Is Oracle’s partnership with Microsoft Cloud a good match?

Oracle Microsoft Partnership

This month, Microsoft and Oracle announced a new partnership that will see the two companies directly connecting their clouds over a direct network connection.

According to Oracle’s marketing team – this should mean that their users can move workloads and data seamlessly between the two companies, as well as improve the ease of setting up security credentials as the partnership also includes identity interoperability.

For now, the direct interconnect between the two clouds is limited to Azure US East and Oracle’s Ashburn data center. The two companies plan to expand this alliance to other regions in the future, though they remain mum on the details. It’ll support applications like JD Edwards EnterpriseOne, E-Business Suite, PeopleSoft, Oracle Retail and Hyperion on Azure, in combination with Oracle databases like RAC, Exadata and the Oracle Autonomous Database running in the Oracle Cloud.

TechCrunch – Microsoft and Oracle link up their clouds

But is this a massive step forwards for Oracle users, or just more marketing noise for the Cloud?

What does the Oracle and Microsoft partnership mean for you?

Taken directly from Oracle’s press release, they say that as a result of this expanded partnership, the companies are making available a ‘new’ set of capabilities:

“Connect Azure and Oracle Cloud seamlessly, allowing customers to extend their on-premises datacentres to both clouds. This direct interconnect is available starting today in Ashburn (North America) and Azure US East, with plans to expand additional regions in the future.”

So the partnership currently consists of one datacentre in the US and no timetable for the rest of the world – good to see how these international organisations are thinking about the big picture…

Not only that, but we really don’t see any benefit in that customers “can then move workloads and data seamlessly between the two clouds”. They might want to if a) the first Cloud didn’t have capacity (should never happen), b) for Disaster Recovery (but the first Cloud provider again should have multiple sites), or c) for geographical reasons (they want their data closer to their region), but again the first provider should have this already.

So what is the benefit here?

“Unified identity and access management, via a unified single sign-on experience and automated user provisioning, to manage resources across Azure and Oracle Cloud. Also available in early preview today, Oracle applications can use Azure Active Directory as the identity provider and for conditional access.”

We agree that this is a win for the customer, Oracle Cloud’s identity interoperability has always been poor, meaning customers had to configure each system individually to whatever identity provider they were using, or having to manually manage it.

This means that you can use Azure AD as the identity provider as that’ll make sign-on much easier to manage all round rather than having to work out connectivity between the two systems.

But that does depend on you already having BOTH Oracle and Microsoft Cloud environments. How many organisations are in this camp?

“Supported deployment of custom applications and packaged Oracle applications (JD Edwards EnterpriseOne, E-Business Suite, PeopleSoft, Oracle Retail, Hyperion) on Azure with Oracle databases (RAC, Exadata, Autonomous Database) deployed in Oracle Cloud. The same Oracle applications will also be certified to run on Azure with Oracle databases in Oracle Cloud.”

Like the above, this is only relevant for customers who are already using BOTH Oracle and Microsoft Cloud environments already. Our experience in the industry is that the majority of organisations choose their providers strategically and invest in that area only – the number of organisations utilising multiple cloud providers is small.

That said, if you are using both providers, this enables you to use some of Microsoft’s better features to enhance your Oracle software. For example, using the Azure analytics engine and integrating that into the Oracle Cloud to boost its functionality.

“A collaborative support model to help IT organizations deploy these new capabilities while enabling them to leverage existing customer support relationships and processes.”

Maybe Oracle are trying to learn how to provide support from Microsoft? Either way, we are not convinced by this promise – any collaborative support will still come at a high price from Oracle and will still have the same flaws (DIY guides, lack of SLAs, and a lack of reporting).

“Oracle Database will continue to be certified to run in Azure on various operating systems, including Windows Server and Oracle Linux.”

Nothing ‘new’ here, just a statement that the two systems will continue to work together. Why bother to mention it unless that connection was at risk?

Was this enough of a reason for Oracle and Microsoft to partner?

We’re not convinced on the Oracle and Microsoft partnership – the benefits seem minimal and only applicable to a small number of organisations, so why bother?

It could be argued that it makes both companies more competitive.

Firstly, it gives Microsoft something to compete with Redshift on (Amazon’s fully managed cloud-based data warehouse) – as Amazon offers easy ports to Redshift from Oracle and Microsoft didn’t really have much in that area until now. It also fits with a wider trend at Microsoft, which has recently started building a number of alliances with other large enterprise players, including its open data alliance with SAP.

Meanwhile, Oracle has been struggling to gain ground in the Cloud market and this could be seen as an attempt to ‘buddy-up’ with a major player against Amazon, who have been critical of Oracle in recent years and have recently announced they have ditched their Oracle systems.

The other thing is this does allow Oracle to make some money off the Pentagon’s $10bn JEDI contract for Cloud Services as this was narrowed down to Microsoft and Amazon in April. This bolsters Microsoft’s bid over Amazon (which is a win from Oracle’s point of view!) and potentially lets them get licensing money from this deal. This also helps to make sense of the limited US location for the initial rollout as it’s their primary focus.

Still working out what to do with the Cloud?

Does this announcement alter your Cloud plans? Probably not, but many organisations are still not convinced on what their strategy is for the Cloud. Contact us today to talk to our experts who can guide you on our approach to Cloud ERP, and how you can save money using third-party support.