Oracle ramps up SaaS and PaaS offerings for a holistic cloud approach

"We want to take a thoughtful approach to the journey to the cloud," said Steve Daheb, senior vice president for Oracle Cloud.

Larry Ellison, shown here in 2015, delivered the first Oracle OpenWorld 2016 keynote address on Sept. 18.

In its continued shift to the cloud, Oracle is unveiling a slew of new Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) offerings this week at the Oracle OpenWorld conference.

Oracle's goals for growing its cloud infrastructure business may be the company's most ambitious. The company has big plans for SaaS and PaaS as well, aiming to reach more than $2 billion of SaaS and PaaS annually recurring revenue this year. So far, SaaS and PaaS have driven the bulk of Oracle's cloud revenues, and there's plenty of potential for growth -- enterprise workloads are moving to the cloud at a fast pace. As that move to the cloud occurs, Oracle is attempting to meet customers at whatever entry point fits.

"We want to take a thoughtful approach to the journey to the cloud," Steve Daheb, senior vice president for Oracle Cloud, told ZDNet. "The vision of cloud was that it's supposed to be easy."

Making the cloud easier starts at the top of the stack, where Oracle is introducing "intelligent" cloud applications. The new offering has its roots in Oracle's acquisition of BlueKai, Daheb said.

The applications tap into Oracle's vast data cloud with more than 5 billion consumer and business profiles. By applying advanced data science to learn about an organization's users, the applications can offer individualized recommended actions and useful insights.

"We've taken this technology and integrated it into core ERP, CRM" and more, Daheb said. "Finance professionals can get a broader view of suppliers... HR can pull data in and identify best candiate for a position."

Oracle this week is also rolling out several other cloud applications and enhancements spanning sales, marketing, finance, human resources, and other areas of business.

Additionally, the tech giant is officially rolling out new PaaS offerings, starting with Oracle Database 12c Release 2. For the first time, Oracle is making the database available on the cloud first. Oracle scaled up its multi-tenancy and has added SaaS application centers. Daheb said it is "orders of magnitude" faster than other database services available.

Meanwhile, Oracle announced a new product based on Exadata, its compute and storage system optimized for running Oracle database software. The new Exadata Express Cloud Service offers a scaled-down version starting at $175 per month. Oracle is targeting small and medium-sized businesses with this product, keeping in mind that "cloud is the great equalizer", Daheb said.

Oracle is also unveiling as many as 19 new cloud services including a Container Cloud Service, Oracle Identity Cloud Service, Oracle Internet of Things Cloud Service, Big Data Cloud Services, and Oracle Analytics Cloud Services.

Oracle Identity Cloud Service is a new cloud-native security and identity platform that integrates with cloud applications using open standards and allows user identities to be managed across cloud and on-premise deployments. Additionally, the Oracle Security Monitoring and Analytics Cloud Service in the new Oracle Management Cloud uses machine learning to help identify threats and provide early warnings.

Security "might be the single most important issue in migrating from our on-premise data centers to cloud data centers," said CTO Larry Ellison in his Sunday evening keynote address.

Meanwhile, Oracle is adding a host of big data services and capabilities. The Oracle Big Data Cloud Services, for instance, is adding support for Apache Hadoop, Apache Spark, Apache Kafka, and NoSQL technology. Oracle Analytics Cloud can tap into any data using any device, in the cloud, on-premise, or both. The Oracle Essbase Cloud Service turns unreliable spreadsheet-based processes into streamlined collaborative models in minutes. And the Oracle Data Visualization Cloud Service includes smart data connectors to more than 40 sources, self-service data preparation and packaged analytic applications for sales, marketing, human resources, and finance.

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