Within the group of tech giants vying for the money they expect traditional enterprises to spend over the coming years on moving to the cloud, two companies place a special emphasis on bringing their clouds to customers’ own data centers. They are Microsoft and Oracle.
The latter highlighted this part of its cloud strategy at its OpenWorld conference in San Francisco. In his opening keynote Monday, Oracle co-founder and CTO Larry Ellison included customer data centers when talking about Oracle’s cloud data center expansion plans. He also announced that come this summer, Oracle’s latest, second-generation Autonomous Database will be available to users of the company’s on-premises cloud infrastructure as a free upgrade.
The emphasis on on-premises cloud highlights the belief held by many in the enterprise technology world that there won’t be a full transition from on-premises enterprise data centers to the cloud in the foreseeable future. Traditional enterprises will move most of their workloads to the cloud (80 percent of workloads over the next seven years by Oracle co-CEO Mark Hurd’s estimate), but not all of them.
Oracle launched the on-premises cloud product in 2016, the same year it launched its second-generation cloud platform, called Oracle Cloud Infrastructure. It is aimed at customers with workloads that have security and performance requirements public cloud cannot meet.
Customers that opt for this option get the same hardware and software OCI is built on in their own data center facilities.
There are “no caveats,” Ellison said. The infrastructure is “identical to what we have in our public cloud – with the barrier, with the cloud control computers, all the autonomous robots – everything we will put in your data center just for you.”
The barrier and cloud control computers he was referring to are a network of dedicated computers that “surround” the infrastructure that runs OCI customers’ applications. Ellison used this feature in his keynote to differentiate OCI from Amazon Web Services, which according to him hosts its cloud control code on the same servers that host its clients’ code, making it less secure.
The “autonomous robots” are automation of cybersecurity threat detection and remediation built into Oracle’s latest-generation cloud platform.
Microsoft has gone to similar lengths to give customers the option of hosting its Azure cloud in their own data centers. The on-premises version of its cloud is called Azure Stack.
The other big cloud providers, AWS and Google Cloud Platform, have chosen to partner with other vendors for their on-prem stories. Together with VMware, Amazon built a VMware public cloud service hosted in its own data centers, which users can use in tandem with their in-house VMware environments.
Google’s big hybrid cloud partner is Cisco, which is selling a hardware stack loaded with software that’s compatible with Google’s public cloud platform, primarily via the container orchestration platform Kubernetes.