Advanced Computing in the Age of AI | Monday, July 15, 2024

Oracle Expands Cloud Regions, Automates Services 

Cloud contender Oracle Corp. is expanding its infrastructure with plans to open a dozen new datacenter regions along with new database and other automated services for handling artificial intelligence and blockchain workloads.

Oracle announced the datacenter expansion at a company event on Monday (Feb. 12) while demonstrating new autonomous cloud and database features designed to enable self-service AI and machine learning capabilities. The expansion is part of a strategic push by the database leader into the crowded public cloud services market.

Oracle CEO Mark Hurd stressed automated IT services in unveiling plans to open 12 new datacenter regions spanning Asia, Europe and North America. Most are planned for emerging cloud markets in China, Japan, Singapore and South Korea along with India and Saudi Arabia. The cloud expansion also includes new regions in Amsterdam and Switzerland.

Oracle (NYSE: ORCL) also said it would establish two new locations in Canada and a pair of new U.S. regions designed to support Defense Department workloads. The company's managed cloud services were certified under a federal cloud initiative in May 2014.

Along with software, platform and infrastructure services, the company also said it would expand its cloud services to address data security, AI and emerging blockchain application workloads.

Oracle is attempting to expand in a bustling cloud market dominated by Amazon Web Services (NASDAQ: AMZN) and fast-growing Micosoft Azure (NASDAQ: MSFT). According to market share estimates released earlier this month by Synergy Research, Oracle remains at the bottom half of the top 20 vendors that together have captured about 17 percent of the cloud infrastructure services market.

By contrast, the market researcher reported that AWS alone controls more than one-third of the cloud market, and continues to gain market share. Meanwhile, Microsoft Azure is growing at a 3-percent annual rate. Global market share growth for Azure and Google Cloud Platform (NASDAQ: GOOGL) is coming at the expense of smaller cloud providers, the market researcher added.

The good news for competitors like Oracle is that fourth quarter 2017 cloud spending jumped 46 percent, well ahead of the previous three quarters. "Smaller companies can still do well by focusing on specific applications, industry verticals or geographies, but overall this is a game that can only be played by companies with big ambitions, big wallets and a determined corporate focus," said John Dinsdale, research director at Synergy Research Group.

That appears to be Oracle's strategy as it seeks to break out of the pack by differentiating its cloud services with database offerings and the ability to handle processing-intensive AI and blockchain workloads.

"As we invest" in cloud infrastructure," our margins will continue to expand," Oracle's Hurd predicted.

Oracle also this week rolled out a suite of cloud services designed to automate IT operations like security patches and upgrades along with new application development capabilities, including predictive analytics.

It also announced new autonomous database services geared to specific cloud workloads, including a data warehouse tool for analytics and an autonomous NoSQL database. The new cloud database services will be available later this year, the company said.



About the author: George Leopold

George Leopold has written about science and technology for more than 30 years, focusing on electronics and aerospace technology. He previously served as executive editor of Electronic Engineering Times. Leopold is the author of "Calculated Risk: The Supersonic Life and Times of Gus Grissom" (Purdue University Press, 2016).