Oracle clears place for itself in cloud computing

Add HPC, Java, APIs to cloud and make it private for security

Late last week Oracle introduced the newest version of its cloud service, which it had previously said would compete directly with platform- and infrastructure-as-a-service platforms like Microsoft Azure and Amazon's EC2.

Oracle jumped on the cloud bandwagon early this year with a software stack designed for internal or "private" clouds running Oracle applications and middleware, that could plug into public clouds when they needed extra capacity. It also made Oracle software a service available on Amazon.

It has also released an API designed to make Oracle apps more usable in cloud environments.

One difference from other clouds -- Oracle's version included the option to avoid VMware, Microsoft or other virtual-server software in favor of Java's own virtual machine, in some cases.

Last week it announced another difference -- a SPARC Solaris-based cloud platform called the Exalogic Elastic Cloud T3-1, which is designed to offer high-performing hardware to make it easier for customers to further consolidate already-dense enterprise data centers and a computing environment designed to run Oracle databases and applications, as well as Java VMs, at very high performance levels.

Oracle launched a whole new line of updated SPARC Enterprise servers at the same time, including 16-core processors, "system on a chip" designs that embed security , networking and high I/O embedded in the silicon and extremely high performance benchmarks.

Nearly half of Oracle customers are already running or testing some version of private cloud, but only 11 percent have one in a front-line production role, according to a poll of International Oracle User Group members in August. Another 47 percent have no cloud plans at all.

Almost one in five respondents said IT charges business units for IT based on their level of use. The majority of all respondents said that private cloud deployments end up putting more cost on IT rather than the business units, however, which may hold up cloud rollouts for Oracle customers more than for Oracle reps might hope.

Kevin Fogarty writes about enterprise IT for ITworld. Follow him on Twitter @KevinFogarty.

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