Oracle’s continuing cloud consolidation
Oracle announced it was combining its more than 18 related analytics products under a single banner, Oracle Analytics, this week making it easier for customers to figure out what they need. It’s not unusual for a company to innovate a string of offerings before consolidating them into a single product line and it’s reasonable to assume that vendors who have not done so already will follow suit.
There’s no indication that this announcement changes anything much for the buyer aside from having a consistent brand. No pricing changes have been announced so far but since one of the highlights of the announcement was to enable broad enterprise adoption, you have to figure that over time pricing will moderate. When you aim to cover every potential user in the enterprise you know (or should know) that you’re a long way from maximizing the per-seat cost of whatever you’re selling.
So, what’s different with this announcement? For starters this is not a pure cloud announcement though it makes the point that the solutions were engineered cloud first. But in keeping with Oracle’s stated intent to continue supporting its on-premise customers even as it pivots the company to the cloud, it also announced Oracle Analytics Server, the premise-based equivalent of the Oracle Analytics Cloud.
In my experience, one of the more disconcerting aspects of Oracle announcements has been their focus on what the technology being announced does rather than what it actually delivers to the customer, you know, the benefits. One example will suffice. “We are committed to helping our customers get the most value from their data and to delivering the best analytics experience,” said T.K. Anand, senior vice president, AI, Data Analytics and Cloud, Oracle.
Often that’s all I get from these things–general statements about value and experience that leave you wondering about benefits. You might be tempted to wonder if, because these announcements are aimed at enterprise buyers that they’re all smart enough to know what value and experience mean to them. Maybe they do but I am always a sucker for the next statements that often begin with the words, so that you can or similar things, that translate the wonderfulness of the announcement into benefits for the buyer.
This time, Oracle was thoughtful enough to let real customers provide examples of benefits they’re receiving, which helps significantly. So, Bill Roy, senior director, EPM and BI, Western Digital volunteered, “We see the cloud as enabling our internal customers to develop their own content and to be self-serving. That’s really where we see the benefit of using Oracle Analytics Cloud.”
Autonomous Data Warehouse
Everything cloud is powered by the Autonomous Database in one way or another. The Autonomous Data Warehouse powers the analytics engines for apps, machine learning and predictive insights and that represents good synergy. In some ways the analytics announcements could not have been made until there was a deep source of data to drive the information generation which is what analytics is really about. Lots of us casually use data and information interchangeably but they are different. We collect data but we distill information from it, hence the need for high capacity data capture and management and then the need for analytics tools to do the distilling.
My two bits
The Autonomous Database and Autonomous Data Warehouse are more concrete proof of the IT industry’s continuing drive to commoditization and eventually to utility formation. It fits in with the joint Oracle-Microsoft announcement of some amount of interoperability a few weeks ago. And this can also be clearly seen in last week’s earnings report.
To date, not even a quarter of Oracle’s database customers run in the cloud though the earnings report indicates continuing adoption. IT managers have been here before wondering if it’s time to begin moving workloads out of the datacenter and to the cloud. Most have resisted but this is no longer a conversation about where to best access compute and storage for systems of record.
We’re now thinking about systems of engagement which necessitates more data, but also, very high-speed solid-state storage and the redundancy and security infrastructure needed to exist in what has become the cyber jungle. Oracle is pursuing a two-pronged strategy in which they continue building apps that work best in the cloud because they require cloud resources. At the same time, they’re working with customers to help manage their concerns about the big move.