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5 ways Oracle uses its own cloud infrastructure to run the company

You would expect Oracle to run on its own cloud infrastructure. But here are some specific benefits it’s getting.

By Chris Murphy | October 2020


5 ways Oracle uses its own cloud infrastructure to run the company

Nearly every server that’s not in Oracle Cloud Infrastructure will be turned off, Oracle’s Edward Screven says.

Oracle has moved its core business operations into its own Oracle Cloud Infrastructure. Critical applications, databases, software development tools, and other technology have all shifted to Oracle’s next-gen cloud.

“We’ve undertaken the same transformation that we’re recommending to our customers, and we’re seeing the benefits that our customers can also experience,” says Edward Screven, Oracle executive vice president and chief corporate architect.

You’re probably thinking: It’s your cloud, Oracle—of course you have to use it.

Keep in mind that Oracle is a $40 billion-a-year company, with more than 130,000 employees, so it has more on the line than most businesses. Before Oracle launched its current Generation 2 cloud infrastructure, Oracle didn’t run those operations on the cloud. Cloud technology throughout the industry simply wasn’t ready for such large-scale adoption.

Today, Oracle’s cloud infrastructure is scalable, reliable, and secure enough for even the largest production workloads. Oracle quickly understood that adopting its cloud services would lead to better quality of service, greater flexibility, and lower costs.

To show how Oracle benefits from using Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, Screven cites a long list of specific examples. Customers can see for themselves how Oracle Cloud makes sense for every business.

Here are five ways that Oracle has embraced its own cloud:

1. Runs its most important business processes using its Fusion applications in the cloud:

Oracle runs its core business functions using Oracle Fusion Applications on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI). This includes critical applications, such as ERP, HCM, and CX—apps that many customers, large and small, depend on to manage their businesses. “Oracle uses the same cloud data centers as its customers, running its Fusion application workloads side by side with customer workloads,” Screven notes.

2. Extends those applications with platform services that optimize business processes:

Like every big user of enterprise applications, Oracle wants to extend these standard cloud apps to address specialized requirements unique to Oracle’s business. Cloud applications also need to be integrated with existing on-premises applications. Oracle’s developers use platform services in Oracle Cloud Infrastructure to build those extensions and integrate everything together.

For example, Oracle uses its Oracle Cloud Integration service for more than 200 application integrations that handle about 40 million transactions per month.

“One thing that makes us very different than other cloud service providers,” says Screven, “is that our application extensions and integrations are built using the exact same tools and technologies that we use to build our SaaS applications for our customers.”

3. Quickly builds new custom, cloud native apps:

Oracle also builds custom cloud applications for its engineering teams and others to supplement standard cloud applications. For example, Oracle developers used Oracle Cloud Infrastructure Kubernetes and container services with Autonomous Database on the backend to create an internal search function that lets IT analysts dig into trouble tickets and bug reports across multiple data sources.

Similarly, Oracle used the Oracle Application Express low code development tool, which is built into the Oracle Autonomous Database and runs on OCI, to quickly develop an app for managing the patching schedule for hundreds of Oracle Cloud@Customer deployments. Speed is one of the critical advantages of these low code development tools on OCI. “The time from prototype development to go-live in production is much shorter,” Screven says.

 

“Today, depending on human-scale reaction to security alerts is not good enough. By the time human beings comprehend a threat and formulate a response, it’s often too late.”

Edward Screven, Oracle Executive Vice President and Chief Corporate Architect

4. Uses a unified data management platform to better understand operations:

Oracle wants to know everything about its OCI operating environment, including usage trends, service outages, security threats, and equipment failures. “Accurate and timely data is essential to manage our cloud well,” Screven says.

So it created the Horizon Data Warehouse, which is fed using Oracle’s cloud integration and streaming services into Oracle Autonomous Data Warehouse. “In cloud it’s just much easier to get the data,” he says.

With the data in hand, Oracle Analytics can deliver relevant reports and alerts. Oracle also puts that information into its Data Science Cloud, so that analysts can apply machine learning models to optimize cloud performance for customers.

Another example of the benefits of Oracle’s unified data management platform is same-day financial close. Oracle is making progress toward its goal of an automated close of its monthly financial books. A faster close enables company leaders to respond more rapidly to changing business and economic conditions.

The path to that fully automated close goal is being paved by one of Oracle’s subsidiaries, which itself has more than 20 subsidiaries located in all major regions. That company now closes its books in a single day, with about 92% of global bank transactions automatically reconciled, and global intercompany balances across hundreds of legal entities reconciled in 90 minutes. “The company has reduced its manual accounting by 35% with multiledger, multicurrency journals,” Screven says.

5. Enhances security for its development and production environments:

Screven pushed to have every Oracle application run on OCI in large part because Oracle feels it’s just more secure than conventional on-premises data centers.

For example, Oracle is starting to use two brand-new cloud security capabilities that are included with Oracle Cloud Infrastructure. The first is Maximum Security Zones, which requires users to apply dozens of security capabilities, including encryption. The second is Oracle Cloud Guard, which constantly monitors IT environments and alerts IT teams of possible security problems. Oracle Cloud Guard also uses machine learning to suggest remediation and offers users the option of automatically taking action against security risks.

“Today, depending on human-scale reaction to security alerts is not good enough,” Screven says. “By the time human beings comprehend a threat and formulate a response, it’s often too late.”

While it’s important to offer customers specific examples like these, Screven also wants people to understand the big picture of how completely Oracle is running on OCI. “We already have all of our critical business functions moved to our cloud,” he says. “Within 18 months, nearly every server that is not in Oracle Cloud Infrastructure will be turned off. We are benefiting tremendously in cost savings, greater business flexibility, and overall risk reduction. We believe all of our cloud customers can benefit too.”

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Photograph: Oracle

Chris Murphy

Chris Murphy

Chris Murphy is editorial director at Oracle. He was previously editor of InformationWeek. You can follow him on Twitter @murph_cj.