Microsoft delivers preview of Oracle software on Windows Azure

The first fruits of the Microsoft-Oracle partnership are rolling out. But don't think the rivals aren't still going to compete.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

Microsoft is making available a preview version of the promised virtual machine (VMs) images running Oracle software -- its database, WebLogic Server and Java Development Kit -- on Windows Azure starting today, September 24.


The pair have said they'll provide VMs not only for Windows Azure, but also on Windows Server via Hyper-V. (Today's VM preview is for Windows Azure only, as far as I can tell.) Users interested in trying out the new offering can either bring their own license, or make use of a license provided by Oracle for its database and WebLogic server. 

There's no publicly announced general availability date for Oracle software running on Azure, according to a frequently asked questions section on Microsoft's site about the deal.

Today's preview is the first step toward making good on a partnership that rivals Microsoft and Oracle announced back in June of this year. At that time, Microsoft and Oracle committed to provide the following:

  • Microsoft customers can run Oracle software on Windows Server Hyper-V and Windows Azure 
  • Oracle will allow license mobility on Azure 
  • Microsoft will add infrastructure instances with Oracle's Java, database and WebLogic Server
  • Microsoft will support and offer fully licensed Java in Azure 
  • Oracle will offer Oracle Linux on preconfigured instances. (Windows Azure already offers other Linux flavors -- OpenSUSE, CentOS, Ubuntu and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server -- in VM form.)

Via the Microsoft-Oracle deal, Oracle apps will be certified to run on Windows Server, Hyper-V, and Windows Azure. Previously, they were only certified to run on Windows Server.

Customers who bring their own Oracle licenses will get support from Oracle directly on Oracle software on Windows Server Hyper-V and Windows Azure. For those using the "license included" versions, there will be more information on which company will support what once the offering is closer to general availability (GA), according to Microsoft. Pricing details also will be announced closer to GA.

If you need more evidence (beyond the actual partnership between these two rivals) that pigs can fly, Microsoft's Brad Anderson, Corporate Vice President, Cloud and Enterprise Engineering, is keynoting at Oracle Open World today at 1:30 p.m. PT. The live stream of that keynote will be here.

Just because Oracle and Microsoft are collaborating on this front doesn't mean the two aren't still head-to-head competitors. Microsoft is still pushing full-steam ahead with SQL Server as an alternative to Oracle's database. In fiscal 2014, Microsoft is expected to emphasize its "Modern Data Warehouse" capabilities (meaning Enterprise Data Warehouse, coupled with big-data) as a competitive advantage it has versus Oracle.

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