Oracle lays out its cloud vision

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison famously once asked, "What the hell is cloud computing?"

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison famously once asked, "What the hell is cloud computing?" Nonetheless, Oracle has jumped onto the cloud bandwagon, with company officials on Monday afternoon touting the concept and the products and services that accommodate it.

Oracle officials talked up cloud computing at the Cloud Computing Conference & Expo conference in Santa Clara, Calif., detailing both public and private cloud technologies. Data centers, said Rex Wang, Oracle vice president of infrastructure and management, are moving from a silo model to consolidation, to save money. "The idea is to move these data centers toward the cloud," Wang said.

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Customers are going to use both public and private clouds, he said. Oracle offers its Oracle On Demand service, in which Oracle applications are accessible via a cloud format. Oracle Fusion Middleware, meanwhile, can be deployed in a public SaaS (software as a service) model. Also, Oracle will let users run Oracle technology in third-party public clouds. "We're enabling customers to move their workloads around between these internal environments and these private clouds," said Wang.

Company officials also cited the company's Exalogic Elastic Cloud system for cloud computing.

IT operations are under a lot of pressure to reduce costs and accelerate deployment, said Mohamad Afshar, Oracle vice president. "There's a tremendous stress to simplify the IT environment," he said.

One of the approaches being used to address these issues is virtualization, but it has its own problems, he explained. "Some of challenges we're starting to see with that is many of our large customers are ending up with environments with thousands and thousands of virtual machines," Ashfar said. Provisioning and managing these VMs is "becoming a real problem," he said.

"What really, our vision is, is to do as much of the work for you as possible by delivering systems in which there is much less assembly required," said Ashfar. Oracle wants to offer engineered systems for an enterprise private cloud. Ashfar cited Oracle's Exatadata database machine as such a system.

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