Microsoft, Oracle Mend Fences To Ink Broad Cloud Pact
Microsoft and Oracle put their longtime rivalry on pause this week to announce a potentially far-reaching agreement to support all of Oracle's key software offerings on Microsoft's Windows Server, Hyper-V and Windows Azure services.
Windows Server has previously supported Oracle's wares. However, the deal announced on Monday is effectively an agreement between the two companies to work together to extend that support to Hyper-V and Windows Azure, including offering license mobility for Oracle software and the ability to acquire it from Microsoft via Windows Azure. It also means the two companies are working together to extend support for Java.
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and Server and Tools Business President Satya Nadella, along with Oracle President Mark Hurd, discussed the new partnership during a conference call. The companies did not disclose terms of the partnership, which takes effect immediately.
Ballmer acknowledged a formal partnership was long overdue. "It's about time and we're really glad we have a chance to work in this much newer and more constructive way with Oracle," Ballmer said, adding that the companies' chilly relationship has "evolved" in recent years.
"I think both companies have always -- at least [for] many, many years -- have had respect for one another and has done the work our customers wanted us to do, maybe behind the scenes, to get Windows Server and the Oracle database, application server and the applications to run," Ballmer added. "In the world of cloud computing, I think that behind-the-scenes collaboration is not enough. Frankly, the relationships between the two companies have evolved. Despite the fact we continue to compete, they have evolved in a positive and constructive manner."
Word of the pact came down Thursday night during Oracle's earnings call, when CEO Larry Ellison revealed plans to coop with Microsoft, Salesforce.com and NetSuite in the cloud. Ellison also alluded to a new database coming from Oracle, called Oracle 12c, with "c" standing for cloud. Ellison described Oracle 12c as "the most important technology we've ever developed for this new generation of cloud security."
There was no mention of Oracle 12c on the call, but what is effective immediately is support for Oracle databases, middleware and apps on Hyper-V and Windows Azure. Also effective Monday is the ability for license mobility customers to run Oracle's software on Windows Azure.
In the future, Microsoft will offer a variety of its software -- including its databases, WebLogic Server and Java -- in the Windows Azure image gallery. The companies didn't say when the software would be available or which specific configurations, other than to describe them as popular versions.
Microsoft also will offer a fully licensed and supported version of Java in Windows Azure. While Microsoft has touted Windows Azure as already Java-compatible, Nadella said it was based on the OpenJDK.
"Now with this, we have the official versions that are licensed and supported from Oracle directly available as part of their middleware stack as well as their applications that sit on top of that middleware stack," Nadella said. "We think this makes Java much more first-class with Oracle support on Windows Azure."
Also Oracle will offer Oracle Linux, with unspecified software as preconfigured instances on Windows Azure.
Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.