When it comes to hybrid cloud computing involving containers, the three leading cloud service providers are still somewhat challenged. Amazon Web Services (AWS) doesn’t really sanction private clouds running on-premises, while Microsoft has delayed the instance of its Azure platform that runs on premise until 2017. Google, meanwhile, is trying to figure out how to blend OpenStack with the Kubernetes orchestration software in a way that spans multiple clouds. That may create an opportunity for Oracle to drive a hybrid cloud computing platform based on its distribution of Linux running on-premises and in the cloud that supports both Docker and LXC containers.
Robert Shimp, group vice president of Linux and virtualization product management at Oracle, says rival cloud service providers are not focused enough on the challenges IT organizations face today. For most enterprise IT organizations, cloud computing is, by definition, hybrid. As such, Shimp says IT organizations will need to be able to mix and match microservices based on containers and services based on legacy architectures for decades to come. Oracle, he says, provides the breadth and scope of products and services needed to accomplish that goal via a single vendor.
Right now, Shimp says Oracle is seeing containers deployed on everything from bare-metal servers and its WebLogic application server running on premises to virtual machines and platform-as-a-service (PaaS) environments running on the Oracle public cloud. In the future, Oracle expects to see microservices distributed all the way out to the edge of the network as internet of Things (IoT) applications begin to get deployed in production environments, he says. The end result will be distributed computing environments spanning multiple platforms that only a handful of vendors will be able to support end to end.
The biggest challenge Oracle faces when it comes to microservices is a lack of traction with developers. While Oracle is the steward of the venerable Java programming language, a rapid proliferation in the number of programming languages being employed has fueled the adoption of a broad number of rival platforms inside and out of the cloud. Oracle’s core strength in the enterprise comes from the amount of data its various platforms have under management today. Whether it’s structured data in a relational database or an enterprise resource planning (ERP) application, chances are some developer is trying to invoke an application programming interface (API) somewhere to gain access to it. Oracle now wants customers to move as much of that data as possible into its cloud, thereby creating a foundation for a range of hybrid cloud computing applications.
Naturally, it remains to be seen how much Oracle can woo the developers that create these applications. At the moment, Oracle has a full-court press underway to recruit independent software vendors (ISVs) to its cloud to create a critical mass of applications. Once that goal is accomplished, it should be simpler to recruit developers to a platform that hosts a broad range of applications that enterprise developers need to integrate with. The real challenge, of course, is going to be getting those developers to view Oracle as a primary public cloud player worthy of their efforts in the first place.