Eyeing Oracle OpenWorld: What's in store

Artificial intelligence (AI), next-generation IaaS capabilities, and big data will be just a few of the big themes at Oracle's massive event.

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The world's largest enterprise technology event, Oracle OpenWorld, is just a few weeks away. Oracle is holding off on making its biggest announcements until the event, but a look through the conference's voluminous online session catalog turned up some of the key highlights for customers and partners. Here's a look.

Artificial Intelligence: AI has been all the rage in the IT industry this year, marked by a flurry of acquisitions and new product announcements. For its part, Oracle has been quieter on AI than some of its rivals, but at OpenWorld that will change, as the description for one session suggests:

Netflix, Uber, and eHarmony are consumer services used every day to watch movies, drive from point A to B, and meet people, respectively. But did you know that these same services are powered by machine learning and artificial intelligence?

Oracle is bringing these same experiences to the enterprise and introducing new machine learning-driven solutions called adaptive intelligent applications. They combine web-scale data from Oracle's data cloud, data science, and customer experience cloud applications to deliver purpose-built and out-of-the box applications.

Cloud Apps: Every year at OpenWorld one must-attend session is that held by EVP and applications chief Steve Miranda. He's set to provide a roadmap for Oracle's cloud applications, and he will be joined onstage by customers from GE Digital, Pella Corporation, and Profound Medical. Miranda is known for his candor, and customers with questions about Oracle's cloud applications would be wise to attend.

IaaS: Oracle is competing at all three layers of the cloud stack -- SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS-- but the first two businesses make up the bulk of its cloud revenue.

The company has said repeatedly that it won't lose to competitors over pricing, but there's some question as to whether Oracle wants to present its IaaS offering as a general-purpose service, or merely is hoping to keep its installed base from spending money with the likes of Amazon Web Services and Azure.

OpenWorld will feature a session with EVP and hardware chief John Fowler, who will discuss the work Oracle is doing to build out next-generation datacenter capabilities. A number of other sessions refer to new "high-performance" cloud capabilities:

Learn how the new capabilities of Oracle Cloud are built like a high-fidelity on-premises enterprise environment, complete with the operational control, security, and predictable high performance you require, all delivered through a fully elastic service. This session focuses on core primitives that enable I/O-intensive workloads, complex departmental workloads, and cloud-native initiatives.Oracle Cloud has built new high-performance offerings from the ground up with enterprise developers in mind. In this lab deploy an I/O intensive cloud-native app on this new, screaming fast platform. Deploy an app. Test the performance. Experience a true high-performance cloud.

Big Data: More than 60 sessions at the event are themed around big data. A key one will see Oracle EVP and longtime database chief Andrew Mendelsohn lay out Oracle's roadmap for Cloud Platform for Big Data. Given the number of moving parts, changing brand names, and other aspects of Oracle's big data cloud strategy to date, Mendelsohn's task will be to provide the clarity customers need.

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