At an Oracle CloudWorld event today, Oracle announced that it will make available an instance of its database service on bare-metal servers in addition to new options for provisioning virtual machines and load balancing services.
At the same time, Oracle announced that it will add three additional regions to Oracle Cloud, to bring the total of regions up to 29 by the middle of this year.
Thomas Kurian, president of Oracle product development, says bare-metal servers provide IT organizations with an alternative to virtual machines that provide greater isolation, simpler portability and better performance than virtual machines.
Most workloads running on public clouds today make use of virtual machines. But Kurian notes that bare-metal servers and Docker containers that can run on either virtual machines or on bare-metal servers are emerging as attractive alternatives. Oracle, says Kurian, is committed to providing all three options, including one, two, and now four-core virtual machine options.
In general, Oracle is playing catch-up in the cloud. The Oracle cloud portfolio spans infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), platform-as-a-service (PaaS), software-as-a-service (SaaS) and data-as-a-service (DaaS) offerings. Although working off a much smaller base of customers, Oracle now claims it’s the fastest growing provider of cloud services, with over 20,000 customers generating over 55 billion transactions per day. Add to that the suite of SaaS applications that Oracle gained by acquiring NetSuite at the close of 2016 and Oracle is poised to expand its cloud footprint by providing a holistic suite of cloud services.
Of course, a big part of the Oracle cloud strategy centers on providing access to cloud infrastructure as well as managing the overall IT environment.
“We’ve been working on fundamentally changing what Oracle is about,” says Kurian.
The challenge that Oracle faces is that most of the applications in the public cloud today don’t make use of Oracle databases. For the most part, open source NoSQL databases dominate the Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud, while Microsoft is mainly focused on its database platforms on the Microsoft Azure cloud. Oracle, in the meantime, is also extending its PaaS environment by adding, for example, support for MapReduce and Hive interfaces, starting next week.
Obviously, it’s still relatively early days when it comes to enterprise IT organizations making the transition to public clouds. Oracle is investing heavily in an Oracle Virtual Cloud Network (VCN) that provides a common management plane for managing Oracle or third-party hypervisors, bare-metal servers, or containers running on either a hypervisor or bare-metal server. That management plane will soon be extended across the entire Oracle public cloud as well as private instances of Oracle Cloud running on-premise or managed by Oracle.
It remains to be seen how much of an impact that capability will have when competing against AWS and Microsoft public clouds embedding the management plane inside their hypervisors. But given the amount of engineering resources Oracle is now pouring into its cloud, it’s clear that Oracle has just begun to fight.