Microsoft and Oracle part ways over multitenancy in the cloud

Microsoft and Oracle are on opposite sides when it comes to the importance of multitenancy support to their respective public-cloud platforms.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

After years of ridiculing the idea of cloud computing, Oracle is officially "all in" as of last week's Oracle Open World show. At the confab, CEO Larry Ellison took the wraps off Oracle's public cloud platform and strategy.

Oracle's public cloud is going to be a combination of platform as a service (PaaS) and applications/software as a service (SaaS), with the "glue" being Java Enterprise Edition. The five components comprising Oracle's public cloud are Sun servers; Fusion Middleware, Oracle database; Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c; and Oracle’s Fusion Applications.A few pieces of the Oracle cloud (like CRM) are there now; most pieces seem to be coming "in the near future" (as is pricing, apparently).

Here's Oracle's architectural diagram explaining its cloud database layer:

(click on diagram to enlarge)

While Ellison aimed almost all of his barbs and rhetoric at Salesforce last week, Oracle has another big PaaS competitor out there: Microsoft. Windows Azure is Microsoft's PaaS play, with its .Net "glue" and System Center management components. Office 365 (Exchange Online, SharePoint Online and Lync Online), SQL Azure, Windows Intune and other Microsoft-cloud enabled apps (like Dynamics CRM Online) are its SaaS play. So far, none of these Microsoft cloud-enabled apps is running on Windows Azure; they're running in Microsoft datacenters but not hosted on Microsoft's own public-cloud platform.

(click on diagram to enlarge)

The Java-.Net differentiator isn't the only key one worth noting between Oracle's and Microsoft's public cloud platforms. Oracle officials claimed last week that a multitenant model isn't the right one for Oracle's cloud customers because of potential security issues -- a rather vague claim that not just Oracle's competitors have called into question.

Microsoft it taking the opposite stance. The Redmondians increasingly are channeling Office 365 users toward using the "Standard" (multitenant) SKUs and away from the "Dedicated" (single tenant) approach. Earlier this year, Office 365 officials told me that they believe in just a couple of years the vast majority of Office 365 users will be relying on the Standard/multitenant offerings, resulting in a phase-out of the Dedicated Microsoft cloud-apps.

I asked Microsoft for comment on how its public-cloud solutions compare to those announced by Oracle and was told no. (I guess the Softies are saving all their cloud-compete arrows for VMWare and Google Apps/Docs....)

Oracle wasn't the only company launching more direct attacks on the Microsoft cloud platform last week. Google also unveiled a developer preview of Google Cloud SQL, a cloud database for the Google App Engine platform. The new offering is a MySQL database environment with JDBC support (for Java-based App Engine applications) and DB-API support (for Python-based App Engine applications). Google isn't offering any guidance as to when it will make a final version of Google Cloud SQL available.

Microsoft officials also declined to comment on how Google Cloud SQL stacks up against SQL Azure.

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