20 Jul, 2017

Oracle is introducing line-of-business SaaS services to its cloud-in-a-box, designed for organisations who want to remain on-premise but benefit from cloud's subscription model.

ERP, CRM, supply chain management and HCM services are available to Oracle Cloud at Customer users, which Nirav Mehta, VP of product management at Oracle, described as a "stepping stone" into its full-fat Oracle Cloud.

Cloud at Customer came out in May 2016 for firms operating in compliance-heavy industries who believe they need to keep their data on-premise. Oracle will ship and install the hardware in a customer's data centre, then deploy the contracted applications on top.

It's not as cheap as Oracle's public cloud because all that hardware and the associated power supplies are only supporting one customer's deployment, so they don't get the savings of renting services from Oracle's own large scale data centres. But Mehte said it offers "a risk free way for them to get their toes wet with the Oracle cloud while keeping their data in their premises".

It also allows them to lift and shift on-premise services into the cloud and benefit from the extra tools rolled out to the cloud in regular automated updates. The addition of SaaS to existing IaaS and PaaS services in Cloud at Customer increases the range of opportunities for customers to start using it.

Some UK government bodies are already using the service as a midway point between staying on-premise and using the cloud, and Mehte told Cloud Pro that "comfort level applies" in cloud adoption.

He added: "Frankly this has been the biggest hurdle to adoption of cloud; that comfort level. Sometimes it's not a specific regulation but just the customer getting comfortable over time. This provides a way for them to take the technology risk out, try it for a few years and maybe they get comfortable with Government Cloud [another Oracle service].

"At that point they don't have to rewire their applications; they'll be able to move seamlessly into our cloud."

As Oracle looks to hire 1,000 salespeople across EMEA to push its cloud services, it appears that Cloud at Customer is another way to encourage on-premise users to migrate to the cloud.

Cloud at Customer has some other private cloud competitors, chief among them Microsoft's Azure Stack, which packages up Azure public cloud services and puts it in people's data centres. But Mehte believes Oracle's own service holds an advantage over Stack, which relies on multiple providers to install and support the hardware and operate the cloud.

"We consider that to be technologically cloud-like, but in terms of delivering the full service it falls short," Mehte told Cloud Pro.

Picture: Bigstock

Joe Curtis