Oracle Buys Hybrid Cloud


Oracle has entered into an agreement to purchase Ravello Systems, which will be part of Oracle Cloud’s IaaS mission. This is an interesting purchase in many ways, one that boosts Oracle’s IaaS environment. However, Ravello Systems offers a bridge between multiple clouds, and that does not jive with Oracles historical approach to business. This opens up many questions, and really makes the purchase look like Oracle has bought a hybrid cloud. But is that all it bought?

Now, some may claim that what Ravello does is not a hybrid cloud. However, when you look at the fact that Ravello allows you to run workloads within Google Compute Engine and Amazon, as well as within any virtual machine technology, regardless of where it is located, we are talking about a hybrid cloud. Hybrid these days does not just mean between on-premises data centers and the cloud, but also between clouds.

So, Ravello enables a hybrid cloud: one that not only will run within Oracles IaaS cloud but will allow bursting into other clouds. The running within Oracle’s cloud is the important part: the part that is not tested yet, but should work as Ravello runs within a Linux guest today. Layered virtualization is not anything new, but layered virtualization where you can run any other virtual machine construct on top of another layer, such as Oracles cloud, is what Ravello does best.

This will give Oracle Cloud a unique advantage. If there is no need to translate a virtual machine from one cloud to another, staging into a cloud becomes that much easier. In addition, Ravello has an existing ecosystem of partners, users, and products designed around its offering. Since many of these users are VMware vExperts, Oracle has to convince the existing community that they are not the bad guys in this deal, but will support the community, keep it running, and not cause any hardship. Given Oracle’s reputation, we begin to wonder about that. This may account for the lukewarm reception given this announcement.

Oracle has been quietly buying up companies to make a high-performance cloud. It has that with its SaaS offerings around the Oracle database. It also provides a PaaS around its Java offerings. It has had IaaS around its virtualization offerings. Ravello will enhance all three by allowing:

  • License savings based on traditional virtual machine technologies without stressing the licensing bank. Since they license by CPU within a cluster and Ravello allows denser virtual machines per cluster, you can see a license savings using Ravello.
  • More traditional per-machine applications to run within their SaaS.
  • Density within the PaaS.
  • Easier migration into the Oracle Cloud IaaS.

And generally by providing a hybrid cloud technology that requires very little to migrate between multiple target clouds.

However, we cannot overlook the Ravello blueprint library of applications. The community has created hundreds of blueprints for applications that can be used for testing, cyber ranges, sandboxes, and  deployment. This part of the product may be the most exciting aspect for Oracle Cloud if it allows the blueprints to be deployed within Oracle Cloud. This may take a bit of work by the Ravello folks, but that should be minor given the hypervisor in use.

There was lackluster response on social media, I believe due to the nature of Oracle itself and not Ravello. Once Oracle gets involved, folks are concerned about three things: “Will Ravello stay around?” Will the community stay around? and What will Oracle change in way of licensing? These concerns have many folks scratching their heads and frowning with concern.

If Oracle leaves Ravello untouched from a licensing standpoint and allows the community to not only stay but grow, then this may be the turnaround that Oracle needs in the virtualization and cloud world. The bad rap Oracle has needs to be offset by something very useful, quite interesting, and fun.

Ravello brings the hybrid cloud to Oracle. It also brings an existing set of blueprints for deploying applications within a cloud, whether cloud native or not. Testing alone makes Ravello very interesting. However, where will Oracle take the investment? To the dumps, no change, or changes for the better?

Your guess at this time is as good as mine. What do you say will happen?

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Edward Haletky
Edward L. Haletky aka Texiwill is an analyst, author, architect, technologist, and out of the box thinker. As an analyst, Edward looks at all things IoT, Big Data, Cloud, Security, and DevOps. As an architect, Edward creates peer-reviewed reference architectures for hybrid cloud, cloud native applications, and many other aspects of the modern business. As an author he has written about virtualization and security. As a technologist, Edward creates code prototypes for parts of those architectures. Edward is solving today's problems in an implementable fashion.
Edward Haletky

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