Insights from Oracle Open World 2014

Oracle Open World is today one of the world’s largest, most significant events for anyone interested in technology solutions: to accelerate business growth, optimize cost, stay ahead of the competition – or all of these. The 2014 edition provided unparalleled opportunities under one roof: major announcements, product launches, cutting-edge trends, networking prospects. In short, the best tech platform to see and be seen, hear and be heard. The event attracted 60,000-odd visitors, with 7 million more following online. As one of Oracle’s most-favoured Platinum partners, Zensar staged a strong presence.

In an unexpected turn of events leading up to the event, Larry Ellison announced his resignation as CEO on 18th September, ending one of the most profitable runs for a business leader in a 35-year history since he founded Oracle in 1977. This paved the way for Safra Katz and Mark Hurd to be named joint CEOs, the former an M&A strategist and the latter a Sales Guru.

These developments, coupled with opportunities to redefine and reinvent business via the adoption of SMAC (social, mobility, analytics and cloud), fuelled heightened expectations from the event. Some participants were apprehensive, others optimistic.

Oracle Open World 2014 revolved around three broad themes – Cloud, Cloud, and more Cloud! SaaS, PaaS, IaaS, and their growing convergence as engineered systems and appliances, were the focus.

Emergence and Evolution of Cloud

The transition to Cloud helps a business on multiple counts: greater agility, lower costs, plus the scalability and flexibility to customise technological capability to need. For a workforce on the move, it boosts resource productivity and process efficiencies through real-time alerts. The first wave of Cloud adoption was driven, predictably, by start-ups, low entry costs and back-office/non-revenue functions of large organizations.

The second wave of Cloud adoption will be fuelled by organizations looking to reinvent their businesses and create new revenue streams using a potent mix of SaaS, PaaS and IaaS.

The SaaS market is evolving with the growing convergence of transactional systems, traditional data warehousing and business intelligence providing answers to known questions using structured data. Simultaneously, Big Data discovery is providing insights into new questions using unstructured data and integrated analytics platforms leveraging all known internal and external data sources.

PaaS adopters are looking for standard all-in-one platforms combining mobile, social, analytics capabilities to extend existing SaaS applications and build new applications without large outlays on maintaining complex heterogeneous application environments and pools of specific resources/skills.

IaaS has evolved into a commoditized market with vendors like MicroSoft, Amazon and Oracle competing on cost to provide computing, storage, higher availability, back-up and recovery services. There is growing need for innovation in this space to provide value-added services.

In the context of enhanced market expectations, how does one interpret the key announcements made during Oracle Open World?

Major Announcements included:

SaaS

  • Data as a Service (DaaS) with Bluekai acquisition
  • Enterprise Performance Management as PBCS (Planning and Budgeting Cloud Service)
  • Business Intelligence Cloud Service(BICS)
  • Oracle Cloud Application Release 9
  • Oracle Analytics Cloud Services
  • Oracle Insurance Revenue Management and Billing Cloud Service
  • Oracle Financial Services Revenue Management and Billing Cloud Service

PaaS

  • Expansion of the Oracle Cloud platform to include new functionality for big data analytics, integration, process management, Java Platform, Standard Edition (Java SE), and Node.js for server-side JavaScript
  • Extended Oracle Cloud to provide a standard platform to extend SaaS applications or enable migration of on-premise applications to the Cloud
  • Database 12c to provide true multi-tenancy with provisions for schema and instance as ‘a service’

IaaS

  • The Oracle Exalytics In-Memory Machine X4-4 to deliver analytics for business intelligence and enterprise performance management applications
  • Oracle’s Zero Data Loss Recovery Appliance, the world’s first and only engineered system designed specifically for Oracle Database protection, to deliver data protection, efficiency, and scalability.The Recovery Appliance will reduce the impact of backups on production servers and networks, virtually eliminating the need for lengthy backup windows

In addition, Oracle also launched the Big Data Discovery incorporating Big Data and traditional Data warehousing/BI architecture conversion to offer an integrated platform for performing complex event processing cycles (data capture, data transfer, data discovery, analysis, actionable insight and action) leveraging a combination of ETL, Endeca for information discovery, in-built adapters for statistical analysis using R and Big Data analysis using Hadoop clusters.

Market and Competition

In summary, Oracle has emerged as the most comprehensive end-to-end service provider for Cloud to support enterprise and mid-market segments through its dual strategy to aggresively v build and buy best of breed competing products. Having put all its bets on the Cloud, Oracle seems well positioned to capture the structural shift in the marketplace across all three segments of SaaS, PaaS and IaaS.

Oracle is also the only player offering converged solutions across the Cloud as a unique differentiated value proposition against other providers betting on an ecosystem for integrated services across these layers.

Time will decide who will emerge the winner but for now the stage is set for fierce competition between the “One size fits all” and “Best of Breed” strategies among Cloud service-providers.

Author: Srinivas Rao Polsani

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