Counting on cloud to gain ground

Oracle, the world’s second-largest software maker, chose Dubai to launch its global CloudWorld roadshow to introduce the company’s expertise in ‘cloud’ technology and its benefits to business and public and private sector industries. The CloudWorld is being hosted in major cities around the world including Frankfurt, London, Los Angeles, Mexico City, Mumbai, New York City, Singapore, Sydney and Tokyo. Visvas Paul D Karra joined other journalists from the Eastern Central Europe, Middle East and Africa (ECEMEA) in Dubai to cover the event which attracted more than 1500 IT delegates. A report

Oracle has been creating a massive build-up for its OracleCloud with significant capital investments in software and hardware for years in order to bring reliable, secure and enterprise grade services to its customers. All this came with an aim of providing the best solutions to customers for cost savings and driving performance at the same time. Oracle’s cloud solutions provide the industry’s broadest and most complete portfolio of public, private and hybrid cloud to deliver a broad suite of subscription-based, enterprise-grade application services, platform services, infrastructure services and social services.

Mark Hurd, president of Oracle Corporation, highlighted Oracle’s enthusiasm to provide the latest technology in cloud computing in his address at the company’s maiden roadshow on cloud computing known as Oracle CloudWorld in Dubai in January. Hurd said Cloud computing with the help of the latest transformational technologies can be imperative to organisations, large and small, across any region or industry.

“Oracle is bullish on Cloud and has been for some time,” Hurd says while pointing out that Oracle is five years ahead of its peers in the industry with a range of cloud services applications like human capital management, talent management, sales and marketing, customer experience, financial management, procurement sourcing, inventory, project management and governance risk, compliance, etc.

Investing in cloud
To queries about investments, Hurd stated that in this fiscal year, the corporation has invested $5bn in cloud computing and in the past three years, the company’s figure in research and development of cloud has touched $13bn.

Hurd explained that some of the acquisitions like RightNow Technologies taken over for $1.5bn and Taleo Corporation for $1.9bn are designed to enhance cloud solutions. Oracle said it also would buy Collective Intellect, which tracks and analyses customers’ comments on social media.

Last month, the company also agreed for the buyout of DataRaker to expand in smart-grid analytics platforms that enable water, power and other utilities to use data to increase efficiencies.

In his key note address to the delegates from 20 different countries, Hurd detailed Oracle’s strategy and the trends driving cloud. He said there are nine billion Internet devices in the world, which will balloon to 50 billion by 2020.

Stating that the number of Internet users today exceeds two billion worldwide, he said global Internet penetration is estimated to grow from 35.3 per cent in 2012 to 42.8 per cent in 2016. Around 90 per cent of all Internet users now have an account on at least one social service, and there are more than 13 million business pages on Facebook alone.

The Oracle president said that the data being generated worldwide will be 44 times greater in 2020 than it was in 2009, reaching a worldwide total of eight trillion terabytes by 2015. Hence, Hurd added, companies are searching for solutions that will provide the unprecedented capacity, scalability, and speed to keep pace with that explosive growth.

To counter this massive data explosion, Oracle has introduced new hardware that it developed with Sun technology. Hurd said the company has unveiled two computer systems, one with faster data-analysis capabilities and another for organising information from the Web. Sales of Oracle’s Exadata, Exalogic, Exalytics and other engineered systems more than doubled and the new cloud business is also approaching a $1bn annual run rate.
Exadata X3 is designed to keep all of your databases in-memory with a single rack enabling up to 4TB of DRAM and up to 22TB of NAND flash memory, with the database compressed ten times. This will enable a single machine to accommodate up to 220 terabytes of databases in memory. Exadata X3 now allows write capabilities from flash, making writes 20 times faster at the same price, and consuming less power.

Regional interests
Oracle has strong relationships in the Middle East and is continuing its investments in developing local expertise in the field of software engineering. The company has a number of education and skills development partnerships with government and private organisations in Saudi Arabia, UAE, Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait and Egypt, as well as other countries in the region.

Hurd says there is high interest from government and private organisations in the region to invest in cloud computing, which will help them run smooth, safe and profitable operations.
To strengthen its commitment to the region, Oracle has recently moved to its new building in Dubai Internet City, which will help accommodate its continued growth of operations and the increasing number of employees.

Meanwhile, Alfonso Di Ianni, Oracle’s senior vice-president for Eastern Central Europe, Middle East, and Africa (ECEMEA), who also addressed the CloudWorld roadshow said that Oracle is in contact with the Sultanate’s Ministry of Education and is ready to offer its various education and skills-development programmes.

Di Ianni also pointed out that the corporation is offering internships to talented Omanis in the field of software engineering, in collaboration with universities in the Sultanate.

In addition, the Oracle Academy is also focusing on nurturing the software engineers of tomorrow in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Egypt, and other parts of the region, he added.

The company, Alfonso elaborated, is also pursuing regional skills-development partnerships with private organisations. He noted that there is significant interest from the government as well as private organisations in the region to invest in cloud computing.

Cloud to fuel growth
Oracle will rely on cloud computing to fuel growth by relying on hardware sales and its cloud-computing service to broaden use of its products. The company had already gobbled up more than 70 companies in a $40bn buying spree in recent years.

And now, it will focus on what it already has including the Oracle Cloud, which delivers software online via cloud computing. Today, Oracle has over 10,000 customers and more than 25 million users of the Oracle cloud.

In addition to the public cloud services, the company also has the Oracle Private Cloud, which is designed to take Oracle’s cloud service but run it on hardware Oracle owns and controls with a company’s on-premises data center.

Since Oracle builds its own infrastructure and software, security of data is not an issue, Hurd says. “The number one issue that we have in the Middle East is finding great people,” he adds. To overcome this, the company is recruiting 40 per cent of interns from the region.


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