Microsoft announced that customer adoption for Oracle software on Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform is strong and continues to grow.
The devices and services giant made the announcement at Oracle OpenWorld 2014, the venue where a year ago Microsoft and Oracle announced a partnership to run Oracle software on Microsoft Azure so that Oracle customers could run their enterprise applications in a globally available cloud platform.
Today at Oracle OpenWorld, IFS, an Oracle partner and Microsoft customer that provides global enterprise applications, announced the availability of its IFS Applications suite on Microsoft Azure. The new offering reduces the need for hardware infrastructure to provide customers with a cost effective, rapid and secure way to benefit from IFS Applications.
“The technology base for us is we sit on top of an Oracle database and primarily an Oracle middleware stack,” Mark Boulton, chief marketing officer at IFS, told eWEEK. “You could use Red Hat JBoss or you could use IBM software, but we include the Oracle middleware stack as standard with our software.”
In addition to avoiding many of the high upfront costs normally associated with on-premise solutions, the cloud-based offer from IFS enables customers to easily increase the breadth of their deployment as well as scale the number of user-seats in line with business growth. IFS officials said the Azure cloud environment also delivers data protection and business continuity features that a typical on-premises installation would not include.
Last year’s Oracle/Microsoft cloud agreement “was really exciting for us because we’ve been very close to Oracle and they’d been banging on our door for a long time asking us to look at the Oracle cloud platform,” Boulton said. “But for a lot of reasons we’ve struggled to make that work–mainly commercially, I think technically we could make it work. From a commercial point of view, I think Oracle was a bit slow to shape out their offering fully and get the commercial side of it together. What was really exciting about the Microsoft announcement from last year was that they had done all that hard work for us. They negotiated the license agreements with Oracle–all the stuff about being licensed to the virtual environment and not the physical environment. That made it so easy for us to take our offering onto the Azure platform–all we needed to do was do the technical vetting for the solution and bring it to market.”
The full suite of IFS Applications, including all enterprise resource planning (ERP), enterprise asset management (EAM) and enterprise service management (ESM) modules, can run on Azure. Customers wanting to use IFS Applications in the cloud can leverage Azure either as an Infrastructure as a Service (Iaas) and self-manage their IFS Applications, or to have their IFS Applications hosted and managed as a service (SaaS). The IaaS offering is available now and the SaaS offering, including both technical and application managed services, will be rolled out over the next six months.
“Collectively our customers are currently running Oracle solutions on Azure for millions of hours per month,” said Mike Schutz, general manager of cloud platform marketing at Microsoft in a post on the Microsoft Azure Blog.
Microsoft Touts Uptake of Oracle Software on the Azure Cloud
Indeed, Schutz noted that the IFS announcement is just one of the many examples of customers benefiting from the Oracle/Microsoft collaboration. “We’re also making it really easy for customers to take advantage of this with flexible licensing options: you can bring your own license or spin up a virtual machine that has the license for Oracle Database or WebLogic included. Solutions like this are helping to fuel the rapid adoption of Microsoft Azure and globally we are adding about 8,000 new customers per week,” he said.
“Using Microsoft’s platform to develop our cloud offering was a natural fit because Azure is best aligned with our customers’ needs,” Boulton said in a statement. “Our customers want a trusted cloud platform that enables them to quickly set up and benefit from IFS Applications in line with their business needs. IFS is synonymous with agility, so empowering customers with the power to quickly deploy new capabilities, or extend the usage of IFS Applications into new markets with ease, is very attractive.”
To validate the real-world application of the offering, IFS has been working with beta customer Ebara, a precision instruments manufacturing company.
“Ebara has made a companywide decision to put key IT systems into the cloud, so as a long-standing customer of IFS it was music to our ears to hear of this new initiative on Azure,” said Frank Lowery, director of IFS, in a statement. “We were more than impressed with the ease and speed of creating our first IFS working environment on Azure, which is a cloud environment the company is comfortable with having recently moved to Office 365.”
Dan Matthews, CTO at IFS, added, “There is very little work involved in running IFS Applications on Azure as the performance has proven to be equal to deploying our software on-premises.”
Moreover, there are additional benefits. “You have to look at the benefits of Azure itself over other cloud environments,” Boulton told eWEEK. “Eighty percent of our customer base runs on Windows. For them, they’ve already got the skills, they’ve already got the management tools in place; we couldn’t make it easier for them. If they wanted to run a hybrid environment with their on-prem with their cloud environment we’re completely happy with that.”
In addition, “We don’t have to worry about the physical environment, we can just license to the virtual environment. It’s a bring-your-own-license type of relationship,” Boulton said. “So if somebody’s already got an on-prem solution running IFS sitting on top of Oracle they can just move that to Azure. It doesn’t matter about the physical environment, we just take the virtual environment they want to spin up and they’re good to go. Their license is fully transferable. I think, really, only the muscle of Microsoft have secured that deal with Oracle. It was what we needed to happen and it was a very slow conversation for us.”