Jumping onboard

Is Oracle PaaS investment polyglot proof?

At this year’s OracleWorld, Larry Ellison continued to bang the cloud drum, having previously U-turned in June with the launch of Oracle Cloud. Today, his company’s young PaaS offerings have been bolstered by a team-up with specialist PaaS providers Engine Yard.

Perhaps realising that the PaaS industry requires support for more than just Java and Oracle Database, Oracle has made an undisclosed “strategic minority investment” in Engine Yard, who initially catered exclusively to Ruby on Rails customers, but has since expanded its offerings to JRuby, PHP and, more recently, node.js.

Engine Yard will be maintaining its independence for now, and indeed with a reported revenue of $28 million last year is in a good position to resist acquisition offers.

The press release doesn’t provide any explicit details, other than that the companies “expect to work closely together” and will “connect their respective PaaS”, but what seems most likely is that they will provide support for each others’ languages. Of course, it’s not only useful for Oracle, but also for Engine Yard, who will (presumably) gain support for the #1 server-side language in the world.

This news is another reminder that we are living in an increasingly polyglot world where PaaS providers need to provide as much choice as possible. When specialists like Jelastic, who cut their teeth providing support for Java alone, are beginning to expand to into other languages like PHP, companies hoping to dominate the space need to provide a full set of options.

Today’s announcement is likely to be a good start, but it’s still far from the full stack: while node.js is a fashionable choice, Python and .NET will still be missing. To compete with existing giants AWS - as well as other growing startups - in the cloud space, Oracle will need more than brand recognition.

Photo by Dave Conner.

Elliot Bentley

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