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Two weeks ago, I’m sure almost everyone in the technology world were surprised, maybe stunned, after reading Larry Ellison’s announcement of at least 2 of the 3 partnerships. Microsoft (the heart skipped a beat), Salesforce.com (held the breath) and NetSuite (relaxed breath and thank god for making sure it was not strike 3 😉 )

The Oracle Microsoft Partnership

The Reaction to the Oracle Announcements

Over the next couple of weeks I hope to write something about NetSuite and Salesforce.com (the former is one I have watched and followed closely since the summer of 2012, along with Workday), but today and now I want to talk about the Microsoft-Oracle partnership. The feud and almost passionate hate between the two companies is long known. Maybe you could read an entertaining article on that part.


In summary, the partnership accomplishes –

Oracle customers can run supported Oracle software on Windows Server Hyper-V and in Windows Azure.
Oracle provides license mobility for customers who want to run Oracle software on Windows Azure.
Microsoft will add Infrastructure Services instances with popular configurations of Oracle software including Java, Oracle Database, and Oracle WebLogic Server to the Windows Azure image gallery.
Microsoft will offer fully licensed and supported Java in Windows Azure.
Oracle will offer Oracle Linux, with a variety of Oracle software, as preconfigured instances on Windows Azure.

Now to someone familiar with this terminology, it is very well put. To someone who is not, these are all big words, which make no sense! I have no qualms in disclosing I am a simple-minded creature. Whether I understand the terms or not, I like to break things up to a few smaller chunks of understandable pieces, and then build it all over again to see if there is another dimension to look at the same statement. I thought of using the same approach here.

So here we go –

What is Windows Server Hyper-V, Windows Azure, Oracle WebLogic Server, Oracle Linux and Java in the first place???!!!

Windows Server Hyper-V is a hypervisor-based server virtualization product from Microsoft.
Now inturn the question is – what is virtualization and hypervisor?

Virtualization I have briefly explained before – is the creation/simulation of software or hardware on the machine. It’s the reproducing of hardware in software so that hardware can be efficiently used. Virtualization masks the physical characteristics of a computing platform from users, instead showing a more abstract view to the users.

hypervisor is also called or known as a virtual machine manager. It is a piece of computer software, firmware or hardware that creates and allows the running of multiple operating systems to share a single hardware host. A hypervisor controls the host processor and resources, allocating what is needed to each operating system in turn and making sure that the guest operating systems (called virtual machines) cannot disrupt each other.
A host processor refers to a central computer which provides services (software applications and computations, utility programs, database access and programming  languages) to its network members which maybe at remote locations.

Basically the use of hypervisors is to improve server utilization and therefore reduce costs.

Windows Azure is Microsoft’s answer to cloud computing. It’s a platform that enables the building, deployment and managing of applications across Microsoft’s datacenters. A datacenter, as you probably know, is a centralized repository, either physical or virtual, for the storage or management of data.

Azure has both – the Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) as well as the Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) component to it. This post might give an overview of the cloud. Basically with Azure you can build applications using a variety of languages, tools or framework. This is because of the use of REST protocols. This is really new to me so I have no idea about REST, but found this tutorial which you might useful 😉

Azure aims to bundle the 3 components of hardware costs, software licensing costs and hosting & maintenance costs with it. Azure hence is a hosted cloud platform with infrastructure and application capabilities (languages including .NET, Java, Node.js, Python, and data services for No SQL, SQL and Hadoop) that can be used by clients.

Oracle WebLogic Server is an application server by Oracle for building and deploying enterprise Java applications.

Oracle Linux is the open source Linux operating system from Oracle.

Java is a programming language and computing platform first released by Sun Microsystems in 1995. I have spoken a bit about Java in my earlier post where I was talking the Oracle Vs Google war.

Bring Your Own Services & Licenses in 1 line is simply this – allowing organizations to move their existing licenses to the cloud regardless of what they were using.

Microsoft is one of the cleverest of the lot when it comes to Alliances! One of the most complex and comprehensive networks (I believe IBM is the only one from the top of my head who are better than Microsoft in this game). OEMs, Systems Integrators, ISVs, CSVs, Distributors and VARs – name it, they’re on the list tightly coupled with Microsoft. Now they eye the enterprise cloud.

Java coming on the Azure cloud means we’re going to have Microsoft very very useful to clients and developers! Not just C# and the existing lot, but a massive Java ecosystem opens to it. I would think Microsoft benefits more than Oracle here.

Oracle WebLogic and Database support with Azure as a foundation is something really fascinating and strange. Oracle’s dream of ‘One-Stop-Shop’ means they face competition from practically every direction. Microsoft is doing everything it can to have customers pay for its datacenter services, woo the developers by giving them tools and services to make software on the Microsoft OS.

This part of the riddle, strategy if I may call it, remains unclear to me. Why is Microsoft committing itself deeper into the Linux stack? Why did Oracle decide Microsoft instead of VMware – they already support the VMware hypervisor. Oracle already has a partnership with Amazon so why worry about Microsoft? It is because of the possible existing joint customer base? It is because Oracle gets more flexibility around differentiated offerings?
The integration involved here is complex and very intense, something we will not notice at the front end. The business implications are profound – VMware, Amazon, Google and even IBM and SAP (although these two somewhat differently affected. Particularly with SAP it is HANA) will look at this partnership more carefully. I think in the coming days we will have more operational details emerge about the partnerships, which will help understand the strategy more clearly. One is for certain though – we are in for a treat!

Cheers

Adi

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