This word cloud is always a big topic of any IT conference these days, and is undoubtedly one of the most used “buzz words” in the high tech IT industry. As per Wiki : It’s a synonym for distributed computing over a network, and means the ability to run a program or application on many connected computers at the same time which may be mostly virtual. Whereas what Oracle hopes to offer as Oracle Cloud is a broad set of industry-standards based on integrated services that provide customers with subscription-based access to Oracle Platform Services, Application Services and Social Services, all completely managed, hosted and supported by Oracle.

Oracle as always wants to be the most comprehensive solution provider on the planet and when it comes to cloud, it is no different. So, there arrives Oracle Cloud; it provides immediate access to the latest technologies essential for any enterprise (small / medium / large scales). Oracle seems to have invested nearly 7 years and billions of dollars in engineering and strategic acquisitions to provide us with the world’s most comprehensive portfolio of enterprise-grade cloud services. Oracle offers a broad portfolio of hardware / software products and services that enable public, private, and hybrid clouds, so we can choose the right approach for our business. Oracle aims to be a major cloud vendor at every level of the stack; from the infrastructure level up to PaaS (Platform-as-a-Service) and SaaS (Software-as-a-Service).

The Oracle service portfolio consists of:

  • Application Services

Cloud Application Services provide customers access to the industry’s broadest range of enterprise Oracle applications available in the cloud today, with built-in business intelligence, social and mobile capabilities. Easy to setup, configure, extend, use and administer, application services will include:

  • ERP Services: A complete set of Financial Accounting, Project Management, Procurement, Sourcing, and Governance, Risk & Compliance solutions.
  • HCM Services: A complete Human Capital Management solution including Global HR, Workforce Lifecycle Management, Compensation, Benefits, Payroll and other solutions.
  • Talent Management Services: A complete Talent Management solution including Recruiting, Sourcing, Performance Management, and Learning.
  • Sales and Marketing Services: A complete Sales and Marketing solution including Sales Planning, Territory Management, Leads & Opportunity Management, and Forecasting.
  • Customer Service and Support Services: A complete Customer Service solution including Web Self-Service, Contact Centres, Knowledge Management, Chat, and e-mail Management.
  •  Platform Services

As part of Platform Services, Oracle offers a complete and comprehensive set cloud services that allow developers to build rich applications and business users to harness the platform. Specifically for developers, platform services will include: 

  • Database Services to manage data and build database applications 
  • Java Services to develop, deploy and manage Java EE applications
  • Web Scripting Services to build Web applications rapidly
  • Mobile Services to allow developers to build cross-platform native and HTML5 mobile applications for leading smartphones and tablets.

For business users, the services include: 

  • Documents Services to allow project teams to collaborate and share documents through online workspaces and portals.
  • Sites Services to allow business users to develop and maintain visually engaging .com sites.
  • Analytics Services to allow business users to quickly build and share analytic dashboards and reports through the Cloud.
  •  Social Services

Oracle Cloud Social Services provides the most broad and complete enterprise social platform available in the cloud today. With Oracle Cloud Social Services, enterprises can engage with their customers on a range of social media properties in a comprehensive and meaningful fashion including social marketing, commerce, service and listening. The platform also provides enterprises with a rich social networking solution for their employees to collaborate effectively inside the enterprise. Oracle’s integrated social platform will include: 

  • Oracle Social Network to enable secure enterprise collaboration and purposeful social networking for business.
  • Oracle Social Data Services to aggregate data from social networks and enterprise data sources to enrich business applications.
  • Oracle Social Marketing and Engagement Services to enable marketers to centrally create, publish, moderate, manage, measure and report on their social marketing campaigns.
  • Oracle Social Intelligence Services to enable marketers to analyse social media interactions and to enable customer service and sales teams to engage with customers and prospects effectively.

Choice” is the best aspect of cloud computing. However, sometimes we do get overwhelmed with choices; who do we choose? Which vendor? What technology on the cloud is best suited for our business?

Oracle’s cloud strategy is to offer choice and flexibility with the most comprehensive, modern, and secure portfolio of cloud products and services to fit our business needs. Thus implementation and maintenances cost can be controlled with centralised virtual implementation that need fewer physical machine and hardware, this will better   IT Service implementations within budget constraints.

Oracle has a very long way to go before it becomes competitive with already established major cloud vendors such as Salesforce and Amazon. Since security is a major issue in all cloud implementations, there is a real threat that it could potentially lead an Enterprise Administrator to lose control over their Cloud Infrastructure; if not implemented properly. A few major concerns are as listed below:

  • Data Privacy: With public / community / private clouds, data will not always remain in the same system or sub system as the data may be moved to other networks or data storages that may not be directly accessible by us that could have multiple legal consequences.
  • Data Control: Data can be coming into the system / cloud infrastructure in a number of ways with some data belonging to others as interconnecting clients. This could give the cloud Enterprise Administrator limited control and accountability within an Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) implementation, and even less with a Platform as a Service (PaaS) one. Enterprises need to have confidence that their Cloud provider will offer appropriate control, while recognising the need to adapt their expectations for how much control is reasonable within these models.
  • New Risks and Vulnerabilities: There is a major concern that cloud computing brings new classes of risks and vulnerabilities. This can be treated as hypothetical but we need to accept that all software, hardware and networking equipment are subject to unearthing new vulnerabilities. By being proactive and applying multiple layered security at the network, machine, application, inter-system levels and well-conceived operational processes, we can protect our cloud from common attacks, even if some of its internal components are inherently vulnerable.
  • Legal and Regulatory Compliance: It may be difficult or unrealistic for some enterprises to use public clouds if data is subject to legal restrictions or regulatory compliance to regional or purposed networked infrastructures. Achieving such certification may be challenging due to many non-technical factors, including the current state of cloud knowledge. As best practices for cloud computing we need to insure that we encompass greater scope in such implementations.

Unlike some other vendors, Oracle promises to keep our personal and security information isolated. Oracle Cloud services also offer market-leading security features – including encryption, virus scan and whitelist support. Oracle Cloud data centres offer embassy-grade physical and logical security. The services employ management, operational and technical controls and are aligned with the security framework of ISO (International Organization for Standardization) and IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission), specifically ISO/IEC 27002:2005, Code of Practice for Information Security Management and ISO/IEC 27001:2005 standards

Oracle on the IT infrastructure side is substantially late to the market, which is currently dominated by cloud provides like Amazon Web Services, Salesforce and few others. But Oracle’s SaaS and PaaS customers may want to run their cloud infrastructure on Oracle’s database as customers are adopting cloud computing in many different ways. Oracle’s strategy seems to be to offer them choice and flexibility with the broadest portfolio of cloud services and products. These offerings span public and private clouds and its entire product portfolio – applications, middleware, database, servers, storage, networking, and associated OS and virtualization software. And if that fails, the company can always come back to its regular database and engineered systems sectors, where it also expects to see solid growth in the coming years.

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