Oracle® on Windows Azure™
Much has been written about cloud computing and the ways in which it is changing Microsoft’s® business model. Cloud computing offers a number of benefits for users as well as IT administrators. Whether we utilize an internal cloud residing in a company’s datacenter or external such as Microsoft®, Amazon™, or others, the reduced reliance upon locally resident software is changing the way in which we work.
The changing technology landscape is not only impacting the way individuals work, but it is also changing the way in which some companies which have traditionally been fierce competitors are now working with each other. For example, Oracle® software, including Java®, Oracle® Database, and Oracle® WebLogic® Server are now available on Microsoft®Hyper-V® and Microsoft® Azure™. This may come as a surprise after Microsoft® has spent billions of dollars trying to displace Oracle® Database with SQL Server®. SQL Server® has sold well into large and small companies, but Oracle®remains the DB of choice for most Fortune 500 corporations and is the clear leader in database market revenue.
The Microsoft®/Oracle® partnership was first announced in June, 2013. Interestingly, it took place at a joint press conference and was presented by Larry Ellison (Oracle® CEO), Steve Ballmer (then CEO at Microsoft®), and Satya Nadella, who would later replace Ballmer as Microsoft® CEO. After his appointment to CEO in February 2014, Mr. Nadella announced a “Mobile first, cloud first” strategy in which Microsoft® plans to make more of their products available on devices and operating systems in addition to Windows®. Whether working together with Oracle® was an early stage of the formal strategy is unclear, but it is clearly a departure from the Microsoft® of old.
The key elements of the partnership may be characterized as follows:
- Java®, Oracle® Database, and Oracle® WebLogic® Server are now available on Microsoft® Hyper-V® and Microsoft® Azure™
- Oracle® offers license mobility to allow Oracle® software on Azure™
- MS has added configuration images including Java®, Oracle® DB, and WebLogic® Server to the Azure™ image gallery
- MS now offers licensed and supported Java® in Azure™
- Oracle® now offers Oracle® Linux® with a variety of Oracle® software as preconfigured images on Azure™
By working with Oracle® in this manner, Windows Azure™ becomes a viable competitor with Amazon™ Web Services (AWS™) as MS and Amazon™ compete for cloud hosting dominance. Oracle® customers benefit by being able to run familiar Oracle® software on Windows Server® Hyper-V® and Windows Azure™, just as they have been doing on Windows Server®.
History has shown some contentious competition between Oracle® and Microsoft® so agreeing to work together in any capacity may come as a surprise to many, but at least in this case, it appears to benefit the customer.
Microsoft® and Salesforce®.com
Another somewhat unusual partnership was recently announced in which MS will work more closely with MS Dynamics® CRM competitor Salesforce®.com. This relationship makes sense on some levels, but is perplexing on others. Before even considering the technical or market merits of a collaboration between the two, it’s worth remembering that Salesforce®.com has traditionally touted the “No software” slogan. Even their corporate phone number is 1-800-NO-SOFTWARE. Of course Salesforce® CRM is a software product, but it’s hard to ignore the irony of their partnering with the world’s largest software company.
The joint venture makes sense in some ways, however, as one of its stated objectives is to improve the integration between Salesforce®, Office 365™, and Windows®. The companies plan to collaborate to integrate their respective platforms and offer new productivity solutions to their customers. Any successful “platform integration” will be welcomed by many enterprise customers who have grown increasingly frustrated by the challenges of integrating cloud services from multiple vendors.
The companies promise to deliver “Salesforce®1 for Windows® and Windows Phone® 8.1” which will enable customers to access Salesforce® CRM from their Windows® devices. This should be available for preview later this year with general availability during 2015.
They also plan to develop “Salesforce® for Office 365™” which promises the following functionality:
- Access, share, and edit MS Office content from within Salesforce® and on Salesforce®1 using Office Mobile, Office for iPad, and Office 365™
- Ability to use OneDrive™ for Business and SharePoint® Online as integrated storage options for Salesforce®applications
- Develop a Salesforce® App for Outlook® to improve interoperability between Salesforce® and Outlook®
- Connect Salesforce® data to Excel® and Power BI for Office 365™ for improved visualization and data analysis
The partnership also signifies that which Nadella referred to as a “renewal” of Microsoft’s® commitment to use Salesforce® ExactTarget™ digital marketing platform which runs on SQL Server®. Salesforce® will use Azure™ for ExactTarget™ development and testing, but has announced no plans to port Salesforce® apps to Azure™.
Closer integration between Salesforce® and Office 365™ and Windows® will be welcomed by many, but Salesforce®CRM and Microsoft Dynamics® CRM will continue to compete with each other. As is the case with Oracle® working with Microsoft®, the dynamics of the technology landscape are clearly changing and we’re seeing more instances in which traditional rivals may be willing to set aside at least some of their differences and work together. Hopefully, we will all benefit as a result.