Oracle Co-CEO Mark Hurd speaking at Oracle Open World in September 2013 in San Francisco. Hurd was then the company's president. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Oracle Closes Big Cloud Deal With AT&T, Inks Equinix Partnership

Thursday was a big day for Oracle’s cloud infrastructure business, with the company announcing a major cloud deal with AT&T and a partnership with Equinix to make Oracle’s cloud network accessible directly from data centers of the world’s largest retail colocation provider.

AT&T is planning to move “thousands” of Oracle databases running currently in the telco’s own data centers onto Oracle’s cloud platform in a deal that includes both Infrastructure- and Platform-as-a-Service. AT&T expects the move to accelerate its ongoing effort to transform its network to support virtual network services and automate network management via Software-Defined Networking technology.

Parading major deals with marquee customers is one of the biggest sales tools for cloud companies, and the AT&T deal is a major win for Oracle in that regard. The company launched its new cloud platform only recently, designed by a team that consists to a large extent of engineers who built today’s leading cloud platforms, such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform – all of whom Oracle is now competing with for dollars of big corporate clients like AT&T.

“I think the fact that we’ve got such a significant customer that’s made such a big bet … we’re just very excited about it,” Oracle co-CEO Mark Hurd said about the deal in an interview on CNBC Thursday.

The deal doesn’t mean companies running Oracle databases (in other words nearly every big corporation) are naturally inclined to move them to Oracle’s cloud as they consolidate corporate data centers. The New York Times, for example, is planning to migrate its Oracle databases to AWS as it works to shut down three data centers that currently host its systems, while most of the publisher’s other workloads will go to Google’s cloud.

Oracle’s agreement with Equinix may make it easier for big enterprises to use the database giant’s cloud. Companies who use Equinix data centers can now buy direct, private network links to Oracle’s cloud. These connections bypass the public internet, which reportedly makes them faster, more stable, and more secure.

Equinix also offers this service for Amazon, Microsoft, Google, and IBM clouds, as well as for Salesforce, Oracle’s biggest rival in the customer relationship management software market.

While AWS remains far ahead its rivals in terms of market share, Microsoft, Google, IBM, Alibaba, and Oracle all reported faster cloud revenue growth in this year’s first quarter than did Amazon.

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About the Author

San Francisco-based business and technology journalist. Editor in chief at Data Center Knowledge, covering the global data center industry.

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