Oracle's data center push targets defense
Oracle announced it will be expanding its cloud infrastructure with 12 new data centers across Asia, Europe and the Americas.
In addition to the Asian and European facilities, the company said it will add two new U.S. locations to support Department of Defense workloads as well as new services in security, blockchain and artificial intelligence.
As one of Oracle's largest infrastructure-building projects, this expansion plan would quadruple the current total of three cloud data centers the company operates.
Oracle announced its plan Feb. 12 at the Oracle CloudWorld event in New York. "The future of IT is autonomous," said Oracle CEO Mark Hurd in a statement. "With our expanded, modern data centers, Oracle is uniquely suited to deliver the most autonomous technologies in the world."
Tim Beerman, CTO of Ensono, an Illinois-based hybrid IT services provider, sees Oracle's announcement as "a bold move" necessary to establish itself as a "fourth contender" in a market currently dominated by Amazon Web Services, Microsoft and Google. "Succeeding and [leading] in the public cloud requires a significant commitment," he said in an e-mail, "so Oracle will need to participate fully and invest; these new data centers lay the foundation for that. Only time will tell whether or not this move is enough to gain momentum in the uber-competitive cloud market."
AWS commands a huge lead in the cloud infrastructure market with a 44 percent share, according to analyst firm Gartner. Its closest competitor, Microsoft, currently accounts for a mere 7.1 percent.
Rob Enderle, president of technology research firm The Enderle Group, sees Oracle's announcement as less a bold move and more sleight of hand.
"This is mostly smoke and mirrors, because they haven't even really started building the needed data centers yet," Enderle said. "What Oracle is doing is trying to raise consideration and stall the market, at least with their customers, until they can get something built and implemented. They realized way too late that if Microsoft and IBM in particular capture these customers on Azure or SoftLayer, those firms have a far stronger competitive migration argument to get those customers off Oracle entirely. Oracle is working desperately to make sure that this doesn't happen, but they likely started about four years too late."
John K. Waters is a freelance writer based in Silicon Valley.