Oracle holds an enviable position in the IT marketplace with a wide array of database systems, development tools, languages, platforms, enterprise applications, and servers. Riding the coattails of this industry giant is a healthy and far-flung ecosystem of software developers, integrators, consultants, and OEMs, which continue to grow in numbers and influence. These are the partners that will help make or break Oracle’s struggle with new forces disrupting the very foundations of IT. Any move by software giant Oracle is bound to create not just ripples—but large waves—across the enterprise business world. And lately, Oracle—long known for its own brand of xenophobia and disdain for direct competitors—has been making a lot of waves by forging new alliances with old foes. This is opening up potentially lucrative new frontiers for business partners at all levels.
“With Oracle’s never-ending string of acquisitions, new functionality, and widespread adoption by enterprises, trends that shape this ecosystem are certain to have far-reaching effects on the rest of the IT world,” Hiren Bhatt, senior vice president for NTT Data, a provider of IT services and solutions, tells DBTA. “New paradigms—from cloud computing to big data to competing on analytics—are taking root within the Oracle business ecosystem long before anywhere else.”
For starters, this year, Oracle finally appeared to be coming to terms with the fact that cloud computing may be an enterprise game-changer for customers. In early July, the vendor released Oracle Database 12c, configured as a “multi-tenant” architecture intended to simplify the process of consolidating databases onto the cloud; enabling customers to manage many databases as one without changing their applications. The new database will also support any type of underlying hardware. In addition, Oracle launched Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Release 3, designed to help its ERP customers deploy and manage business applications in an enterprise private cloud, such as platform as a service (PaaS), enhanced business application management, and integrated hardware-software management for Engineered Systems such as Oracle Exalytics In-Memory Machine and Oracle Exalogic Elastic Cloud.
A significant segment of the Oracle customer base is already moving in the direction of cloud. According to a recent survey of 262 Oracle enterprise managers, conducted by Unisphere Research, a division of Information Today, Inc. and sponsored by Oracle, private clouds are prevalent in close to two-fifths of the organizations surveyed. Adoption of public clouds is on the upswing as well, the survey finds. Twenty-six percent of respondents report they now use public cloud services either in full or limited ways, or within pilot projects. This is up by 86% from the first survey in this series was conducted in 2010, when 14% reported adoption (“Enterprise Cloudscapes: Deeper And More Strategic; 2012–13 IOUG Cloud Computing Survey”).
Trends that shape this ecosystem are certain to have
far-reaching effects on the rest of the IT world.
The survey also confirms that a majority of respondents with private clouds, 51%, are or will soon be running a substantial portion of their IT workloads within these environments. Oracle’s cloud offerings are targeted to both on-premise, private cloud, or true pay-as-you-go SaaS and PaaS solutions, observes Derek Steelberg, global managing director of Oracle business for Accenture, a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company. “We believe that most enterprises will exist in a hybrid cloud world for the foreseeable future, one in which traditional software systems will continue to play a crucial role in the overall IT landscape. The conversations should now turn to how cloud services can be used to differentiate a company’s business, help get its products and services to market faster, operate its business more efficiently, and respond more flexibly to new opportunities and challenges.”Business partners report that cloud has been a hot topic within their circles as well. More clients have been asking Oracle-and cloud- related questions in the last 6 months than any time previously, says Wayne Federico, CIO of Miro Consulting, Inc., an IT asset management consulting firm focused on Oracle and Microsoft licensing management and Oracle hardware assets.
“They have been trying to determine how best to utilize Oracle within a cloud solution. Many of their questions are related to planning for the future, so Database 12c will definitely broaden those options.” However, he cautions, “12c is so new that more time will be needed to see how well it will fit into those plans.”
Oracle’s moves are in line with its long-term corporate goal of becoming a comprehensive solution provider—from hardware to software to database, Janis Griffin, senior Oracle DBA at Confio, a provider of DevOps performance solutions, tells DBTA. “Oracle 12c is clearly helping execute on this strategy.” She adds that Oracle’s pluggable databases “play neatly with the Exadata architecture, because customers can quickly consolidate multiple Oracle instances.” Since the pluggable databases are designed to be standalone in a shared environment, “applications don’t have to be changed in order to migrate them over, so consolidations should become easier.” Oracle is responding to a marketplace being disrupted by cloud and open source solutions, and, as a result, is being forced to re-shape itself, says Mark Hydar, vice president of market technology and strategy for NewSQL database vendor VoltDB. “In the past, CFOs and COOs would see the cost of Oracle as non-negotiable, much like a utility.”