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Oracle spins-up public sector 'Cloud'

Follows in Amazon's footsteps to claim Uncle Sam's dosh

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Oracle has fired up its big red branding machine and coated some of its software-as-a-service products with a cloud label as it tries to create a suite of tech for public-sector organizations.

Just as Amazon, Dell, and others have forged their own dedicated cloud services for the US public sector, so too has Oracle. But there's a twist – Oracle's "Public Sector Cloud" bares little resemblance to a cloud, as at launch the service contains some software-as-a-service technology, and no infrastructure or platform components. It was announced on Wednesday, and after some back-and-forth we squeezed some more data out of Ellison's databorg on the service.

Oracle describes the tech as "a comprehensive, flexible and cost effective suite of cloud applications and solutions that extends Oracle's cloud presence with a secure offering built specifically for government."

It includes a set of Oracle services such as the RightNow Policy Automation, Learn Cloud, and Service Cloud, along with the "premier product, support, and services government agencies need to transition to the cloud."

The software will be served from "Oracle-owned infrastructure in co-located data centers," an Oracle spokesperson confirmed. "No parts of the Oracle Government Cloud announced this week are on customer premises."

Eventually, the company hopes to introduce infrastructure-as-a-service and platform-as-a-service components as well, and it's likely we'll hear more about those later this month at Oracle OpenWorld in San Francisco.

The cloud does not replace any previous Oracle services, and is intended as an "alternative deployment model for our customers to give them complete flexibility on where they keep their information technology and how they support and maintain it. ... it is meant to provide choice."

However, Oracle has not yet been granted a critical Federal cloud security certification known as FedRAMP. Current holders of this crucial stamp of legitimacy include Akamai, AT&T, Amazon Web Services, Autonomic Resources, CGI Federal, HP, Lockheed Martin,and the US Department of Agriculture, according to the US General Services Administration.

The formation of an Oracle government cloud marks another degree in the 180 turn Oracle is pulling on its attitude to public clouds. Just a few years ago, Oracle chief Larry Ellison made fun of the cloud, and dismissed concepts like multi-tenancy. Then other people started making money in the cloud and a new competitor to Oracle appeared in the form of Amazon Web Services and its multiple database-as-a-service technologies.

Now Oracle, like so many other firms, is on the backfoot and struggling to re-orient its business so that it can reassure clients of its cloud capabilities. ®

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