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Microsoft-Oracle Partnership Goes 'Cross-Cloud'

Sometime rivals Microsoft and Oracle are expanding their partnership to deliver "cross-cloud" capabilities for larger organizations, the two companies announced Wednesday.

Despite offering competing public cloud platforms, Microsoft and Oracle have fostered a close partnership for the past six years around their hosted applications and services. For instance, they established a partnership on Oracle's Java back in 2013, and Microsoft Azure began hosting Oracle database and application servers back in 2014.

With this week's announcement, the companies have now expanded their applications support, added Azure Active Directory identity and access management, and improved interconnectivity between their cloud solutions, while also providing customer support.

The expanded partnership aims to help organizations move their on-premises hosted enterprise applications either to Microsoft's or Oracle's public cloud infrastructure. The cross-cloud aspects got highlighted this time around.

"This partnership now enables many previously impossible solutions including multi-application cloud deployment and integration, multi-layered cloud data management, cross-cloud data analysis and of course rapid migration of operations to the cloud," an Oracle Web page indicated.

New Capabilities
The announcement specifically listed the following new capabilities, which are now available for organizations to use:

  • Connect Azure and Oracle Cloud seamlessly, allowing customers to extend their on-premises datacenters to both clouds. This direct interconnect is available starting today in Ashburn (North America) and Azure US East, with plans to expand additional regions in the future.
  • Unified identity and access management, via a unified single sign-on experience and automated user provisioning, to manage resources across Azure and Oracle Cloud. Also available in early preview today, Oracle applications can use Azure Active Directory as the identity provider and for conditional access.
  • Supported deployment of custom applications and packaged Oracle applications (JD Edwards EnterpriseOne, E-Business Suite, PeopleSoft, Oracle Retail, Hyperion) on Azure with Oracle databases (RAC, Exadata, Autonomous Database) deployed in Oracle Cloud. The same Oracle applications will also be certified to run on Azure with Oracle databases in Oracle Cloud.
  • A collaborative support model to help IT organizations deploy these new capabilities while enabling them to leverage existing customer support relationships and processes.
  • Oracle Database will continue to be certified to run in Azure on various operating systems, including Windows Server and Oracle Linux.

The connections between clouds apparently happen using either Azure ExpressRoute or Oracle FastConnect services, which provide support for high-bandwidth private Internet connections. The companies described this cross-cloud aspect as a "first" of sorts.

"Take advantage of the industry's first cross-cloud implementation between Azure and OCI [Oracle Cloud Infrastructure] via network-optimized, low-latency, and private interconnect of ExpressRoute and Oracle FastConnect," Microsoft's "Run Oracle Software on Azure" page explained.

The single sign-on (SSO) and identity management support via Azure AD across both Oracle's and Microsoft's cloud services appears to be new. Currently, "federated identity" is supported, according to Oracle.

"Federated identity is available between both providers to provide a single identity source and a unified SSO experience between Oracle Cloud and Azure consoles," Oracle's Web page explained.

At "early preview," though, is the ability to use Azure AD as the identity provider for Oracle applications, as well as for conditional access support, according to the companies' announcement.

Third-Party Tools Support
Organizations can use their existing licenses across both cloud platforms. They can use data visualization solutions from Oracle or Microsoft, or they can even use "third-party data visualization platforms of choice," according to Oracle.

The idea that "third-party" (non-Microsoft and non-Oracle) tools can be used for data management across both cloud platforms is perhaps an interesting development. For instance, last year, a Microsoft cross-domain solution architect had downplayed the effectiveness of so-called "multicloud management" solutions. He also had contended that migration between cloud platforms wasn't a simple matter, and only very large organizations might attempt it. 

Microsoft and Oracle are emphasizing their joint support for enterprise customers with regard to cloud migrations. They also have "a growing number of partners familiar with Oracle and Microsoft capabilities" available to lend a hand, according to Oracle.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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