There’s a lot happening in the cloud these days. IBM has swallowed Red Hat in a whopping $34-billion deal, enabling Big Blue to become, what industry analysts say, “the world’s No 1 hybrid cloud provider offering companies the only open cloud solution that will unlock the full value of the cloud for their businesses.” Oracle, the $37.9-billion Red Wood City, California-based tech behemoth, too, is revving up its position to grab a bigger share of the highly competitive yet lucrative cloud computing business, in which customers rent access to computing infrastructure or business applications in a pay-as-you-go model.
According to industry estimates, global cloud IT market revenue is predicted to increase from $180 billion in 2015 to $390 billion in 2020, attaining a CAGR of 17%.
Oracle, which is said to be the fastest growing cloud company at scale, with net income at $3.8 billion in FY2018, has built a second-generation cloud infrastructure that represents a fundamental re-architecture of the conventional public cloud, because “the current state of the art of cloud defenses is just not good enough, not even close,” Oracle executive chairman and CTO Larry Ellison said during his keynote at Oracle OpenWorld in San Francisco. Ellison talked about the technologies being incorporated into Oracle’s next-generation cloud that will make data an even more valuable asset.
The right mix
“The design goal of Oracle’s Gen 2 Cloud is one secure platform to run everything. It’s easy to say, very hard to do, to build a secure cloud. It required a fundamental re-architecture of our cloud,” the Oracle founder said. “We have used a lot of the latest artificial intelligence and machine learning to find threats. Our goal has always been as we move from one generation of computing to the next, to protect your investment in data and applications and make it easy to lift and move that into the next generation. We did that with Gen 2 Cloud,” he added.
Analysts reckon the foundation for Oracle’s Gen 2 Cloud, Oracle Cloud Infrastructure is designed to run any enterprise workload securely. Oracle’s infrastructure -as-a-service (IaaS) offers native support for Oracle Autonomous Database and delivers new levels of security from core to edge to protect critical data.
Ellison spoke about the current state of the cyber defense, which he said, “is just not good enough.” To address that, he announced new Oracle Cloud Infrastructure security services that are highly automated, detective and predictive to help remediate threats. He illustrated how Oracle Autonomous Database uniquely scans for security threats and applies security updates while running to help prevent cyberattacks and data theft.
Ellison also discussed Oracle Autonomous Database, the world’s most popular and technologically advanced database. Only Oracle Gen 2 Cloud is built to run Oracle Autonomous Database, the industry’s first and only self-driving database. “With Oracle Autonomous Database, there is nothing to learn and nothing to do, which makes it really easy to use. Developers are more productive, they bring up new applications, they do a better job of analysing data. Your system is more reliable. It never goes down,” he said.
In his address, Oracle CEO Mark Hurd said that migration to cloud is happening far faster than anticipated. By 2025, he predicted that 100% of cloud applications will include artificial intelligence (AI); 85% of all customer interactions will be automated; 60% of all IT jobs have not been invented yet, but will be in that timeframe. On that last point, Hurd said automation will not replace jobs but create them. New careers fueled by the use of AI will include supervisors for robots, smart city technology designers, AI-assisted healthcare technicians, etc.
India in spotlight
Closer home, Oracle’s aggressive cloud focus has resulted in steady adoption of cloud services across industries like IT/ITeS, telecom, banking and automobile industry. Oracle India’s VP of key accounts, Mitesh Agarwal, said, “The company’s complete, integrated approach makes it easy for companies to get started in the cloud and even easier to expand as business grows.”
For ICICI Bank, it has been about leveraging AI to improve employee experience with Oracle’s HR technologies. It has been able to automate important HR processes like requests for transfers and even predicting attrition, etc. Similarly, SBI Card is relying on modern technologies such as AI, Blockchain and Chatbots, etc., from Oracle to enhance customer as well as employee experience.
Using Oracle’s Intelligent Bots service, Bajaj Electricals was able to develop a pilot chatbot in just two weeks. Bajaj ‘Paddy’, the bot that pops up on the Bajaj Electricals website, includes a dialogue engine to formulate questions that customers are likely to ask and ML capabilities to help the bot refine its responses. Currently, with Oracle Sales Cloud, it is able to connect with the field sales team round the clock. “With this two-way intelligence sharing process near real time, the sales teams are able to design new promotions and campaigns,” said Rajnish Sinha, CDO & CIO, Bajaj Electricals.