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AWS Pushes Unlikely Competitors Into “Frenemy” Territory

Microsoft and Oracle join forces to provide interoperability across their public cloud environments. Customers of both organizations are now untethered and can run Azure workloads that connect to Oracle’s Autonomous Database solutions across their application stack.

Microsoft and Oracle have been a mixed bag of complementary and conflicting product solutions for the last two decades and counting, making for unlikely bedfellows. While Microsoft, under the leadership of Satya Nadella, has sought to achieve an open public cloud platform, the same cannot be said for Oracle.

Source: Microsoft Cloud Platform System SoftwareReviews Report Published April 2019

In fact, Oracle’s founder, chairman, and CTO Larry Ellison has railed against their public cloud competitors and seeks a full “Red Stack” environment where customers run vertically on an all Oracle stack. Oracle has gone so far as to remove public cloud core factors from their Oracle Processor Core Factor Table, opting to place license minimums in a separate Oracle Cloud Policy document. The manner in which Oracle places these minimums imposes material additional costs to Oracle customers deploying Oracle solutions in a non-Oracle public cloud environment.

Microsoft has previously seen this type of partnership work to boost revenues. Partnerships with NetApp and VMware being two notable examples. Microsoft and Oracle share a much larger pool of mutual customers and the expectation is that allowing interoperability provides the customer more flexibility and choice, leading to a boost for both vendors’ public cloud business.

The integration between the two public cloud environments offers some interesting use case scenarios. For example, an organization running applications on the Oracle PaaS database product could leverage Azure’s more robust AI and analytics capabilities. In reverse, Azure clients can now leverage the unique capabilities of Oracle’s Autonomous Database, while still running the core application in Azure.

The two companies have so far created a direct connect between Azure US East and Oracle’s Ashburn region, with more regions to be added at a future date. This connection also allows Oracle Cloud users to authenticate via Microsoft’s SSO solution.

Our Take

Amazon’s AWS leading market share position in the IaaS market has competitors scrambling to increase public cloud market share. Azure is securely in the second place spot while Oracle does not currently crack the “Other” category in terms of market share for IaaS.

So who has the most to gain from this partnership? Microsoft, Oracle, or the customer?The addition of Azure access and capabilities to the Oracle cloud definitely fills some gaps in functionality in the areas of AI and analytics. Microsoft stands to gain access to Oracle’s massive base of database customers. Theoretically a win-win for both companies, perhaps. The jury is out on this tie-up as there are currently a small percentage of Oracle customers that have adopted Oracle’s PaaS solution, coupled with a likely reticence on the part of the customer to want to run applications across multiple public clouds due to application performance concerns, increased license complexity, and cost concerns.

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