts, analyze those tweets, and respond. An you don’t have to be a programmer to set that up.”
Oracle Cloud’s Application Services give organizations access to a broad collection of cloud-based enterprise applications, Ellison said. Application Services are available across a wide spectrum of Oracle’s enterprise applications, from enterprise resource planning and human capital management to talent management, sales and marketing, and customer experience.
These enterprise-class application services provide users with the same functionality they would get in an on-premises application. They are easy to set up, configure, and manage. And like Oracle Cloud’s Platform Services, these application services are extremely secure, Ellison said. In addition, due to the flexible, standards-based nature of Oracle Cloud, applications deployed on the cloud can later be moved on premises.
Oracle also gives customers choice in terms of upgrading their application services. New versions aren’t forced on customers just because they are available.
“We think a modern cloud lets you decide when you want to upgrade, not have the cloud vendor tell you when you upgrade. [When a new version becomes available] we’re going to give you a window [to upgrade], and that window will be a year,” Ellison said. “You decide when you want to move forward to the next version of the software. That’s a huge difference between us and virtually every other SaaS [software as a service] vendor.”
Oracle Cloud’s Platform Services and Oracle Cloud’s Application Services incorporate the principles of IT excellence that Oracle has developed and built into its products over decades.
“You don’t forget everything you learned over the last 20 years about IT just because you’re going to the cloud,” Ellison said. “Security is still important. Industry standards are still important. Reliability is still important. Scalability is still important. I want all those things, now in the cloud.”
Oracle Cloud’s Social Services solutions, the newest set of services in Oracle Cloud, provide a complete enterprise social platform. Organizations can engage with their customers across social media properties through a variety of social relationship management tools. Social Services also provide a rich social networking platform for employees to collaborate within a company.
Oracle Cloud’s Social Services solutions include Oracle Cloud Social Network Services, for secure enterprise collaboration and social networking for business; Oracle Cloud Social Data Services, to aggregate data from social networks and enterprise datasources to enrich business applications; Oracle Cloud Social Marketing and Engagement Services, to enable marketers to centrally create, publish, moderate, manage, measure, and report on their social marketing campaigns; and Oracle Cloud Social Intelligence Services, which allow these marketers to analyze social media interactions and to enable customer service and sales teams to engage with customers and prospects effectively.
As the engineered system foundation of Oracle Cloud, Oracle Exadata and Oracle Exalogic run all of Oracle Cloud’s services across a range of global data centers, delivering extreme performance, massive scalability, and fault tolerance that has no single point of failure. Oracle Exadata and Oracle Exalogic provide the capacity on demand that is one of the biggest advantages of cloud computing. “As you need more capacity, we simply spool up another machine,” Ellison said.
That flexibility and elasticity is the primary reason that the cloud truly represents a new era in computing, as important a transition as the move to a client/server model decades ago. Simply put, cloud computing is transforming the way businesses view technology, and Oracle is transforming the cloud. “Very few technology companies cross the chasm from one generation of technology to the next,” said Ellison. Oracle has now bridged that gap to deliver “the most comprehensive cloud on the planet Earth.”
Chip Brookshaw has reported on IT and enterprise technology for more than 15 years.