Oracle Software To Support Microsoft Windows Azure, Hyper-V

Oracle will certify and support its software products running on Microsoft's Windows Azure cloud platform and Hyper-V virtualization technology under an alliance unveiled by the two companies Monday.

Oracle is also providing license mobility for customers who want to run Oracle software on Windows Azure, the companies said, and Microsoft will offer fully licensed and supported Java for Windows Azure.

The alliance, detailed in a conference call featuring Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and Oracle President Mark Hurd, was portrayed as necessary to meet the cloud computing needs of the two companies' enterprise customers.

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"Everything in the enterprise is different. Different sets of technical needs, investments, scale, timing," Ballmer said, adding that the alliance was necessitated by the growing adoption of hybrid cloud systems.

"Most important to our enterprise customers is that we will work together, Microsoft and Oracle, to provide best-in-class, end-to-end support to customers running mission-critical Oracle applications and software on Microsoft's enterprise-grade cloud computing and virtualization platforms," Ballmer said.

"At Oracle, we certainly see the IT industry as very dynamic," Hurd said on the call. "Customers want more flexibility and choice to be able to adapt to a rapid changing business landscape."

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison first disclosed plans for the alliance during a fourth-quarter earnings call Thursday.

Oracle will certify and support its applications, middleware, database, Java and Linux software for Microsoft's Hyper-V and Windows Azure. "Support is effective immediately," Hurd said.

Oracle already supports Microsoft's Windows Server as a platform for its database and other software products.

"License mobility is also effective immediately," Hurd said. "This allows customers the freedom to use their Oracle licenses they already own in Windows Azure." For those who don't have Oracle licenses, Microsoft will add infrastructure services with configurations of Oracle software including the Oracle database, Oracle WebLogic Server and Java to the Windows Azure image gallery.

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Microsoft has said that Windows Azure has grown to become a $1 billion business for the company, a point not lost on Oracle.

"Microsoft owns a huge share of the OS market -- Oracle owns a huge share of the commercial database market. If Oracle expects to hold on to that market share, they MUST run on EVERY popular OS platform -- period!" noted Rhos Dyke, executive vice president of Oracle partner Cloud Creek Systems, in a note to CRN.

"This really does solidify Microsoft as a cloud leader," said Liza Sisler, marketing director for Perficient's Microsoft national business unit, in an interview with CRN. St. Louis-based Perficient works with both Microsoft and Oracle, and the solution provider sees many customers with technology from both vendors. "It gives our customers more choices and options to embrace the cloud," she said.

Dyke said Microsoft's platforms are popular with hosted service providers. "I'd love to know how many off-site, remote hosting service providers pushed for Oracle to certify on these MS operating systems," he said.

Microsoft will offer fully licensed and supported Java in Windows Azure. That will help to make Java "a first-class language and design" environment in Azure," said Satya Nadella, president of Microsoft's server and tools business, also on the call.

"This will give Java developers increased flexibility and choice in where to deploy their Java applications, and the safety and security that comes from knowing that Java on Windows Azure is fully licensed and fully supported by Oracle."

Many Oracle customers already run Oracle software on Windows, Nadella said. "This is all about extending that to the cloud."

Oracle also will provide its distribution of Linux, with additional Oracle software, as pre-configured instances on Windows Azure.