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September 15, 2023

Oracle database services are coming to Microsoft Azure

Microsoft says that its new partnership with Oracle will allow the latter's users to access OpenAI foundation models and Azure AI services.

By Ryan Morrison

Oracle has partnered with Microsoft to bring its database services to its Azure cloud platform. The co-location deal will give Microsoft customers direct access to some parts of the Oracle Cloud Infrastructure through Azure data centres.

Oracle will manage its own database infrastructure inside the Microsoft Azure data centres (Photo:  Sundry Photography / Shutterstoc)
Oracle will manage its own database infrastructure inside the Microsoft Azure data centres. (Photo: Sundry Photography / Shutterstock)

Named Oracle Database@Azure, Microsoft said that the partnership would allow for the “performance, scale, and workload availability advantages” of an Oracle database with the “security, flexibility, and best-in-class services of Microsoft Azure”. It would also, the Redmond-based tech giant added, allow Oracle users to access OpenAI foundation models and Azure AI services.

Microsoft said the partnership will give customers more choice over where to run workloads and simplify the purchasing and management between Oracle Databases and Azure services. Additionally, the agreement is designed to help customers accelerate their migration to the cloud by bringing services they already use into Azure. Satya Nadella, Chairman and CEO of Microsoft, said it would allow them to bring “mission-critical applications to the cloud so they can transform every part of their business” with AI.

The expanded relationship with Microsoft could be a boon for Oracle, which has had a challenging two years. Earlier this week, Oracle Chairman and CTO Larry Ellison announced that the firm had missed its first-quarter revenue expectations. He also had to give investors a downbeat outlook for the rest of the year, causing its stock to drop 12% on Tuesday – its biggest single-day drop in over 20 years.

Regarding the new partnership, Ellison said that most customers already make use of multiple cloud platforms, with different services available from different providers. Putting Oracle hardware in Microsoft data centres would help customers “seamlessly connect Azure Services with the very latest Oracle Database technology.” 

Oracle in the cloud

Described as a “fully integrated experience”, the new partnership between Microsoft and Oracle will allow users to deploy, manage and use an Oracle database instance within their Azure portal. Oracle will then operate and manage the services within the data centre on behalf of Microsoft. The company says this collocation effort will also reduce training needs. “The new service is designed to eliminate customers’ biggest challenges in adopting multi-cloud architectures, including disjointed management, siloed tools, and a complex purchasing process,” Oracle said, in a statement.

The two companies have also made it easier to purchase access to an Oracle database, adding it as a service in the Azure marketplace. This allows companies to leverage existing Azure agreements rather than set up independent deals with Oracle. Users will also be able to bring their existing Oracle Database licence to Azure. 

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The agreement won’t be popular with Google Cloud, which has previously claimed that the increasingly close relationship between Oracle and Microsoft was “distorting” the cloud market. Azure currently has about 20% market share, with Oracle on about 2%. Azure is the second largest hyperscaler but comes some way behind AWS, which is at 32%. Google Cloud has about 10% of the share, with no other provider getting more than 5% share.

In July, in a comment to the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Google said that “licensing terms enforced by Microsoft, Oracle, and other legacy on-premises software providers distort competition in the cloud”, contending that customers with on-premises packages from these companies face financial penalties if they try to migrate this data to a rival cloud provider.

Read more: Microsoft and Oracle ‘distorting’ public cloud market – Google

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