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Oracle set for major Microsoft, Salesforce, Netsuite partnerships

Red Borg tees up 12c database love-in

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Oracle is embarking on a spree of partnerships to assure the success of its much-ballyhooed 12c database among cloud companies.

The red giant's chief, Larry Ellison, announced during Oracle's disappointing fourth quarter earnings call yesterday that Oracle will be forming alliances with NetSuite, Salesforce.com, Microsoft, and possibly others.

"Next week, we will be announcing technology partnerships with the most important – the largest and most important SaaS companies and infrastructure companies in the cloud. And they will be using our technology, committing to our technology for years to come," Ellison said on the call in response to a question from an analyst about Oracle's upcoming multi-tenant 12c database.

"These partnerships in the cloud I think will reshape the cloud and reshape the perception of Oracle Technology in the cloud. 12c in other words is the most important technology we've ever developed for this new generation of cloud security."

So, what could be going on? Salesforce.com and Netsuite are already major Oracle customers, so we expect the announcements will revolve around them upgrading to 12c. Salesforce may announce a wide-ranging data portability agreement with Oracle that could see data migrate easily between the two companies' human-capital management suites, according to The New York Times.

But Microsoft is where it gets interesting, as we think the partnership could involve Oracle 12c becoming available on Windows Azure. This would be momentous, given Microsoft's heavy investment in SQL Server.

Microsoft is due to hold a press conference on Monday that will involve Oracle co-president Mark Hurd, Microsoft chief Steve Ballmer, and server and tools head Satya Nadella – signifying that the announcement will be big, and involve server infrastructure.

We speculate the most likely component of this announcement will be 12c on Azure. At the moment, Microsoft doesn't offer Oracle's database within its cloud, unlike rival Amazon Web Services which has been offering 11g since 2011.

Since Azure infrastructure-as-a-service became generally available in April, Microsoft has been on a renewed push to develop the capabilities of its cloud – and that means partnerships. Oracle, meanwhile, has an in-the-works "infrastructure-as-a-service cloud" but this is more just a way for companies to lease its engineered systems without paying an up front capital cost.

As underlying hardware goes through wave after wave of commoditization, a huge amount of strategic value is migrating to the data layers. This is apparent both in the ecosystem that has formed around the Hadoop File System, the hype around NoSQL datastores such as MongoDB, SAP's push onto its HANA platform, and Microsoft, Google, and Amazon's attempts to build out clouds to capture corporate data

With Oracle specializing in on-premises, high-performance systems for major enterprises, the company is assured of growth from some big ticket clients, but its monolithic tech tends to scare off many smaller companies due to high fees and credible fears of lock-in.

By partnering with a spread of companies, Oracle can ensure that its technology is not only used in big accounts, but presented directly to developers. This has recently translated into a significant x86 server partnership with Dell, and now it seems is coming through in software as well.

By partnering further, Oracle may be able to Borg developers into its way of doing things. The Reg will be reporting from Monday's press conference with great interest. No mention was made on the call of cloud giant Amazon Web Service – whose success directly threatens important lines of business for both Microsoft and Oracle. ®

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