Oracle set to build out cloud service capabilities, rivalry with Salesforce.com

However, general-availability dates for the new offerings were scarce

By , IDG News Service |  Software

Kurian did say that within a week or so, customers interested in the PaaS' database and Java services could sign up for a free 30-day trial, signaling that those previously announced components have reached a certain level of stability.

Apart from sheer breadth, Kurian stressed the Oracle cloud's capabilities for security and system control. For one, customers' data is kept in isolation from others, he said. "Every [customer] has a private schema, a private tablespace, so your data is not commingled with others."

Oracle's cloud also includes a central identity management system and a console based on Oracle's Enterprise Manager for "complete self-service," he said.

Kurian and another Oracle employee demonstrated how a system administrator could probe through and drill down into a graphical rendering of the Oracle cloud's topology, examining not only application performance and hardware metrics, but also business processes, such as how many marketing campaigns had been launched from a CRM (customer-relationship-management) application within the past day.

Ellison is expected to discuss the Oracle cloud's built-in social networking technology during a keynote later Tuesday, but Kurian also touched upon the topic briefly.

"If you've got happy customers, they spread the word about your products and services, and likewise if you've got unhappy customers," and social media allows this to happen at much greater scale than in the past, he said.

Oracle's social tools will allow users to engage with customers on social sites, analyze social data for business-related insights, and collaborate more effectively with fellow employees, he said.

This strategy, once again, shares many similarities with Salesforce.com's, underscoring a rivalry that has resulted in both companies making a series of similar acquisitions to boost their social software arsenals.

But Kurian took a different tack than Salesforce.com when discussing the Oracle SaaS (software-as-a-service) applications available through its cloud.

"We don't want our customers to have fragmented data and fragmented business processes because your ERP happens to be in one cloud, your HCM happens to be in another cloud," he said.

That may have been a subtle dig at Salesforce.com, which has ventured into some application areas outside of CRM but mostly seems to be building out a best-of-breed ERP (enterprise-resource-planning) suite via partnerships and integrations with the likes of Workday.

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