Oracle Bets Big On Cloud With Data Center Buildout


Oracle on Monday showcased an ambitious plan to thrust itself into the leading pack of cloud providers, one entailing a massive buildout of its data center footprint and artificial intelligence powering the automation of services hosted at those facilities.

At Oracle CloudWorld New York, Thomas Kurian, Oracle's president of product development, described Oracle's strategy, involving billions in capital expenditures, to catch up to the cloud leaders by building 12 new data centers around the world. The company will be releasing platform services that leverage machine learning to automate routine operations, security patching and repairs.

The new facilities will be built across Asia, Europe and North America, where two will be in Canada, and two in the United States dedicated for Department of Defense customers.

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In North America, Oracle currently operates cloud data centers in Chicago, Ill.; Ashburn, Va.; and Phoenix, Ariz.

At the same New York event, Oracle co-CEO Mark Hurd, Kurian, and other executive and product leaders showed off the new autonomous features for the Oracle Cloud, expanding on the capabilities of the 18c Oracle Autonomous Database introduced last year.

Just as the 18c database dynamically provisions, patches, updates, and tunes itself, all without human intervention, other Oracle data and analytic platforms will do the same through Oracle Cloud Platform Autonomous Services.

The "self-driving" capabilities will come online this year for transaction processing, NoSQL database, data warehousing and analytics services. They'll leverage machine learning models to help customers reduce their costs and risk, the Oracle leaders said.

Oracle will also deliver AI capabilities to developers who want to infuse intelligence into their applications. Those services will improve code creation, application deployment, and analytics, while enabling self-learning chatbots and self-defining data integrations.

Tim Beerman, CTO of Ensono, an Oracle partner based in Chicago, said Oracle is making a bold play signaling the Redwood Shores, Calif.-based technology giant is taking the cloud wars extremely seriously.

In a market dominated by Amazon, Microsoft and Google, any company looking to compete has to be willing to make substantial investments, as Oracle is doing with the new data centers it announced.

"You can't just dabble in the cloud wars. There has to be a long-term commitment and that’s what Oracle is doing here," Beerman said.

But even with Oracle's commitment to scaling its footprint, it remains to be seen if the capital expenditure will dramatically boost its market share.

"Now they have to win the hearts and minds of cloud consumers," he said.