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Live Blog: Oracle Cloud Autonomous Services, SLAs Counter Amazon AWS

At Oracle CloudWorld 2018 this morning in New York, Oracle CEO Mark Hurd and his lieutenants are announcing major cloud infrastructure and data center investments vs. Amazon Web Services (AWS) — though Amazon hasn’t been mentioned by name.

The effort includes new automation features, cloud SLAs and a dozen new data centers worldwide. In some ways, the latest Oracle efforts apparently seek to boost Oracle vs. AWS and Microsoft Azure in the Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) market. Oracle is a distant player in the IaaS market, according to Gartner’s research.

But overall, the Oracle effort is about simplicity and security — and embedding AI directly into SaaS applications rather than building out separate, standalone AI apps. CEO Mark Hurd and President Thomas Kurian repeatedly described how Oracle customers can easily fire up Oracle cloud databases with no need to understand the underlying processors, network, storage or infrastructure.

Oracle SaaS vs. Rival Giants

Hurd also reinforced Oracle’s SaaS push. Oracle’s SaaS offerings generate far more revenue than IaaS, and Hurd has repeatedly emphasized Oracle’s commitment to rank among the world’s top two SaaS suite providers. He never mentions who the other top-tier rival will be, though Microsoft, SAP and Salesforce surely are in the running.

Mark Hurd zeroed in on the consolidating cloud services market, predicting that 15 or fewer major providers (some focused on apps, others on software, others on infrastructure, etc.) will emerge.

In terms of going to the cloud, he described the complex on-premises world where patching can take as long as a year vs. simplified cloud services where patching happens instantly, behind the scenes, by the vendor. With that reality in mind, 15 percent of enterprise data centers closed last year as customers moved workloads to the cloud last year, Hurd asserts. Roughly 20 percent of enterprise workloads, he adds, are now in the cloud.

Caesars Entertainment and Oracle Cloud Services

Mark Frissora

To drive home key points on digital business transformation, Hurd shared the stage with Caesars Entertainment CEO Mark Frissora. The casino giant recently converged its HR and financial systems in the Oracle cloud, driving down various costs from $15 million per year to about $2 million per year, Frissora estimates (we’ll double-check the stats later today). Caesars expects to have all of its applications in the cloud by 2020, Frissora added. In the meantime, the company has abandoned thousands of spreadsheets and vastly reduced its audit fees.

Hurd weighed in with machine-to-machine learning and AI. He expects Oracle’s AI technology to be hidden in the apps as use cases rather than working as some sort of “separate” application platform. Caesars is exploring those capabilities to improve customer experiences, Frissora says.

On the security front, Hurd zeroed in on data security as a big Oracle advantage. “Nobody wants to steal your network; they want your data.” He went on to reinforce Oracle’s cloud stack approach to security and patching — asserting that it’s easier than a heterogenous, multi-vendor approach. Frissora generally reinforced the points.

Oracle CEO Mark Hurd Cloud Predictions

Here are two key prediction slides from Mark Hurd. One is an existing list of predictions — and the outcomes are happening faster than he expected, Hurd says. The other is a new set of predictions. We’ll share more analysis of the predictions later today…

New Predictions Shared Today…

Previous Predictions Recapped Today…

Stay tuned for more updates on those predictions.

Oracle President Thomas Kurian

Thomas Kurian

Next up is the technology portion of the conversation, led by Oracle President Thomas Kurian. Stay tuned for updates.

Making an aggressive IaaS pitch, Kurian says customers can build a software-defined data center in 30 minutes or less on Oracle Cloud. He points to “triplicate” data centers in each region that have high availability and redundant network connections to ensure workloads continue even during an earthquake.

On the AI front, Kurian reinforced that Oracle is plugging artificial intelligence into all of its applications — across CRM, HR, finance and more. The AI code will help customers to make better hiring and promotion decisions, bolster customer support, and more, he asserts. The pitch is in stark contrast from AWS, which often pitches AI as a machine learning system upon which partners can build applications.

The keynote also zeroed in on three major Oracle announcements:

Keep checking back for more updates. We’ll be sitting down with Oracle leaders for an open Q&A later today.

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