Oracle and Microsoft Partner in the Cloud (and the Sky Hasn’t Fallen)

These days, when the compromise-hating politicians with extremist ideologies in the US Congress are again threatening to bring the US economy (and perhaps that of the entire world) to the brink of credit default, maybe even a financial systems meltdown, it is astounding to see fierce IT archrivals finding common ground. Indeed, at the recent Oracle OpenWorld 2013 conference, it was refreshing to see IBM, Microsoft, Red Hat, SAP, Amazon, NetSuite, and others showcasing their wares not only on the expo floor but also on stage with Oracle executives.

Perhaps the biggest teaching moment was when Oracle and Microsoft announced a public preview of pre-configured Oracle Database, Oracle WebLogic Server, and Oracle Java images running in Windows Azure Infrastructure Services. Licenses will be included with the images, and during public preview customers will only need to pay for the Windows Azure compute time (see TechNet for more information).

In June 2013, Microsoft and Oracle stunned the world by announcing a new strategic partnership to bring Oracle software to even more Windows customers. This announcement further builds on that commitment to help customers embrace cloud computing by providing greater choice and flexibility. Customers will be able to deploy Oracle software—including Java, Oracle Database, and Oracle WebLogic Server—on Windows Server Hyper-V or in Windows Azure and receive full support from Oracle. Currently, this is the only public cloud in the industry running on Windows and Linux with full support from Microsoft and Oracle.

Brad Anderson was the first Microsoft Corporate Vice President to keynote at Oracle OpenWorld on Tuesday morning. He discussed the cloud operating system (OS) vision and how Microsoft and Oracle are working together to bring the power of Oracle’s software to public and private clouds and service providers. He also showed how a mutual partner, Redknee, a global provider of real-time converged billing, charging, customer care, and payment solutions on-premises or via the cloud for communication providers, is already building innovative Oracle-based solutions on Windows Azure.

The reality is that most companies have both vendors’ IT stacks—Oracle database and middleware workloads running on Windows OS severs are very common occurrences (let's say UNIX servers are a declining market share). Oracle’s virtual machine Oracle VM offering is expensive, and Microsoft Hyper-V Server seems to be a better deal for many customers. On the other hand, Microsoft SQL Azure has been much less than a stellar cloud database offering. Customers who want enterprise scale for workloads and database in the cloud will be better served by Oracle Database.

It is refreshing to see the two powerhouses setting aside their egos for the benefit of all. Oracle should hereby get access to Microsoft development and computing capacity. On the other hand, Microsoft gets more VM exposure and better client access license (CAL) counts. Last but not least, mutual customers can only benefit from this combination if the two vendors have a true commitment (and it's just as well that the hopelessly deadlocked US Congress has nothing to do with approving this deal).
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