Oracle expanding depth of its cloud development platform

Six new services are in the works, but no availability date was released

Oracle is giving its entry into the platform-as-a-service market (PaaS) an injection of new services in hopes of differentiating it from the likes of Windows Azure and Salesforce.com's Salesforce1.

It unveiled plans for six new platform services at the OpenWorld conference in San Francisco on Monday. They include a Big Data Cloud that incorporates Hadoop; a back-end infrastructure for mobile applications; an integration service for tying together both cloud and on-premises applications; business process management; a Node.js cloud for deploying JavaScript applications on Oracle's compute service; and a service for running applications written in Java SE 7 and 8.

The company also announced that the foundational elements of its PaaS, which include a cloud database, application server, development environment and messaging service, are now generally available. Oracle made its initial PaaS announcements in late 2011.

Oracle CTO and executive chairman Larry Ellison is expected to demonstrate the platform during a keynote address on Tuesday at OpenWorld.

It wasn't clear when the six new services would all be available.

Overall, Monday's platform announcements reflect Oracle's intention to become a one-stop shop for all of its customers' needs in the cloud, from SaaS (software-as-a-service) applications to PaaS and down to the IaaS (infrastructure-as-a-service) layer.

While Ellison has said the company will price its IaaS competitively with the likes of Amazon Web Services, it's not clear it has much of a choice due to the ongoing price wars in that market.

The pricing question is much different for the other elements of Oracle's cloud stack, given that it is trying to manage the job of transitioning its massive on-premises software business to a cloud subscription model. On-premises software is typically bought via a perpetual license, and then customers pay sizable annual maintenance fees, which carry lucrative profit margins, for updates and support.

While cloud vendors try to model subscription pricing in a way that generates the same amount of money over time, Oracle and its peers are grappling with a significant cultural change at the sales level, something pure cloud rivals such as Salesforce.com don't have to worry about.

Oracle is looking to partners for help with its move to a cloud business model.

It's now working to sign up VAD (value-added distributor) partners suitable for offering cloud implementation and managed services, according to a statement released Monday.

Oracle has also launched a new online community for partners, where they can learn about programs and opportunities.

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris' email address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com

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