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Oracle beefs up in-country cloud for the UK in an un-Safe Harbor world

Stuart Lauchlan Profile picture for user slauchlan February 1, 2016
As Safe Harbor II fails to materialize on schedule, Oracle's made a timely announcement about expanding in-country cloud services in the UK.

dermot o'kelly
Dermot O'Kelly

As the US cloud industry enters uncharted waters with the failure to reach agreement with the European Commission on a replacement for Safe Harbor, Oracle’s made a timely announcement of expansion of UK in-country data center operations to support its cloud activities.

The US giant’s existing data center in Slough, which currently offers Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and some Infrastrucuture-as-a-Service (IaaS), will now be adding Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) to the mix, including Oracle Database Cloud Service, Oracle Dedicated Compute Cloud Service, Oracle Big Data Cloud Service and Oracle Exadata Cloud Service.

In a market in which global data sovereignty issues remain unresolved - and likely to remain that way for some considerable time - Oracle, in common with other US cloud players, such as Salesforce and NetSuite, has been expanding its network of data centers so as to offer in-region services in strategic markets.

For example, last week Oracle announced it would open a new Abu Dhabi data center to service customers throughout the United Arab Emirates. The firm currently runs 19 data centers around the world.

Announcing the latest expansion in London, Oracle President Thomas Kurian, said:

CIOs are facing increased pressure to balance operational responsibilities with rising expectations all under greater scrutiny from the boardroom. Much of their future success is dependent on quickly exploiting new digital innovations and that is where cloud plays a huge part. We have introduced PaaS capabilities into the UK data center to ensure Oracle continues to help customers maximize existing technologies and new innovations and allow CIOs to set the agenda for the future of their organizations.

It’s clear that the company has its sights set on the government cloud opportunity, scoring a supportive quote from Iain Patterson, CEO, Common Technology Services, Government Digital Service :

I am delighted with the investments Oracle is making in this UK data center. With several government bodies already using services from this facility, the expansion provides greater capabilities and further choice and meets additional important Public Sector requirements. Government is committed to a cloud first policy and significant supplier investments, such as this, support our strategic ambition and will ultimately provide better value and better services to the taxpayer.

In-country benefits

I sat down later with Dermot O’Kelly, Senior Vice President for Oracle UK, Ireland and Israel, who told me that Oracle sees a lot of the advantage in cloud investment is in the platform and being able to offer that in-country is important:

You have some big calls to make about whether to invest. We’ve done it early. Other people are announcing they’re opening data centers; we’ve done it already. And we can do more now that we have PaaS.

It’s important to follow what clients want when it comes to data issues, he argued:

Some people are sensitive about where their data is.

Data is a funny thing. There’s so much of it and you need to decide which parts are sensitive and what you want to keep on premise and what in the cloud.

O'Kelly cited a specific area of spend as a case in point:

We see customers spending heavily on test and development. You can’t go live with that. So people have huge arrays of infrastructure and platform which they have to set up and take down and reconfigure. Why do that? It doesn’t give you an advantage. Do that in the public cloud. It will save you money, it’s more automated, you can get it instantaneously.

Then if you decide that the application is a bit super-sensitive and that the data that’s going into it isn’t something you want on a public cloud, then we can le you move it behind the firewall, on premise or hybrid cloud.

But on the subject of Safe Harbor and the negotiations for a revised framework, O’Kelly holds the corporate line - indeed, the US cloud industry line - of saying nothing, other than:

Once there’s clarity as to what [the replacement] is, then we will comply.

When pressed further on the lack of public comment from leading US cloud firms, not just Oracle, he added:

I can’t comment on other US companies.

I don’t think it’s our place to tell the European Union what to do.

My take

Coming on the back of the planned expansion of cloud personnel in EMEA last month, this latest announcement is further indication of Oracle’s intent to build out its non-US cloud footprint.

That GDS endorsement is interesting as well. Derek du Preez will be picking up on that later today.

Disclosure - at time of writing, Oracle, NetSuite and Salesforce are premier partners of diginomica. 

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