Infrastructure as a service, enter Oracle
Larry Ellison, founder and CEO of Oracle, opened Oracle OpenWorld with a series of product announcements that made it clear Oracle was getting into the infrastructure-as-a-service space. John Cook at GeekWire reports that the new products include 12c, a cloud database service; both public and private cloud services; and “a hardware device that competes with SAP’s HANA database.” (Cook has a nice roundup of the Oracle announcements.)
Video highlights from the Oracle announcement.
The New York Times’ Quentin Hardy took a deeper look between the lines of Ellison’s announcements. Hardy notes that business cloud computing is becoming a serious market and that companies newly arriving to the scene, such as Oracle and Hewlett-Packard, are using their existing big-business contacts to compete against the likes of Amazon and Google. Hardy writes that the incumbents “plan to go up against cloud challenges from Amazon and Google by promising better security, reliable industry standard practices, and a higher quality of services.” Quentin also points out that Oracle’s pricing strategy may bring large-scale data analysis to the mainstream:
“At these prices, Oracle sees its cloud offerings as good products for small and medium-sized businesses. That is probably true, and it means that thousands, perhaps millions, of businesses will soon be in the cloud in some form, generating and analyzing data in very large volumes. If that is so, a lot of now-exotic business practices, from mobile computing strategies to Big Data analysis, will soon be commonplace.”
Amazon Web Services was quick to respond to the Sunday Oracle announcements. Barb Darrow at GigaOm reports:
“On Monday, Amazon added its Relational Database Service (RDS) to its Free Usage Tier, according to the AWS blog. That means new customers can try out MySQL, the Oracle database or Microsoft SQL Server for free. Usage is restricted to a small ‘MicroDB’ instance and one really important caveat is that Oracle database users have to bring their already bought-and-paid-for licence to the table. But the underlying Amazon infrastructure usage is free. More details are here.”
Darrow says looking at Oracle as a service for big existing Oracle shops and AWS as targeting lean startups is taking a too simplistic view, and that “[a]nyone who doesn’t see Oracle cloud and AWS as potential competitors should look again.”
Demand for data fuels demand for space
Klint Finley over at Wired reported this week on the rise in popularity of the “data center in a box” — or “trailer park computing.” According to a press release for upcoming study results from IMS Research, containerized data centers doubled in 2012 and are predicted to increase another 40% in 2013. IMS Research analyst Liz Cruz told Finley the demand is increasing as the demand for data is increasing:
“Data storage and processing is being driven by the growth in mobile computing devices, higher performance computing requirements, increased Internet communication, streaming entertainment, digitization of health care and government records, and a migration toward online business models.”
“More than half of senior-level IT executives (54%) predicted that within the next two years, they’d have to expand corporate network bandwidth by 50% or more to keep up with the growing demands of big data, according to a survey of 1,549 senior IT managers in the U.S. and Europe conducted by network infrastructure provider Emulex. These managers also told Emulex they’d have to expand storage capacity by at least 50% during the same period.”
Fogarty notes that the rapid increase in demand for space is causing backups and delays in construction projects, making the container option that much more appealing.
Revolutionary things begin with our own “little data”
Forbes’ Anthony Wing Kosner looked at digital technology usage this week and argued that “a correction is in order” in how we are approaching and what we are doing with the technology. He writes:
“On a certain level, the public has been treating the Internet like a super-sized repository of the media they already know. We access text, pictures, audio, video and interactive graphics from this massive storehouse as if we were pulling books off a shelf or turning on the TV. Even if we are contributing to this global library through blogging, or podcasting or uploading music, video or Instagramed photos, we are just filling in boxes that others have made for us.
The Internet is all of these things, but it is also (more importantly) the relationships between all of these things. And it is from the ‘glue’ of these relationships that our collective knowledge emerges. Right now, for the most part, we only have the adhesives provided to us by the tech companies that have built these architectures in silicon. In order to really make your own individual connections, you need to write some code. If we rely, solely, on the code of others, we will unknowingly be manipulated by it.”
Kosner argues that we need to not be intimidated or obsessed with big data to make the most of technology, but to “start from where we are (to paraphrase Buddhist writer Pema Chodron), with our own ‘little data.’” He says figuring out exactly what we know as individuals and mapping that to others’ knowledge is when “truly powerful and revolutionary things can start to happen.” But to do that, he says, we need to write our own code on some level.
He makes several suggestions in how to begin, including using Mozilla’s Webmaker tools to learn the code around you, using CodeAcademy to learn to program, knowledge modelling with Expertmaker, or launching a startup using General Assembly. Kosner’s piece is this week’s recommended read — you can read it in its entirety here.
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