Oracle executives today revealed the results of years’ worth of engineering and development efforts on its IaaS public cloud and announced a new bare metal cloud database service and an international geographic expansion.
Oracle is typically not considered one of the top IaaS public cloud leaders, but the company has hopes of competing in the market by combining its infrastructure services – which focus on its core database services – with a suite of application development and software as a service offerings. At its Cloud World event in New York today, company executives laid out their vision of how they will take on competitors such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Salesforce.com.
Oracle founder and now CTO Larry Ellison once famously denounced the cloud, questioning whether the technology was just hype. Since those statements the company has invested heavily in hiring the engineering talent to build up its cloud platform, and has begun releasing what analysts call a minimally viable product in the IaaS public cloud market.
Today, Oracle released more details that will advance its cloud offering, across a handful of areas:
Compute: Oracle’s IaaS cloud comes in three compute flavors: Physical (meaning non-virtualized) Linux or Windows servers, which offer isolation of customer workloads; virtual servers (where customers share infrastructure resources with other customers) and bare metal servers running Docker containers.
“No one else in the public cloud offers that capability,” said Oracle President of Products Thomas Kurian about the company’s physical servers, which he says provide 100% isolation of workloads. IBM offers bare metal servers, too, though. Compute offerings range from inexpensive machines ($0.10 per hour) to ones with between 32 and 44 Intel core processors, 1 TB of dRAM and 29 TBs of local storage, all the way up to 60 TB local storage that are capable of up to 1 million input and outputs per second (IOPS). Kurain claims these cost 20% less than AWS with 7 to 10X the performance.
Network: Kurian says that Oracle’s cloud is built on a virtualized network that isolates customer traffic in “fully encapsulated” virtual networks. He argues that this provides better quality of service – eliminating the “noisy neighbor” problem on shared resources – while providing better security.
Storage: Oracle cloud offers object, block and file storage systems.
Databases: Kurian argues that Oracle’s databases are the company’s biggest differentiator. Databases start at $175 per month and range to DBs with up to 240 TBs of storage and 246 physical cores, all the way to hosted Exadata platforms. They all have the same API and SQL dialect. Oracle, Kurian says, also supports more than 500 open source projects in its cloud.
PaaS and cloud management: Oracle’s PaaS is broken into serving two developer profiles, either a professional developer, or a line of business developer, the latter of which would use a graphical drag-and-drop interface for simple application development. Advanced microservice applications can be controlled by Kubernetes on the Oracle PaaS, Kurian says. Meanwhile, the company’s cloud management portal can be used to control on-premises and other public cloud platforms. Administrators can set up policies to automatically backup or patch resources on a scheduled basis.
SaaS Services: In addition to IaaS and PaaS functionality, Oracle has a strong set of SaaS tools, ranging from CRM, ERP, HCM and vertical industry specific applications.
Geographic expansion: Oracle announced plans to open three more regions for its cloud this year in Virginia, Turkey and London, which will give the company 29 regions around the world.
“Oracle should be congratulated for its enthusiasm and the proactive way it is pursuing the cloud market,” says Charles King, an analyst with Pund-IT, adding that the company was late to the market. Oracle has taken a similar approach to Microsoft and IBM in offering services across all three layers of cloud: IaaS, PaaS and SaaS. “They still have a massive install base of customers that want cloud services. The question is whether they will choose Oracle as their cloud vendor as opposed to vendors they may be currently working with, or choosing to go with a more established, more innovative vendor.” King adds Oracle’s cloud will appeal most to existing customers, but he questions how the company will be able to attract net new brands.