Hammering home his contention that customers like to have choices, Larry Ellison summed up the revolutionary Azure-Oracle multi-cloud agreement by saying it offers “everything Oracle has and everything Microsoft has.”
While that “everything” term stretches the facts a bit, the point being made by Oracle’s founder and chairman is 100% true in terms of Oracle’s various databases and Microsoft’s related analytics and AI services. On that front, it is indeed a massive breakthrough that offers great new capabilities and flexibility for customers and will challenge other cloud vendors to dramatically boost their levels of multi-cloud capabilities. (I offer a high-level analysis of this emergent trend in a Cloud Wars Minute episode from last week called Oracle and Microsoft Collaborate to Create Multi-Cloud Magic).
Ellison made the comments in a YouTube video released by Oracle last week in tandem with a separate but related video conversation between Ellison and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella about the customer benefits of their multi-cloud breakthrough. I’ve explored the sweeping implications of the Ellison-Nadella conversation in How Satya Nadella and Larry Ellison Are Defining Multi-Cloud’s Future, with the main one being that this breakthrough move by Oracle and Microsoft will soon become the norm rather than being an outlier.
In the Ellison-only video, the Oracle chairman and CTO departs from his typical focus on new products and technology and instead describes how, from the perspective of customers, the new Oracle-Azure multi-cloud will:
- Give customers more choices about what to use and when/how to use it.
- Simplify the interplay between Oracle Autonomous Database and Microsoft analytics and AI services.
- Accelerate the deployment of those blended capabilities.
- Reduce much of the gruntwork otherwise associated with getting separate clouds to work together.
“I think Oracle and Microsoft are excited about this whole concept of multi-cloud,” Ellison says in his opening line.
“That is, interconnecting both Microsoft Azure and Oracle OCI — Oracle Cloud — so that a user can log on to Microsoft Azure, and not only get access to all of the services you’d expect at Microsoft Azure, but now you can get access to Oracle services as well and use them in combination.
“So let’s say you have an existing Oracle application that you want to move to the cloud. You can move part of that — let’s say the database can be moved to the Oracle Cloud and the application itself and the analytics can be moved to Azure, or maybe they’re already in Azure, and it looks like one cloud,” Ellison explains.
“The whole idea of multi-cloud is to take the services of Oracle and the services of Microsoft Azure and make it appear to the user that they’re all in one cloud. And in this case, the way we’ve done the first implementation is you log onto Microsoft Azure as you normally would. And you see not only Microsoft services, but you also see Oracle services.”
This is a huge step forward from the original “cloud interconnect” service the two companies announced two years ago. Ellison gave a great example of how the new Oracle-Azure multi-cloud is superior to what that initial collaboration allowed.
Referring to the project from two years ago, Ellison said, “We did interconnect the clouds, and not only that, but we located the clouds very close together so the performance would be great, the bandwidth would be great, there’d be very low latency. It was as if the two separate cloud data centers were really one cloud data center, and they almost were — they were right next to each other. So you could interconnect the Oracle services to the Microsoft services,” he said.
“However, it took some effort on the part of the programmer. The user interface was quite different. When you used an Oracle Service, you knew you were in OCI, and when you used an Azure service, you knew you were in Azure, and you had to lace them together.”
But all of that, Ellison said, has changed with the dramatically different multi-cloud service.
“Now, we create the illusion that there’s just one cloud. You log on to Azure and suddenly in Azure you see — well, my favorite example is the Oracle Autonomous Database.”
“It looks like the Oracle Autonomous Database in all of its glory is running in Azure. And all the other versions of the Oracle Database are running in Azure. And you stay in the Azure console, and you can take that Oracle Autonomous Database and run Power BI against it for analytics, you could run Excel against it.”
Yes, you heard that right: Larry Ellison is explaining — quite happily and enthusiastically! — how the product that he has called one of the two most important products in Oracle’s history can run in the Microsoft Cloud. Not only that, but the Oracle Autonomous Database “in all its glory” appears to the user to be an Azure service!
Hey — has anybody seen the latest weather report from Hell? Makes me wonder if maybe icebergs are forming. Because the idea of the hypercompetitive Ellison allowing his pride and joy Autonomous Database to run anywhere outside of Oracle and only Oracle stretches the imagination….
But perhaps that’s being unfair to Ellison, who for the past 15 years has been overseeing a complete overhaul of Oracle’s entire massive product portfolio to the cloud. More recently, the company has, in parallel, radically changed its sales and go-to-market processes to align with the cloud model and mindset, and so perhaps I should not be surprised to see that the ultimate nonconformist Ellison is zigging when expected to zag.
As I mentioned above about the Ellison-Nadella conversation, customer issues dominated Ellison’s solo video as well. Here he explains that the massive overlap among Microsoft customers and Oracle customers made the multi-cloud initiative almost a no-brainer.
“Well, virtually every Microsoft customer is an Oracle customer. And every Oracle customer — not virtually! — is a Microsoft customer. So if they want to migrate to the cloud, they have Oracle software in their data center, they have Microsoft software in their data center.
“Now, with the Azure Oracle multi-cloud, they can literally lift and shift all of that — all of those services that are running in their data center. They can move all of those to the Azure Oracle multi-cloud because it has everything Oracle has and it has everything Microsoft has,” Ellison said.
In his closing comment, Ellison came back again to the issue of giving customers lots of choices — and he even harkened back to the on-premises world as an example of how customers almost always deployed products and services from multiple vendors because it gave them more flexibility and more opportunities to run the best solution for a given process or function.
“Customers are very excited about this because customers like choices, and you can see that in their own data centers,” he said.
“Back in the day when they bought everything on-premise, they didn’t buy everything from Microsoft or everything from Oracle or everything from anybody. They had multiple suppliers of computer software. So the logical translation, the logical migration from multiple suppliers of computer software is multiple suppliers of cloud services.
“But you’ve got to make that a very graceful coexistence between Oracle services and Azure services. And that’s what we’ve done. That’s the work we put in.”
“Again, you log into the Azure console, and all your Azure security applies. The system suddenly has not just, again, all the Microsoft services — it has all the Microsoft services and it has all the Oracle services and you get a bigger choice. You get a broader choice. You get to decide what you want to use for analytics, what you want to use for database, what you want to use for the mid-tier, and what you want to use for persistent data storage,” Ellison said.
“Now it’s easy to migrate from on-premise to the cloud. It’s easy to pick the best persistent data store with the best analytic tool and use them together regardless of who the supplier is. Customers like that.”
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