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Oracle's Cloud Computing Strategy Gets Clearer

Customers can now run Oracle software, data backup services using Amazon.com's cloud computing services.

This week Oracle announced at the Oracle OpenWorld Conference in San Francisco that customers could run some Oracle products within Amazon.com's cloud computing environment. And there were hints from Oracle and Intel executives about a joint cloud computing initiative in the works.

Oracle chose to work with Amazon because it appears to have a head start in supply cloud computing services, said Chuck Rozwat, executive vice president of development, in a press conference Tuesday. But he said deals with other cloud computing service providers are in the works. "We will definitely be supporting other cloud environments," he said.

Oracle customers can license the Oracle 11g database, Oracle Fusion Middleware, Oracle Enterprise Manager and Oracle Enterprise Linux to run in the Amazon Web Services' Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) environment. Customers can use their existing licenses for those products on Amazon EC2 without additional fees, the company said. Oracle also said it is offering for free a set of Amazon Machine Images (AMIs) for deploying Oracle software on Amazon EC2.

Oracle also announced a cloud computing-based data backup solution called Oracle Secure Backup Cloud Module that will utilize the Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) as a backup destination. The Oracle service, which also enables encrypted data backup, is based on the company's tape backup management technology, Oracle Secure Backup.

Intel President and CEO Paul Otellini, delivering a keynote speech Tuesday, said his company and Oracle were working on a cloud computing initiative. But neither he nor Rozwat would disclose any details.

Rozwat sees cloud a computing as an outgrowth of the on-demand computing technology Oracle has been working on for 10 years. While he said Oracle could offer cloud-computing services itself, he said those services would likely revolve around its own software, which is where he saw Oracle's real value, rather than simply offering cloud computing facilities.

Oracle is currently constructing a massive 200,000-square-foot data center facility in West Jordan, Utah, to support its on-demand business, as well as provide IT infrastructure for Oracle customer service and research and development operations.

Because there are limitations on how quickly huge volumes of data can be transmitted over the Internet, Rozwat said it remains to be seen how much customers will embrace cloud computing for data backup and recovery. "We think people will be a little cautious at first," he said, adding that it will be interesting to see how quickly cloud computing catches on for mission-critical applications.

Oracle also said more than 250 ISVs have adopted its software-as-a-service platform, which includes the Oracle grid computing technology, for developing and running their own SaaS and cloud computing applications.

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