In a move to compete against emerging players in the growing cloud space, Microsoft on Monday announced a strategic partnership with long-time rival Oracle. The companies will set aside some of their differences to battle smaller companies that have quickly invaded the enterprise cloud market with innovative solutions.
Satya Nadella, president of Microsoft's Server & Tools Business, explained that the companies are expanding their work to cover the private cloud and public cloud. He promised the would help customers embrace cloud computing by improving flexibility and choice while also preserving the first-class support that these workloads demand.
"The cloud computing era -- or, as I like to call it, the enterprise cloud era -- calls for bold, new thinking. It requires companies to rethink what they build, to rethink how they operate and to rethink whom they partner with," Nadella wrote in a blog post. "We are doing that by being 'cloud first' in everything we do."
Understanding the Terms
Under the terms of the agreement, Oracle will certify and support Oracle software on Windows Server Hyper-V and Windows Azure. Practically speaking, that means customers who are already running Oracle software on Windows Server can run that same software on Windows Server Hyper-V or in Windows Azure and leverage Microsoft's enterprise grade virtualization platform and public cloud.
Nadella said Oracle customers also benefit from the ability to run their Oracle software licenses in Windows Azure with new license mobility and announced plans to add Infrastructure Services instances with preconfigured versions of Oracle Database and Oracle WebLogic Server for Microsoft customers who do not have Oracle licenses. And Oracle will enable customers to obtain and launch Oracle Linux images on Windows Azure.
"We'll also work together to add properly licensed, and fully supported Java into Windows Azure -- improving flexibility and choice for millions of Java developers and their applications," Nadella said. "Windows Azure is, and will continue to be, committed to supporting open source development languages and frameworks, and after today's news, I hope the strength of our commitment in this area is clear."
Yes, Hell Froze Over
To get a reaction to these two rivals forming a strategic partnership, we turned to Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst at ZK Research. He told us it's a good move -- though an out of character move -- for both companies.
"One could say hell has frozen over," Kerravala quipped. "Both companies realize that this world of clouds is only going to work if we've got some interoperability between cloud platforms. When the industry is more interoperable and more federated it creates a rising tide that benefits everyone."
Oracle also this week struck an alliance with Salesforce.com, proving Kerravala's statement that Oracle is getting "very aggressive" with its partnering strategy.
"The Microsoft partnership is a good start but I certainly expect more. What would tell me Oracle is really serious is a partnership with Google.," he said. "Either Oracle CEO Larry Ellison has had a bit of a religion change or he's growing soft."