Oracle, Cisco step up cloud battle

As the cloud wars heat up, legacy companies Oracle and Cisco are challenging startups that have been steadily luring companies away from clunky old software and onto cloud programs.

The announcement this week of new cloud platforms and investments from these old-guard tech companies underscores the increasing competition among cloud storage and services companies, which include new entries such as Box and Panzura to tech forces Amazon and Google. It is a battle to offer the cheapest cloud storage and the most versatile services to win over companies looking to swap their archaic software systems for cloud computing, which allows workers to access data and files online from anywhere, whether that’s a home computer or mobile phone.

In many cases, the archaic software systems were built by Oracle and Cisco, years ago.

Vying not to be left behind in the cloud computing bonanza, Oracle Chief Technology Officer and former CEO Larry Ellison announced;on Sunday the Oracle Cloud Platform at the company’s annual customer conference in San Francisco. The new platform, an upgrade from the last cloud offering, consolidates a range of services on a single platform, including social, analytics, identity and mobile features. It is supposed to help customers transition into a business era ruled by mobile devices and always-connected computers. Ellison said at the conference that the upgrade will allow users to run Oracle’s database in the cloud or on-premise in their own environment, according to tech blog GigaOm, and its pricing will be similar to Amazon’s.

Oracle has been heavily criticized for not moving into cloud-computing technologies fast enough, and getting handily beat by competitors such as Amazon, and doubts remain about the embattled company’s future. Randy Chou, co-founder and CEO of Panzura, which sells file-based storage services to businesses and government agencies, pointed to Ellison’s step back at Oracle as a sign that even he doesn’t believe the company can win the cloud war.

After 37 years leading Oracle, he’d “have to invest another 10 years of his life,” and wasn’t willing to, Chou said.

And Cisco Systems, another laggard in cloud, said on Monday it will invest $1 billion over two years to expand its cloud offerings, as Reuters earlier reported, linking hundreds of data centers and cloud providers around the world in a network with more than 30 partners. The network, called Intercloud, expands Cisco’s cloud offerings by linking hundreds of data centers and cloud providers around the world. The Intercloud will allow companies process and manage data generated from billions of devices and applications, and direct data traffic through specific clouds and data centers, maximizing security.

“Cloud is transforming everything,” Chou said. “Everyone said that four years ago, now we’re just going through it.”

Photo: Renee James, president of Intel Corp., speaks during the Oracle OpenWorld 2014 conference in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Sunday, Sept. 28, 2014.Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg


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