Oracle CloudWorld: New data centres, product updates, and how CFOs can lead the cloud revolution

This week has seen a bevy of announcements from Oracle at its CloudWorld event in New York, from a launch of 12 new data centre regions, to product launches, to acquisitions.

Monday saw Oracle announce plans to ‘significantly expand its modern cloud infrastructure footprint’, including the opening of 12 data centre regions across Asia, Europe, and the Americas. Countries include China, India, Japan, the Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, and Switzerland. The company claims customers in more than 195 countries are running applications on Oracle Cloud Platform and Oracle Cloud Infrastructure.

The company’s most recent big bet, around its autonomous database cloud, has also been expanded upon. Thomas Kurian, Oracle president of product development, demonstrated how to make all Oracle Cloud Platform services ‘self-driving, self-securing and self-repairing’, with the capabilities set to be available in the first half of 2018. Among the potential examples available include automated code generation and security remediation for application development, as well as self-learning chatbots.

The first day also saw the Redwood giant expanding its enterprise service level agreements with what is claimed to be the industry’s first end-to-end financially backed cloud warranty for infrastructure as a service (IaaS).

Tuesday saw the launch of new capabilities for Oracle’s Internet of Things Cloud around Industry 4.0. The new capabilities are based around the range of IoT Cloud applications, such as asset, production and fleet monitoring, connected workers, and service monitoring for connected assets. The IoT Cloud ‘enables organisations to gain rich insight into the performance of assets, machines, workers, and vehicles so they can optimise their supply chain, manufacturing, and logistics, reduce time to market for new products; and enable new business models’, as the company put it.

On the acquisition side, Oracle also announced an agreement to buy Zenedge, a cybersecurity firm and provider of malicious bot detection and DDoS mitigation technology. The company said that the combination will ‘allow enterprises to adopt cloud services without compromising performance, cost, control or security through an expanded Oracle Cloud Infrastructure platform.’

Oracle’s most recent earnings report in December saw total cloud revenues up 44% year over year at a total of $1.5 billion, with cloud revenues representing 16% of the company’s overall revenue, up from 12% this time last year. Speaking to analysts at the time, CTO Larry Ellison said the autonomous database should ‘dramatically accelerate the growth of our PaaS and SaaS businesses’.

Elsewhere, Oracle has released a report from Dr. Michael Mendel, senior fellow at the Mack Institute of Innovation Management at the Wharton School, which argues that a cumulative $2 trillion (£1.42tn) will be added to the US GDP in the coming 10 years as a result of cloud services.

The report, titled ‘Intelligent Finance: How CFOs Can Lead the Coming Productivity Boom’, polled CFOs, CEOs at companies ‘essential to US economic growth’ – Oracle customers such as Blue Shield of California and ConnectOne Bank being some of them – and found a widening productivity gap between the haves and have nots when it came to investing in software technologies.

“Many companies are holding back from widespread adoption of cloud services and new technologies because their current system is ‘good enough’ and they worry about the transition being too disruptive,” the report notes. “They don’t see how their reluctance hurts everyone – shareholders, workers, and the larger economy.”

The CFO, or equivalent head of finance, is therefore seen as the arbiter of change, the report notes, as the exec has a broad view of what’s going on across the organisation, through the finance function being transformed by new technologies. “These new capabilities put the CFO in the right position to advocate for the future,” Mendel concludes. “Any CFO who doesn’t understand what cloud services mean for her or his company is going to end up getting left behind.”

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