With the announcement on June 22nd of Larry Ellison around Oracle SaaS, PaaS and IaaS we are left with the question, where are we now in Oracle PaaS and what can we expect the coming year(s)?
Oracle is moving at a rapid pace from an ‘on-premise’ software/hardware provider to everything-contained-in-the-cloud; and is now embracing the Cloud. There is some humor in it since not so long ago back in 2009, Larry was still bashing the cloud, as being water vapor. “All it is, is a computer attached to a network…”. Up until 2013, the large yearly conference, Oracle Open World was dominated with Larry’s hobby, covering Oracle hardware EXA machines, and making them run faster with every release. But last year we began to see the first outlines of what Oracle really planned to do in the cloud. And, as always, if Oracle has set their mind on something, every means available are set in place to reach that goal. In my direct contacts with the Process Cloud team, 70% of that specific team was dedicated to put BPM in the cloud.
All middleware and database related software, that we are accustomed to run ‘on-premise’ at our customers, will now be made available in the cloud. This, of course, is not an overnight job. The first releases of the PaaS Cloud will contain base functionality, as Larry phrased it ‘I’m not saying we have no things to be improved. The beauty of the Cloud is that, since Oracle is responsible for the environments, releases with new / improved functionality will be made available at a faster pace. One outstanding feature compared to the on-premise software is the simplicity of using the product. The product development team has moved a lot of complexity to the background, enabling speed for development and deployment. Another advantage for partners and customers is that flaws in the software are now also obvious to Oracle themselves in a much faster manner than we were used to with the on-premise stack. So apart from the movement towards the cloud, Oracle is now also dedicating their time to improving quality of the software. A bad reputation in cloud execution is gained easily, as Microsoft painfully experienced last year (Microsoft Azure had more downtime in 2014 than main cloud rivals). That is why Oracle is moving to the cloud fast, but at a very careful pace.
The Process Cloud, for instance, is only available in controlled availability on cloud.oracle.com. Other PaaS products are mentioned as ‘coming soon’ and a limited group of customers/partners are testing it to ensure the product quality. This leads to the impression that the race is yet to start, and Oracle is positioning its racecar at pole position. We can see the potential but it is still not available for full usage. As we all know, Oracle has a humongous stack of products available, and has a complex and opaque way of packaging and selling their products. Let’s hope that the cloud products are packaged, (and sold) in a clearer way. First impression on the Oracle PaaS landing page is that, again, we end up with a huge list of different products. It would make choice for the customer so much easier if these were bundled together in understandable chunks, such as combining Process and Document cloud into a Process Cloud package and combining Integration, SOA, Messaging and IoT into an Integration Cloud package. Discussions about the pricing are also happening; the current proposed license structure is user based and linear. Since most competitors are using different pricing models, such as usage based, most likely in the near future Oracle will end up embracing these pricing models too.
It going to be an interesting year, with a lot of changes and new functionality being pushed into the Oracle PaaS cloud.
We’re off in the Cloud race with Oracle PaaS!