I recently attended the annual OpenWorld conference in San Francisco. As usual there were lots of announcements for new products, new versions of products and — since the SUN acquisition — new chipsets and other hardware releases. But perhaps the biggest of all of those announcements was the one concerning cloud. The announcement was just this: The Release of Oracle Public Cloud. What, you ask? ORACLE is now in the cloud business? Isn’t that just another hardware vendor (like HP, IBM and Dell) announcing they have a cloud to compete with Google, Amazon and the like? Not really. In fact, there are a couple of significant differences. Here is why this is really important to us in the public sector. This cloud runs both SPARC and x86 workloads. This is something that not many other cloud providers can claim. While ORACLE was a little short on details, we do know this much:
You will be able to run all of your existing Fusion applications, including CRM and HCM, whether they be SPARC or x86 based workloads.
What this means for us in the public sector, who still run a lot of SPARC workloads, is that there is an alternative to the VMWare mantra which for the last few years has been telling you to convert those workloads to X86 Linux and virtualize them. Now you have a choice. Which path is right for you? Well, that depends on a lot of things. A complete discussion is certainly beyond the scope of a blog entry, so I’ll suffice to say that the important point here is that you now have a choice. The ORACLE offering even comes with a secure collaboration tool for secure social networking.
The other big piece of this puzzle is that you can develop java apps with ORACLE DB’s in this environment. And yes, you can do so on either SPARC or x86. Now we have a true Platform as a Service (PaaS) development environment in a public cloud not just for x86, which you can get from Amazon Web Services or others, but for the SPARC Solaris platform that many of us have used and loved for years.
While admittedly this announcement was a little short on details, as they sometimes are when you make many of your big announcements at your annual convention, the overview which can be found at http://cloud.oracle.com looks promising. All I can say is stay tuned. A serious alternative to the VMware convert-to-Linux-and-virtualize story looks like it might just be unfolding before our very eyes. Maybe Oracle did indeed add some SPARC to the cloud.