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Oracle opens up internal dev tools so customers can build their own apps

Big Red rolls out DB document handling, white-label cloud package – but customers warned to check out terms of service first

Oracle CloudWorld Oracle's vision for the coming year is to start putting the same tools it uses internally into the hands of customers.

This sharing of internal tooling was the theme the global software giant's annual conference in Las Vegas this week. Other news includes the ability to rebadge Oracle Cloud@customer services to provide branded enterprise cloud service, and new database features supporting JSON documents.

In the Oracle Applications Platform, Big Red is offering access to its Redwood UX Building Blocks, a software development toolkit that allows developers to build and modify the UX components. It includes the Redwood reference application, page templates, component repository, reference architecture, and design guides.

"This is the very same platform that we all will use to build our applications," said Rajan Krishnan, group veep of Oracle product development. "We make that available through the Redwood design system, an award-winning design framework. Developers can take advantage of other components of the applications platform, including search, and Oracle visual builder studio, so that the developers inside companies need just to pick those components and put them together as opposed to writing code."

Telemetry, the Business Logic recommendation engine, embedded Oracle Digital Assistant components, and data visualization are also part of the opening-up of Oracle's own tooling, which the Oracle allow interoperability via Oracle Fusion Cloud Applications Suite, its flagship ERP platform in the cloud.

On Oracle's Database 23c, the vendor is introducing something called "JSON Relational Duality." Oracle has supported JSON in its relational database for some time, with native support for the document format announced for 21c in December 2020.

The latest update allows the same data to be simultaneously represented in JSON documents and in relational tables. The move brings substantial simplicity and flexibility to modern app development, according to Carl Olofson, research vice president at IDC.

"It addresses the age-old object–relational mismatch problem, offering an option for developers to pick the best storage and access formats needed for each use case without having to worry about data structure, data mapping, data consistency, or performance tuning," the Olofson added.

Speaking to The Register, Holger Mueller, vice president and principal analyst of Constellation Research, said the approach was "revolutionary."

"It is all about bringing JSON to the Oracle Database, and available to Oracle developers," he said. "Why does JSON matter so much? Well, MongoDB has had a lot of success and Oracle has a massive ambition in the healthcare space. Larry Ellison (founder and CTO) committed more than 60 minutes to it in his keynote… and documents matter in healthcare."

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  • In terms of cloud infrastructure, Oracle is launching Alloy, a platform aimed at support service providers, integrators, independent software vendors (ISVs), and other organizations such as financial institutions or telecommunications providers as they seek to become cloud providers to their customers and roll out their own cloud services.

    However, Craig Guarente, CEO of Oracle licensing advisory firm Palisade Compliance, said Alloy was a reworking of Oracle's Cloud@Customer, in which Oracle delivers and supports Oracle hardware in customers' datacenters to act like it is part of Oracle's cloud. Latency and data sovereignty might justify this approach.

    With Alloy it's possible to "use those machines for your client's internal business operations," Guarente said. "You are basically hosting your client's datacenter, or you may be providing your own services to a number of clients. We need to see pricing, and more importantly, terms of service. If you are going to acquire Alloy, the last thing you want is to be in a position where Oracle can use their contracts to literally pull the plug on your business. Do you trust Oracle? That will be a big consideration of adoption."

    Oracle has also announced MySQL HeatWave Lakehouse, focused on allowing users to process and query hundreds of terabytes of data in object stores in a variety of file formats, such as CSV and Parquet, as well as Aurora and Redshift backups.

    In September, Oracle announced Heatwave would be available in AWS, but has not announced if it would support Amazon's object storage, S3, in its related Lakehouse.

    Oracle said MySQL HeatWave LakeHouse was currently in beta on OCI; availability on AWS and Azure was planned following general availability on OCI. The MySQL HeatWave service would provide the same experience to organizations regardless of cloud, the vendor said.

    Marc Caruso, chief architect at Oracle support and services company Syntax, said: "HeatWave Lakehouse offers significant benefits both in terms of cost and simplicity. Rather than implementing multiple services, HeatWave Lakehouse is a self-contained analytics platform that provides OLTP, OLAP, and ML services." ®

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