On Planet Oracle, Big Red wasn't a decade late to cloud ... Amazon was just years too early

Elastic VMs, containers, storage unveiled

OpenWorld Earlier this month, Amazon tweaked Oracle's nose at its re:Invent conference. On Tuesday this week, Oracle fired back with a raft of cloud announcements.

During the morning's keynote presentation, Thomas Kurian, Oracle's president of product, outlined the new offerings in cloud infrastructure-as-a-service, including an Elastic Compute Cloud that goes up against the Amazon AWS EC2 service, albeit nine years after Amazon started the ball rolling.

"Elastic compute gives the ability to say 'I want a certain number of cores and I want to pay for it by the hour or the month, I want to get Windows or Linux as an operating system on it, and then I want to spin up workloads on it for elastic compute, and we'll show elastic scaling as well," Kurian said.

If privacy and security of data is important, then Oracle will offer dedicated compute, a rack of servers run with no other tenants on them. This is going to be useful for Oracle's attempts to win government and medical contracts, where such private storage systems are considered a must-have.

Oracle has also added a couple of new network connectivity options for transporting data to and from on-premise systems. Customers can now either use the Equinix Cloud Exchange or set up a more hardcore MPLS connection that's faster and keeps data off the public internet system, Kurian promised.

Pricing for the service wasn't discussed in the keynote but Oracle has said that it will match or possibly undercut Amazon AWS on cost. If so, Bezos is likely to respond and we could see a price war develop that will leave customers with lower bills.

For developers, Oracle has joined the rush to Docker with a new Container Cloud service. Applications can be wrapped in containers and published on any Docker registry (and Oracle has its own too) and launch them in the cloud using either Mesos or Kubernetes container management systems.

For those keen on open source, Kurian said that over 200 open stacks had now been certified to run on the Oracle cloud. The firm is clearly hoping to woo larger numbers of open source developers and there may be more announcements on this front over the coming months.

For wannabe app developers who don't have leet coding skills, Oracle has its app builder service. Applications can be built using drag and drop components in JavaScript in Oracle's Application Cloud Builder Service.

Kurian also introduced new strings to Oracle's storage bow. For archived data storage that isn't needed on a day-to-day basis, Oracle will provide storage at a cost of one dollar per terabyte per month, with "predictable service level agreements" for retrieval.

On-premise applications can still access archived files as standard NFS objects over the network. For larger data sets, in the petabyte range, Oracle will ship customers a storage device, and then upload that data directly to a cloud repository.

Kurian outran his time in this morning's keynote considerably, but there was a lot to pack in there. Doubtless a lot of it is less than pleasing to Amazon, and we'll no doubt see a response from the cloud leader before long. ®

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