Jul 01 2013

Oracle Strikes Cloud Deals with Salesforce, Microsoft

The walls separating three enterprise giants come tumbling down as they enter long-term cloud computing agreements.

A truce of sorts between enterprise software and services giants is upon us. Oracle recently announced a pair of agreements to integrate its software and services with two of its biggest competitors: Salesforce.com and Microsoft.

Oracle and Salesforce unveiled a nine-year deal to integrate and align their cloud offerings, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal. A day earlier, Oracle revealed plans to certify its software with Microsoft’s cloud and virtualization platforms.

Salesforce is the leading provider of cloud-based customer relationship management (CRM) solutions. Oracle is one of the top three vendors, along with SAP and Microsoft, to deliver CRM solutions that reside locally in a business’s data center.

According to Oracle, its pact with Salesforce incorporates the three major tiers of cloud computing: applications, platform and infrastructure. Salesforce intends to standardize on Oracle’s Linux operating system, Exadata engineered systems, database and Java middleware platform. Oracle, for its part, plans to integrate Salesforce into its Fusion human resources and financial management cloud platforms. It will also deliver the core technology to power Salesforce's applications and CRM platform, while Salesforce will start using Oracle’s Fusion cloud applications in-house.

Although the relationship between the two companies has been adversarial at times, technologically they have traditionally been very close.

“The Oracle Database has always been the foundation for Salesforce.com. For all the verbal jousting and dueling these two companies have done, there has always been a strong tech partnership or affinity between them,” explains Nucleus Research analyst Hyoun Park to E-Commerce Times. “When you buy Salesforce.com you are, in effect, buying into Oracle's technology.”

Andrew Nusca of CNET notes that in the end, both companies need something from each other to drive innovation in their businesses.

“First, the cloud has to be interoperable, and that's why you're seeing this deal. Second, legacy vendors like Oracle have something newer vendors like Salesforce.com need, but also vice versa,” he writes.

In its negotiations with Microsoft, Oracle has decided to throw its weight behind the company’s nascent cloud platform, Azure. The two companies announced an agreement to certify the compatibility of Oracle’s applications with Microsoft’s Azure. So businesses will now be able to run — fully supported and certified by Oracle — Java, Oracle Database, WebLogic Server and Linux on Windows Server Hyper-V or Windows Azure.

Forrester Research analyst James Staten views the Oracle/Microsoft agreement as a win-win.

“The deal came as part of a Java licensing agreement by Microsoft for Windows Azure, which should help Redmond increase the appeal of its public cloud to a broader developer audience,” comments Staten in a blog post.


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