Oracle distinguishes between private and public clouds, with private clouds being what an enterprise can host within its firewalls – Oracle itself has one of the largest private clouds in existence. A public cloud, designed to take advantage of virtualization, shared services and consolidation features, is what we generally mean when we refer to cloud computing. Oracle provides enabling technology for Platform as a Service (PaaS) but isn’t a direct provider of the platform services. Similarly, while Oracle doesn’t provide any Infrastructure as Service (IaaS) services, it works with leading IaaS providers such as Amazon Web Services and lets you deploy Oracle technology in the public cloud through these third-party services.
Oracle does provide Software as a Service (SaaS) services, including hosted and managed offerings directly, as part of its Oracle on Demand services. While Oracle offers just two SaaS services right now – Oracle CRM on Demand and Oracle Argus Safety (life sciences) it plans to roll out a lot more SaaS offerings in the near future. Oracle runs these two services using its own data centers. In addition, Oracle supports the Oracle Database and Oracle Fusion Middleware in the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2). You can use your existing Oracle licenses or buy new licenses to run these products in Amazon EC2. Oracle also provides free Amazon Machine Images (AMI) , which enables you to configure and provision databases in Amazon cloud in just a few minutes. You can also back up your non cloud Oracle databases in the cloud through the Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) using Oracle’s back solution, Oracle Secure Backup – this way, if you’ve to recover your database in a hurry, you don’t have to run around looking for your tape backups – you can simply restore and recover your database from Amazon’s S3 cloud.
Just yesterday (November 11), during the FireGlobal Conference in Seattle, Mark Hurd, the new President of Oracle Corporation, set things a flutter when he remarked that he didn’t know what the word “cloud” means. I’m sure Hurd understands what the perception of a cloud is – he’s concerned that folks seem to abandon normal due diligence regarding hardware and software, just because they’re being hosted in the cloud – and he’s right in his concern. You’ve to evaluate the security and compliance issues for cloud based services just as you’d evaluate those things when you run things in your own data center.