Oracle Goes Live With Public Cloud Service

Oracle's long-gestating Oracle Public Cloud service is now live, the company said Wednesday, offering customers more than 100 cloud-based applications and a range of cloud-based platform and social networking services for developers and users.

Oracle also unveiled a new set of premium customer support services for owners of the company's "engineered system" servers and storage products.

"This has been a combination of years of innovation and investment, combined with some key, strategic acquisitions to put this cloud together," said Oracle CEO Larry Ellison in a press conference, speaking about the company's cloud applications and public cloud service. "This was a gigantic effort."

[Related: Oracle Offers Partner Certifications For Next-Gen Fusion Apps ]

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Oracle has been developing its Fusion line of cloud applications for nearly seven years and the first of those products -- cloud-based Financial Management, Human Capital Management (HCM) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) applications -- went live late last year.

Since then the company has beefed up its cloud-application offerings with several acquisitions including Taleo, for talent management, and RightNow, for customer service.

Oracle also announced the Oracle Public Cloud at Oracle OpenWorld in October, but the service wasn't live until now.

In addition to cloud-based applications, the Oracle Public Cloud offers a range of services including infrastructure services, Java development tools and services for programmers, database and file-sharing services, analytics and social networking services.

Ellison called the new offerings "the most comprehensive cloud on the planet" and repeatedly emphasized that customers can move applications and data between the Oracle cloud system and the customer's on-premise data center as needed. "It's very easy to make the migration to the cloud -- gracefully," he said.

In an hour-long presentation, the Oracle CEO touted the flexible capacity of the Oracle Public Cloud. "We have data centers all over the world," he said. While the elasticity of the Oracle service is somewhat similar to Amazon's cloud services, he said, other competitors -- which Ellison didn't name -- "can't respond to capacity on demand."

Ellison touted the system's security. "One of the things about the Oracle database in the cloud is that it's secure. We keep your data separate and secure." The service runs on fault-tolerant hardware for reliability. And Ellison noted that the system is built on industry standards such as service-oriented architecture (SOA), HTML5 and Java.

NEXT: Ellison Takes Competitive Shots Against SAP And Workday

The Oracle CEO devoted a significant portion of the presentation to demonstrating Oracle's social relationship management tools, based on software from Vitrue, a company Oracle is in the process of acquiring for an undisclosed sum.

Ellison is known for taking shots at competitors during keynote speeches, and SAP was particularly in his sights Wednesday. SAP, he claimed, won't have any cloud products until 2020 with the exception of SuccessFactors, the developer of cloud-based HCM applications SAP bought earlier this year for $3.4 billion. "They're not there. They've got nothing," Ellison said.

SAP, however, currently offers the Business ByDesign suite of cloud applications for mid-market companies, though SAP's chief cloud computing executive, Lars Dalgaard, has criticized the company's marketing efforts around the product. SAP also offers cloud versions of several enterprise applications, including SAP Financials OnDemand and SAP Sales OnDemand, and is in the process of acquiring e-commerce cloud application developer Ariba for $4.3 billion.

Ellison also criticized Workday, a competing vendor of cloud HCM applications, for developing its user interface in Flash and building the applications on an object data store rather than a database.

Oracle president Mark Hurd took the stage after Ellison to describe the Oracle Platinum Services, the new customer support services the company is offering for free -- as part of a standard support contract -- to owners of Oracle's Exadata, Exalogic and SPARC SuperCluster servers with Exadata, Sun ZFS or Pillar Axiom 600 storage systems.

"Oracle has changed the services game," Hurd said. "This is the highest level of support available in the industry today."

The new services include service-level agreements of a 5-minute response for Severity 1 issues, 15-minute restoration or escalation to development for Severity 1 issues, 24/7 fault monitoring by Oracle, and quarterly patching and system updates. Oracle, in a statement, said the new services "bridge the gap" between traditional IT support and fully managed services.