Oracle Illuminates Plan To Compete In Public Cloud With New Data Centers, Bare Metal Servers

Oracle co-CEO Mark Hurd on Tuesday detailed for customers and partners some of the investments the software giant has made to position its public cloud to compete with the industry's leaders.

Speaking at the Oracle CloudWorld event in New York, part of a multi-city event series, Hurd revealed the timetable for a promised data center expansion as the Redwood City, Calif.-headquartered tech vendor looks to capture share of the rapidly growing but intensely competitive cloud infrastructure market.

The facility expansion will bring three new regions online in the first half of 2017. Those data centers will be in Reston, Va., London and Turkey.

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Oracle simultaneously introduced enhancements to its Oracle Cloud Platform – including a unique capability to provision bare metal servers – while touting customer wins over the last quarter.

Partners told CRN they believe the expanded footprint will keep Oracle's cloud in the running as it looks to take on the narrow field of top-tier providers, especially industry kingpin Amazon Web Services (AWS). Oracle Founder and CTO Larry Ellison set his sights squarely on Amazon at Oracle's OpenWorld conference late last year.

Howard Moore, CEO of Keste, an Oracle partner based in Plano, Tex., has seen his company's Oracle cloud practice grow significantly over the last year.

"We had a lot of success with their Platform-as-a-Service, especially as it relates to integration products," Keste told CRN.

The success of an integration platform is a harbinger of positive developments on the cloud front.

"There's no cloud strategy without an integration strategy," Keste said. "Oracle's products are scalable, secure, well-engineered."

Oracle is beefing up the technology that will run inside those data centers, according to Hurd, looking to create a low-latency, next-gen platform that will encourage its on-premises customers to migrate to the cloud and start notching wins against the competition by emphasizing the company's database expertise and enterprise experience.

The enhanced platform includes the Oracle Database Cloud Service on bare metal offering, which allows customers to provision cloud infrastructure without having to settle for virtualized compute environments. And for customers that don't require bare metal, new virtual machines come with improved load balancing and storage capabilities, according to Hurd.

The bare metal servers Oracle is unleashing represent a "true innovation," Keste said, because they enable partners to leverage the full potential of application containers to achieve resource efficiency for their customer workloads.

"We see the opportunity to start moving workloads, especially Oracle workloads, onto bare metal where we believe there's going to be a pretty good uptake for that. The performance gain is significant," he said.

In competing with AWS, a bare-metal cloud can be a real differentiator as customers opt for the Docker container ecosystem to reduce the overhead of virtual machines.

On the data center front, Oracle is growing as they said they would, and that's an expensive, but necessary measure, to compete.

"It's not an easy thing to do, it's going to take a company the size or Oracle with a balance sheet like Oracle," Keste told CRN.

Pat Sullivan, managing director for Accenture's Global Oracle Technology Practice, told CRN the new regions would give the global system integrator's enterprise clients more options when migrating their workloads to the cloud.

"This gives Accenture the ability to select the right choice for our clients," Sullivan told CRN.

The bare metal and VM enhancements to the platform further provide a new path for migrations, helping clients digitally transform their businesses.

Accenture employs 52,000 Oracle-trained consultants to help implement Oracle-based business solutions.

Oracle touted that it has added thousands of customers in the last fiscal quarter (Q2 2017), but by press time hadn't provided CRN with more specific growth figures.