To kick off Oracle Open World 2015, Oracle's annual user conference at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, CTO and executive chairman Larry Ellison detailed the steps that led Oracle be positioned in "every layer of the cloud” and the importance of integrated cloud applications and platform services.
Roughly a decade ago, Ellison shared, the company—following the lead set by Salesforce.com and NetSuite—realized that if it was imperative that it enter the software-as-a-service (SaaS) business, and “rewrite virtually all of [its] applications to make them run on the cloud.” Not long after those initial investments in SaaS, the company realized it would also have to offer platform-as-a-service (PaaS) to compete with companies like Amazon who were offering EC2 storage renting as a service on the internet. And if the company was going to compete in PaaS, it would also have to invest in infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), Ellison said. The company realized that “people weren’t going to use our databases and platforms with just our applications. They wanted to write applications of their own” and extend them to other environments.
Ellison outlined the top design goals for the company in all three layers of the cloud – SaaS, PaaS and IaaS. These are cost, reliability, performance, standards, compatibility, and security.
Oracle’s goal is to allow organizations to have the exact same capabilities in the cloud that they have in their data center so cloud is effectively an extension of the data center with all assets managed by a single pane of glass, he said.
Ellison highlighted some of the key announcements Oracle is making at OpenWorld this week, and stated that the Oracle release 12.2 of the multitenant database, which is starting a beta program, provides enhanced security. While version 12.1 introduced one database in addition to pluggable databases, the company is “now offering cloud scalability,” Ellison said. “You can have 4,000 tenants in one database, where the system is responsible for providing data isolation, privacy, and recovery to the data.”
Ellison also noted the importance of a flash cache storage added to Exadata Database Machine which allows large databases to be put in columnar format for fast analytics and is a “huge step forward in making analytics run faster.”
Oracle has been working on creating a standards-based platform to make it easy for customers to build applications on its cloud and transfer them to other environments. “We think most customers will want to build their applications using industry standards,” Ellison said. “You don’t want to get locked in. If you build an application on our cloud, you want to be able to run it on other clouds.” This differs from Salesforce’s platform, which is proprietary, and can run only natively, Ellison said. Emphasizing security as a chief concern, Ellison singled it out as the one goal he would place at the top of the list. “People buy the Oracle security features and don’t turn them on,” Ellison said, noting that “there should be no on and off button on security. It should be always on. Everything should be encrypted. I think we just have to change our thinking about security and make sure we have tech that can defeat [threats] like Heartbleed and Venom.”
Ellison went on to state that a shortcoming in security has been the fact that each security feature must be explained and broken down to users. “Wouldn’t it be nicer if they were always on and always worked? It sounds impossible—maybe we can’t do that with everything, but there’s a lot we can do.” He went on to note that it’s a shortcoming that they must be activated explain. “As we push security down the stack, we see huge benefits. When we have security in the database and all the applications are encrypted, guess what? All the applications, all the data is protected. The lower you push security, the better you are,” Ellison stressed.
To further “fill out its enterprise footprint in the cloud,” Ellison announced two “major new applications” in manufacturing and e-commerce.
In the Customer Experience Cloud, Oracle announced that customers can go through the cloud to connect with customers. The company has added industry specific features to the Oracle Customer Experience platform. In addition, Oracle launched new drag and drop “Application Builder” tool which allows companies to “very easily extend any of [Oracle’s] modern SaaS applications.”
A goal for Oracle is to make the technology easier to learn and adopt across the board. “We have to make these systems much easier to use and learn,” Ellison said. He noted that today people require and expect a very simple, intuitive, and visual user interface closer to consumer products like Facebook and Twitter, “and that’s what we’ve endeavored to build.” The company has made applications compatible with mobile from all forms of smartphones whether from Apple iOS or Android.
Oracle is also providing an integrated learning system as part of its platform, to allow end users to access videos and tutorials for their educational needs. These can be leveraged by employees as they are using the applications and need to figure out for instance how to make a sales call or understand their company’s competitive advantages and compliance rules, Ellison noted.