The principles of cloud computing can be traced back to the 1950s, during which organizations used similar technology to allow multiple users to access their mainframe computers from remote terminals.
It wasn't until the introduction of Salesforce in 1999, however, when modern-day cloud computing really began to take off. Salesforce offered enterprise applications through a website, allowing organizations to buy and use their cloud computing resources. This led to other firms launching their own cloud computing services, one of which was Amazon.
Up until 2002, Amazon was largely known for its online shopping portal. That same year, Amazon entered the cloud computing arena with the release of Amazon Web Services. This service was more than just standard cloud resources, it offered cloud storage, computation and human intelligence (mTurk). According to Jeremy Allaire, CEO of Brightcove, Amazon Web Services was the first “widely accessible cloud computing infrastructure service,” as it paved the way for this critical service.
Why Organizations are Using Cloud Computing Services
We could write an entirely different blog post covering the benefits of cloud computing – and we may later. One of the main reasons why so many organizations use cloud computing, however, is to save money on hardware and computing resources. If a company needs a specific, fixed amount of computing resources, it typically has one of two options: the company can buy the hardware outright, setting it up in their office. Or they can pay for a cloud-computing service, such as those offered by Amazon and other providers. By choosing the cloud, however, organizations can pay only for the resources they need, which in turn saves them money.
Another reason why organizations are choosing cloud services is for the convenience it offers to access their files anywhere, anytime. When files are stored on the cloud, they can be accessed from any Internet-connected computer or applicable device. This is a huge benefit for organizations, as it eliminates the otherwise restrictive boundaries of local computers. And when files are stored on the cloud, it prevents against disaster-related data loss.
Cloud Computing Today
Fast forward to 2016, and Amazon is the undisputed leader of cloud computing services. According to a recent report, the world's largest online retailer is the preferred cloud computing provider by businesses. The report, which involved surveying more than 1,000 Informations Technology (IT) professionals, revealed that 57% of respondents used Amazon Web Services (AWS).
Coming in second and third place are Azure IaaS and Azure PaaS respectively. The aforementioned survey found that 17% of IT professionals use Azure IaaS public cloud services, while 13% use Azure PaaS. Granted, those numbers fall well short of Amazon Web Services, but it's still a sizable chunk of the cloud computing market. Oracle Cloud, however, was a distant 9th place in the survey, with just 4% of respondents claiming to use it.
Oracle's Plan to Compete with Amazon
But Oracle is working towards capturing a bigger piece of the cloud computing market. When speaking at OpenWorld earlier this month, the company's CEO explained how demonstrated how Oracle's cloud computing services are faster than Amazon's.
“Amazon Web Services are simply not optimized for the Oracle Database. I'll go further than that: Amazon Web Services aren't optimized for their own databases either, as you will see," revealed Larry Ellison during the keynote speech."It doesn't get better, it gets worse." Ellison then proceeded to reveal a series of benchmark tests that showed Oracle Database outperforming its Amazon counterpart on the cloud.
Ellison also says that Oracle Database is faster than AWS – and not just by a small amount. When speaking at OpenWorld, Ellison claimed that Oracle Database was a whopping 24 times faster than AWS when used for analytic processing, and 8 times faster for online transaction processing (OLTP). Benchmarks such as these suggest that Oracle's signature cloud computing service is the fastest. Of course, some people are skeptical given that the benchmarks were provided by Oracle, which could mean they are biased.
Oracle is also working to reveal several new cloud-based services, one of which is the “Generation 2” cloud. This next-generation cloud goes beyond the standard mechanics of a virtual machine and block storage. The generation 2 Oracle cloud is expected to provide users with high input/output transaction speeds, along with exceptionally low latency. Oracle says this next-generation cloud will also be a flat network, meaning no two compute nodes are more than two units away from each other; thus, offering faster speeds and greater reliability.
In addition to the generation 2 cloud, Oracle has announced plans for bare metal cloud services. Basically, these are non-virtualized compute nodes that provide users with access to physical machines. Bare metal clouds will prove useful for resource-intensive applications, including database management, Hadoop processing, Spark, etc. IBM already offers a bare metal cloud, but it appears that Oracle is jumping on board with plans to release its own in the near future.
Oracle's vision of enhanced cloud computing services don't end there. The company announced a new container cloud service that will run and manage Docker containers. The unnamed service will feature registries that users can run to track container images, application, scheduling, scaling and much more. There's still no word on an exact launch date for this service, although Oracle says it's aiming for the beginning of 2016.
Last but not least, Oracle is planning to bundle infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) into its software-as-a-service (SaaS) and platform-as-a-service (PaaS) products. IaaS has become a hot commodity among organizations, as it allows them to buy virtualized computing resources over the Internet. IaaS is classified as one of the three components of computing, with the other two being SaaS and PaaS.
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