Oracle puts its 11g database in Amazon's cloud

Data, along with database and middleware licenses, can be moved to the Amazon cloud without incurring additional Oracle license fees

Oracle is now offering its 11g database, Fusion Middleware, and Enterprise Manager products through Amazon Web Services' EC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud), the vendor announced Monday at the start of its OpenWorld conference in San Francisco.

The vendor will also let customers use existing software licenses on EC2 at no additional cost.

[ For more news from Oracle OpenWorld 2008, check out InfoWorld's special report. ]

To help customers get up and running on EC2, Oracle has developed a set of AMIs (Amazon Machine Images). These allow users to spool up new virtual machines already provisioned with 11g, Fusion Middleware, and Oracle Enterprise Linux within a few minutes, the company said.

Oracle also announced Secure Backup Cloud Module, a software package based on Oracle Secure Backup that allows customers to backup databases to Amazon Simple Storage Service. Backups can be encrypted and the module is integrated with Oracle Recovery Manager and Enterprise Manager.

The announcements are "an important, game-changing move for both Oracle and Amazon," Forrester Research analyst James Kobielus said Monday.

"By allowing database and middleware licenses -- and data -- to be moved to the Amazon cloud without incurring additional Oracle license fees, it makes cloud-based hosting an attractive alternative for Oracle's huge, global customer base," he added. "Of course, it remains to be seen how Amazon will charge to host Oracle applications and databases in EC2 or to backup large data sets to S3."

Security concerns as well as the declining costs of scalable, on-premises grid storage products may discourage some customers from tapping the Amazon services, according to Kobielus.

That said, Oracle's announcement should have a macro effect on the market, as it "sets the stage for further virtualization of all leading database, data warehousing, and storage vendors' product stacks," Kobielus said. "So far, Oracle is the only one of the leading [database/data warehousing] vendors that has moved its relational database to Amazon, so it can be considered a first-mover in that regard."

It's likely that Oracle will look to support other cloud platforms besides Amazon in the future, Kobielus said.

But other vendors, such IBM or Teradata, may not want to support their customers moving database installations to third-party services, and may instead choose to offer their own hosted services, according to Kobielus.

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