Oracle completes cloud pivot by releasing flagship products as services | #OOW14

Oracle_CloudAfter years of trying to ignore the trend into non-existence, Oracle Corp is finally giving up on swimming against the cloud computing current and following arch-rivals SAP SE and IBM in making its flagship software products available on a service basis. Now that it’s embraced the new reality of technology deployment, the company has no intentions of stopping at merely adding another billing option to its existing lineup.

Accompanying the cloud-based versions of Oracle’s namesake relational database and Java development environment introduced at its OpenWorld 2014 conference this week s is a wide array of new solutions that extend the competitive focus far beyond the vendor’s traditional comfort zone. At the tip of the spear are six services that address the most strategic gaps in its already broad software-as-a-service portfolio.

Outscaling the competition


The suite centers on a new managed Hadoop distribution that allows customers to analyze growing troves of uninstructed data – the kind Oracle’s flagship database has a notoriously difficult time handling – without having to make an upfront investment in infrastructure. The service is hardly unique, with at least half a dozen other vendors pitching similar offerings, but that’s not what Larry Ellison’s firm is going for.

Rather, the data crunching platform fills another piece in the broader puzzle of the Oracle Cloud, which aims to differentiate through the age-old tactic of outdoing the competition in scope and breadth – better known as the “one-stop-shop” proposition. It shares that purpose with the five other additions to the company’s SaaS portfolio: a hosted process management environment, Java- and Node.js-specific application platforms, an integration solution and a mobile backend service.

The latter offering holds special importance in view of Red Hat Inc.’s recent $82 million acquisition of FeedHenry Inc, a powerful reminder of just how inseparable smartphones and tablets are from the enterprise application landscape. For a company trying to compete on portfolio depth, an equally if not more important priority is addressing vertical-specific requirements, which is why Oracle is complementing the six newest items in its cloud portfolio with customized services tailored to meet the needs of specific business units.

Maintaining (vertical) focus

To help marketers rake in more revenues for their organizations, the vendor is rolling out Data as a Service (DaaS) for Sales, a managed analytics workbench for uncovering useful details about contacts and prospects. The platform provides access to a pool of commercial data courtesy of business information supplier Dun & Bradstreet, Inc. and includes tools aimed at empowering users to identify patterns that might help sealing a particular deal easier.

For HR professionals, meanwhile, Oracle is offering a new release of its Human Capital Management Cloud that features integration with its payroll software, social activities planning features and mobile access support. Continuing the analytics theme, the latest version also sports capabilities for gleaning insights about key metrics pertaining to the workforce.

A hardware edge


Oracle is now a cloud company through-and-through, but that doesn’t mean it has lost sight of its hardware business. Besides the new cloud services, OpenWorld 2014 also saw the introduction of three appliances that push the envelope on the database giant’s Engineered Systems portfolio.

Exalytics In-Memory Machine X4-4, one of the machines unveiled at the landmark event, combines four customized Xeon E7-8895 v2 processors with up to three terabytes of memory in a tightly-integrated package that is described as 50 percent better than its predecessor on all major counts: clock speed, processing cores and capacity. It’s joined by the even more formidable Zero Data Loss Recovery Appliance, which Oracle CEO-turned-chairman Ellison introduced in his opening keynote as the first system designed for the sole purpose of protecting organizations’ most vital databases.

Last but certainly not least is the Oracle FS1 Series Flash Storage System, an all-flash appliance that the company is touting as being in an entire league of its own. According to official figures, the box provides eight times more IOPs than EMC Corp.’s rivaling XtremIO X-Bricks with nearly ten times as much throughput at half the price per terabyte. Moreover, Oracle claims it handles data 400 times more efficiency than the storage stalwart’s VNX2 family and Hewlett-Packard Co,’s 3PAR architecture.

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