This was originally published on June 4, 2018 on the Amalgam Insights site.
Two weeks ago (May 21, 2018), at Informatica World 2018, Informatica announced a new phase in its partnership with Microsoft. Slated for release in the second half of 2018, the two companies announced that Informatica’s Integration Platform as a Service, or IPaaS, would be available on Microsoft Azure as a native service. This is a different arrangement than Informatica has with other cloud vendors such as Google or Amazon AWS. In those cases, Informatica is more of an engineering partner, developing connectors for their on-premises and cloud offerings. Instead, Informatica IPaaS will be available from the Azure Portal and integrated with other Azure services, especially Azure SQLServer, Microsoft’s cloud database and Azure SQL Data Warehouse.
For Informatica customers who already use Azure, this creates great convenience. Instead of creating server instances on Azure and then installing Informatica software from scratch, customers will be able to create an IPaaS instance from the Azure portal. This allows customer to standup an IPaaS instance much faster and with less effort. Microsoft Azure customers, especially mid-market customers, who may have found an Informatica server IPaaS installation time consuming or daunting will now have an easier option too. Until now, the only way to get an Informatica installation without hand installing it was to purchase a cloud instance directly from Informatica. That would have required two different cloud relationships – Informatica for IPaaS and Microsoft for everything else. Amalgam Insights predicts that this will make Informatica IPaaS much more attractive to the existing Microsoft Azure customer base. The potential is especially high for customers who deploy SQLServer and are actively looking to move those databases to Azure SQLServer.
This partnership also provides Informatica Intelligent Cloud Services customers with a true multi-cloud option. Customers that we spoke to at Informatica World 2018 were interested in multi-cloud – many were already architecting for multi-cloud – and clearly excited by the potential to support their existing Informatica cloud offerings with an easy alternative. While the reasons companies use multi-cloud strategies vary – backup, extra capacity, segmenting architecture, or simply because of unique value in different cloud – most Informatica customers pursuing multi-cloud were excited to have another cloud option that didn’t require manual installation.
Informatica and Microsoft are natural partners. PowerBI makes for an excellent front-end for the line of business user that Informatica is pursuing. Similarly, PowerBI users need well integrated and conditioned data to create meaningful dashboards and visualizations. SQLServer is a popular data source for Informatica’s platform; Having Informatica IPaas on Azure will make the combination of Azure SQLServer and PowerBI more powerful by providing clean data from many databases as one view. This partnership is a win for both Informatica and Microsoft customers, especially their shared customers. We are looking forward to more partnerships like this with other cloud vendors in the future.
As expected, Oracle OpenWorld 2017 (Oct. 1 – 4 2017) featured a large number of announcements. The debut of Oracle 18c, the latest version of Oracle’s eponymous database, grabbed the most attention. Given it’s billing as an autonomous database and Oracle’s flagship product, this is not suprising.. While the idea of a database infused with machine learning that automates all types of database management functions is intriguing, it overshadowed the real impact of Oracle releases. Oracle 18c was only one of several AI-infused “autonomous” products. Instead, the sum of Oracle’s presentations amounted to adding machine learning into all levels in the Big Red Cloud Stack. AI is now integrated into Oracle’s SaaS, PaaS, IaaS cloud products. Oracle didn’t stop with machine learning either. They have imbued their applications with analytics and blockchain technology too. Oracle have made this technology available from within Oracle Cloud Applications and Oracle+NetSuite, providing advanced technology to mid-market organizations through large enterprises.
In essence, Oracle has made sure that all the new technology that everyone has been hearing about for so long is everywhere in the Oracle ecosystem. That’s very exciting. Previously esoteric technology is now available to the corporate masses in a more cost-effective manner. This strategy mirrors Microsoft’s but with greater depth in large enterprise applications. Until recently, organizations that saw value in these new software technologies would have had to hire experts and maintain expensive systems themselves. By integrating them into enterprise applications in domain specific ways, organizations can reap the benefits of advanced software without the cost of building and maintaining it. This approach makes sense; Technology such as machine learning, analytics, or blockchain doesn’t need to be custom built for most organizations. Managing a supply chain using blockchain, for example, will be similar across organizations. The same is true for sales analytics and machine learning for recruiting.
If an enterprise does need to create specialized uses of these technologies, Oracle makes that easier by providing them as cloud infrastructure services. While data scientists and developers trained in blockchain are still needed, the cost and complexity of building, managing, and maintaining the infrastructure is borne by Oracle. Having these advanced technology stacks prepacked as cloud services also means a faster start. Developers can begin writing code immediately instead of having to waste time spinning up the infrastructure. Google, Microsoft, Amazon, and IBM all offer all or some of this technology via the cloud as well. For Oracle loyalists though, the decision to implement just became easier since they no longer have to introduce a new vendor to deploy these types of systems. The tie-in to enterprise cloud applications also simplifies adding customer capabilities to common enterprise applications.
By integrating these three new technologies into everyday enterprise and mid-market applications and providing them as a service, Oracle is making them more accessible to a greater number of organizations. Oracle customers can now gain the benefits of new technology with less of the work or distraction of building it all themselves.