After Oracle OpenWorld, I asked myself a simple question. How will Oracle use Oracle Cloud 2.0? AWS uses its cloud to create services such as Lambda. What will Oracle create within its cloud? More to the point, will its current SaaS offerings migrate to Oracle Cloud 2.0? Have they already? These are crucial questions to which there are no ready answers. Oracle cannot compete with Amazon, so how will Oracle become a player in the cloud?
Oracle is a SaaS enabler already. It offers services from Eloqua, Endeca, and JD Edwards to Oracle itself, PeopleSoft, and RightNow. For the enterprise to cloud migration strategy, moving to Oracle Cloud may be very easy for some applications. Will it be for others? To move its existing application to SaaS form, Oracle has built a platform already: PaaS.
- Use existing apps (HR, EPM, ERP, etc.) as low-hanging fruit; migrate to the cloud to save dollars.
- Use existing Oracle installations in the cloud from previous migrations as bridges to new apps migrated to Oracle cloud using IaaS, PaaS, or Ravello.
- Wrap consulting around both of the previous options.
- Wrap Managed Services around all other options.
This offers a route by which Oracle could become a true cloud competitor. SaaS is the real win for using the cloud. It is by far the cheapest way to use a cloud by a business today, yet it is not the only way. Placing applications within a cloud requires knowledge. Oracle has hired a large number of cloud architects and continues to hire more. Cloud architects and engineers can help many companies see the realization of the cloud dream. It will be hybrid to start, SaaS base in part, and PaaS in part, with a smattering of IaaS.
This route leverages all of Oracle’s existing knowledge, provides existing customers a path forward, and makes effective use of Oracle’s relatively small cloud (“relatively” as compared to Amazon and Microsoft Azure). That is the big “gotcha”: Oracle Cloud is comparatively small. It is not growing at the same scale as Microsoft and Amazon, so it needs to grow in its own way. SaaS is that growth strategy. For SaaS, you do not need millions of systems, but you do need solid infrastructure with resiliency.
Once more, we need to read between the lines. Is it a true IaaS it is after, à la Amazon? Or is it a means to an end, that end being the migration of its customers to Oracle Cloud for SaaS services and database services for use with its customer applications? Only time will tell, but to be successful, Oracle needs to look to how it can pull in business in an already highly competitive landscape.
I see a future for Oracle. It is not all doom and gloom. The question is whether Oracle sees this future or is just using a scatter-gun approach of providing services. In the end, however, that is what cloud is all about: providing services.
In the end as well, that is how enterprises consume a cloud: by consuming the services. As we create new services, we build out the SaaS model, which leverages well-run environments within clouds. These services then can be chained together to create bigger applications.
I see this as the future for Oracle and many of the smaller cloud providers: the creation of critical services that others would consume not as pure infrastructure, but as software. The foundation is there within Oracle Cloud.