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Oracle Sets Sights on Besting AWS Cloud Computing Offering

Oracle claims their new bare metal DBaaS offering bests AWS by lowering cost and giving customers freedom to choose vendor software.

By Elizabeth O'Dowd

Oracle is coming for Amazon Web Services (AWS) after announcing a new approach to cloud computing at their annual Oracle OpenWorld showcase.

Oracle challenges AWS

AWS is currently the world’s largest cloud provider in the infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) model. Oracle struggles against the AWS IaaS cloud service model and failed to make the “2016 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Infrastructure as a Service, Worldwide.”

Gartner analysts stated, “At the time of evaluation, the Oracle Compute Cloud Service was not in general availability, and Oracle did not have another cloud IaaS offering in general availability that meets Gartner's definition of IaaS. Consequently, Oracle also does not have enough market share to qualify for inclusion.”

Gartner’s annual IaaS magic quadrant includes deployments across all industries including government and healthcare. In a recent survey, North American healthcare organizations identified Microsoft (42%), Google (29%), and AWS (27%) as the top IaaS platforms used in the healthcare industry.

Earlier this month, Matt Weinberger of Business Insider reported that Oracle Executive Chairman and CTO Larry Ellison spent nearly an hour comparing AWS to Oracle’s latest cloud platform release. Ellison claimed that, “Oracle's new technologies will drive the Cloud databases and infrastructure of the future. Amazon are decades behind in every database area that matters, and their systems are more closed than mainframe computers."

Ellison’s comment referenced Oracle’s new database-as-a-service (DBaaS) offering, Oracle Cloud Database, which uses bare metal cloud technology in an effort to lower the cost of cloud data storage.

Bare metal cloud refers to when an organization rents remote server hardware for cloud storage. Bare metal cloud allows customers to run the cloud software of their choice on rented servers.

“Once you move into AWS, you cannot move out. If they raise prices, get out your checkbook,” Ellison said. “You are locked in, baby.” He continued that Amazon makes it difficult to run anything but AWS on Amazon servers.

While Ellison’s statement holds some truth, his implication likely missed the mark. Bare metal cloud offers organizations more options for cloud software on secure and remote servers, but some organizations may require the monitoring services offered by vendors such as AWS.

Healthcare institutions with smaller IT departments might not have enough seasoned cloud professionals to make decisions about which software would best suit their organization, making a full service IaaS solution a better choice.

Moving a database is a difficult procedure and customers typically don’t migrate once they land on a cloud service provider, unless they are having concerns or issues with the service. Attracting customers to Oracle from AWS isn’t likely to happen quickly; Oracle’s new cloud offering is more likely to appeal to current Oracle users.

The $10-billion AWS cloud computing solution is intimidating to other service providers because it is generally well regarded by enterprise IT professionals. The AWS reputation inspires other IaaS and cloud database providers to innovate with their own offerings.

Historically, Microsoft and Oracle have reputations for locking customers into using their tools. Microsoft has already made significant steps to change their reputation by introducing vendor compatibility in their cloud offering.

Compatibility is important to cloud consumers because different levels of cloud technology can be deployed and implemented at different times for different purposes. If an organization implements one vendor’s technology for platform-as-a-service (PaaS), they may be limited to that same vendor for IaaS.

Introducing bare metal cloud is Oracle’s effort to remain competitive in the IaaS market and offer something that AWS does not. While this may not replace AWS or draw customers to Oracle from AWS, it gives organizations another choice on how to store and access their data.  

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