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OpenWorld The Brobdingnagian growth of the Amazon cloud has forced longtime rivals Microsoft and Oracle into a substantive tech partnership.

The operating system giant announced a wide-ranging cloud partnership with the database titan back in June, in response to the rise of the Amazon Web Services cloud. On Tuesday, Microsoft's Windows Server and System Center Group senior veep, Brad Anderson, gave an update to the Oracle OpenWorld audience on the companies' collaboration.

Developers can now provision the Oracle Database, Java Platform Standard Edition onto Windows Server, and Oracle WebLogic server onto Windows virtual machines running on Azure, Anderson said.

Microsoft is also offering bring-your-own-license Oracle Linux VMs running Oracle Database and Oracle WebLogic.

The licenses for the Oracle software are included in the overall price, and Microsoft will offer the images for no additional charge while they are in preview mode.

"This is the only public cloud in the industry where you can come and provision those workloads in a public cloud with full support on Windows and on Linux with full support from Oracle," Anderson said.

Oracle's technologies are also available on the Amazon Web Services cloud, though licensing is not wrapped in and the support is less broad. Amazon has, however, been running Oracle tech for several years.

Anderson's presentation was the first time a Microsoft executive had delivered a keynote at an Oracle OpenWorld conference, and represents a change in relations for the two companies.

That didn't stop the man from Redmond from hitting a bum note, however, when he went on to describe the low-end commodity hardware approaches that Microsoft uses to get the Azure cloud to hum.

"It's all based on things like spinning disks, JBODs, direct attached storage," Anderson said. "It gives a level of supportability, scalability, all these attributes. ... you can now do that on cost-effective hardware married with the value of software."

This contrasts with the approach Oracle expouses for the Oracle Public Cloud: Oracle software – with a dash of OpenStack – running on the database company's terrifically expensive and complicated fridge-sized hardware appliances.

"One of the primaries we all need to focus on to drive down the cost is drive out that cost and complexity," Anderson said, neatly encapsulating the night-and-day difference between Microsoft and Oracle's attitudes toward hardware.

"Today is the first of many steps that will deliver on the promise of this partnership, and there is more work and more announcements to come," Anderson wrote in a blog post discussing the partnership. ®

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