Look out, the big hitter wants to play

Oracle set to enter the PaaS arms race?

Chris Mayer

Speculation mounts that Oracle are set become a big player in the PaaS field. But can their option challenge those already competing?

Seeking to put courtroom matters behind them, Oracle look set to
announce their cloud strategy going forward next week – with many
speculating that they could be about to dip their toe into the
Platform-as-a-Service field.

Next Wednesday’s webcast
event, featuring CEO Larry Ellison and
President Mark Hurd, will detail ‘new developments in
Oracle’s cloud strategy and game-changing advances in Oracle
Support. ‘Game-changing’ would suggest something big (even though
Oracle and others have a tendency to be bombastic about the
littlest change) and without wild speculation, a PaaS push makes
perfect sense from many angles.

Not only is it a surefire way to quell some of the bad PR
gained from the Android trial, but it’s about time Oracle really
made a splash in such a hot market at the moment. The tech giant
has of course long been top of the tree in the SaaS market, neck
and neck with SAP.

Having announced back at October’s OpenWorld the arrival
of Public Cloud, it’ll be interested to see the overlap between the
SaaS choice with a new PaaS option. Public Cloud
comprises a complete suite of more than 100 modules
based on its Fusion Applications encompassing components for
financial management, human capital management and supply chain
management. The HCM Fusion component has already been offered in a
preview format, so it’s entirely possible that Ellison and Hurd
could set that, and other PaaS components free under a completely
new PaaS banner.

In all likelihood, the already-available Java
Cloud Service
will be the fulcrum of the offering, with
Database Cloud Service providing the backbone. Java
Cloud Service already allows Java EE developers to create
standard-approved applications, plus the ability to link up to
third-party frameworks like Spring.

But many might say Oracle have missed the boat here.
With Red Hat’s OpenShift enjoying great publicity and uptake,
VMware’s in-beta innovative Cloud Foundry gaining community ground
and and CloudBees rethinking the format, it might well be too late
for Oracle. Not so, if they get it right.

They’ve bided their time over it, waiting to see how
the PaaS path has been laid before working out where they will fit
in. Oracle has an established customer-base (there’s no denying
that) and most would have been reluctant to dip into other
offerings when they’ve been loyal to them previously. Whether
there’s scope to target newer people outside of deeply corporate
backgrounds remains to be seen. You’d assume that vendor lock-in
might play a factor too and Oracle would be wise to make big noises
about their security and management tools. In fact, Oracle
might even swallow up some of the smaller PaaS options out there to
gain traction; it wouldn’t be entirely surprising to see which
Oracle has circled in red pen as possible

Each PaaS offering should rightly hone down onto one
key skill which is different from the competition. Oracle should be
tackling those completely new to the area, allowing them to bed in
with a fairly comprehensible offering. Crucially it should be free
from advanced open source tools, which is where other options

But we’re slightly sceptical of how Oracle can make
those ‘game-changing’ advances, instead of becoming yet another
juggernaut vying for your attention. 
Looks like
we’ll have to wait until Wednesday to find out what is in store.
Check back next Thursday for the big reveal.

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