September 20, 2016

Oracle Announces New Infrastructure Services and Machine Learning Apps

Written by

Yesterday at Oracle OpenWorld, and in a separate press release riddled with ambiguous technology jargon, Oracle announced its next generation of cloud infrastructure: a new suite of products called Cloud@Customer, and the acquisition of cloud security firm, Palerra.

“Amazon’s going to have some serious competition going forward,” said CEO Larry Ellison as he unveiled Oracle’s public cloud offerings to the crowd at OpenWorld.

This move shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. Oracle has long been a giant in software licensing, but their licensing revenue has been decreasing, while cloud revenue has been increasing.

Consider that research firm McKinsey & Co predicts an acceleration of cloud adoption among enterprises in the next few years, and the strategy behind Oracle’s timing becomes even more apparent.

Oracle’s new slate of infrastructure services includes some powerful options and may finally help the company gain ground in the public cloud market. Oracle and Ellison have a long way to go before they catch Amazon — and Microsoft, IBM, and Google — in this vertical, but a concerted investment will certainly pay off. 

Apps That Learn

Cloud@Customer is a new suite of applications that includes everything from supply chain management to human resources, marketing, and sales — all of which have common themes: combining data from multiple sources and using machine learning to make recommendations.

Oracle describes the products as “Software-as-a-service offerings that blend third-party data with real-time analytics to create Cloud Applications that adapt and learn. Oracle Adaptive Cloud Applications leverage anonymized information from our extensive Data Cloud to optimize existing Cloud Application functionality.”

If you can wade through the forest of gratuitous proper nouns, you’ll see that second sentence underscores what makes Cloud@Customer unique. Embedding artificial intelligence into software applications has been predicted for some time, but it’s the addition of Oracle’s data that could make these applications much more useful than the competition’s.

One Acquisition to Secure Them All?

In addition to publicly threatening Amazon and introducing a host of machine learning applications, Oracle also purchased cloud security company Palerra — ostensibly to help secure all the information that’ll be moving back and forth between its new applications.

Palerra specializes in security automation, but it also supplies insight into cloud storage, user analytics, and security configuration. Palerra’s software also reportedly excels at tracking security data as it moves from application to application, rather than just when it’s at rest.

It’s unclear whether Oracle will use Palerra as an added layer of protection for its own services (like its public cloud) or whether it will market the software as a standalone product. Either way, this acquisition fits nicely into the other moves the company is making.

Only time will tell how rapidly Oracle can scale its infrastructure services and new application products, but the intent is apparent, and purchasing a company like Palerra shows Oracle is ready to supply enterprises with an added layer of security across these new offerings. Look out, Amazon . . . maybe.