Oracle Expands Cloud PaaS Offerings in Quest for Renewed Growth

Oracle introduces new platform-as-a-service offerings as it seeks to complete a decade-long transformation from a database and enterprise software company to become a fully integrated cloud services company.

Oracle PaaS

Oracle wants to be the undisputed leader in the platform-as-a-service business, and to start work on that goal the database and enterprise application giant is offering a set of 24 cloud service packages in six IT categories: mobile, application development, business analytics, data management, content and collaboration, and data integration.

In introducing these packages, Oracle has set its sights on Amazon as the key competitor in this field even as it downplayed the competitive challenge posed by Amazon Web Services as mainly an infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) player, through its Elastic Cloud Compute, Simple Storage Services and the Amazon Glacier Storage services.

Instead, Oracle Executive Chairman of the Board Larry Ellison said his company will focus on delivering what he described as an integrated suite of PaaS packages aimed at making it as easy as possible for enterprises to move their data and applications to the Oracle Cloud Platform.

But Ellison said Oracle will also undercut cloud storage and compute service prices of Amazon and other competitors "Our new Archive Storage service goes head-to-head with Amazon Glacier and it's one-tenth their price," he said.

In introducing the expanded service offerings, Ellison said that 19 of the 20 top software-as-a-service (SaaS) providers built their offering on Oracle Cloud Platform.

Ellison said his company will provide customers with "not just Oracle technology, but all the necessary technology to move all of your data into the Oracle Cloud." Furthermore, Oracle will enable customers to move their data to the cloud virtually with the "press of a button." But Oracle will also make it just as easy for customers to move their data back to on-premises systems in hybrid cloud computing schemes, he said.

While Oracle is clearly moving aggressively to build out its enterprise cloud services, it remains to be seen how quickly the company will be able to win market share from Amazon, said Terri McClure, senior analyst with IT market research firm Enterprise Strategy Group.

"They are clearly targeting Amazon, and Amazon has built up with its customers a lot of strategic relationships," she said. But it might not be easy to win converts from Amazon's established customers because "it is tough to compete at the commodity level pricing that Larry says they will," she said.

The new cloud service packages Oracle introduced on June 22 include Database Cloud–Exadata, Archive Storage Cloud, Big Data Cloud, Big Data SQL Cloud, Integration Cloud, Mobile Cloud and Oracle Process Cloud.

These join currently available services such as Database Cloud, Java Cloud, Documents Cloud, Business Intelligence Cloud and the Database Backup Service.

These services will allow Oracle to do for PaaS what it had established over the past decade with is SaaS suites, Ellison said. These include its Customer Experience, Human Resources, Enterprise Research Planning, Enterprise Process Management, Supply Chain Management, Applications and Analytics cloud suites.

The introduction of these news PaaS services comes days after Oracle announced disappointing earnings for the 2015 fourth quarter. Profits fell to $2.78 billion from $3.6 billion for the same quarter a year ago, while quarterly revenue totaled $10.7 billion. Both earnings and revenue missed market analysts' predictions.

As Ellison himself noted, "The world has changed." Companies are not buying on-premises enterprise applications and computing hardware as they used to. Oracle is recognizing that it needs to aggressively move into cloud computing services to revitalize revenue and profit growth.

But he also contends that PaaS and IaaS have changed the competitive landscape that Oracle plays in. He noted that "in the old days" of the past decade, Oracle mainly competed for business in the applications space with SAP and in the cloud space with IBM. Now, Oracle rarely fights head to head with these two companies for sales. "In the cloud we don't see either company," he said.

Oracle's primary competitors, he said, are now and Workday, which are now highly specialized applications competitors. The only one of Oracle's old competitors from the software market that now competes in the cloud is Microsoft, he said. But now the "brand new competitor in IaaS is," Ellison added. "They are not a bookstore only anymore."

Among the new PaaS components is the Mobile Cloud Service, which will allow enterprises to rapidly build and deploy mobile applications that run on Oracle's cloud back end. This simplifies and reduces the cost of mobile app development because developers can focus on their application features, while mobile app integration, mobile APIs and security are provided on Oracle's cloud back end.

John Pallatto

John Pallatto

John Pallatto has been editor in chief of QuinStreet Inc.'s since October 2012. He has more than 40 years of experience as a professional journalist working at a daily newspaper and...