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Oracle Database Service for Azure connects Microsoft to OCI

Oracle and Microsoft are extending their partnership to enable Microsoft cloud users to directly provision and access Oracle Cloud Infrastructure database services.

The Oracle Database Service for Azure became generally available on Wednesday, providing users of the Microsoft Azure cloud with access to databases running in Oracle Cloud Infrastructure.

The Oracle Database Service for Azure is not Oracle's software running on Microsoft hardware in Azure. Rather, the new service is an integration that enables Microsoft Azure users to provision and access Oracle database services, running in Oracle's cloud, from within the Microsoft cloud.

The Oracle Database Service for Azure supports Oracle Autonomous Database and Exadata Database Service, as well as Oracle Autonomous Data Warehouse cloud services operating in Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI).

Microsoft and Oracle have been collaborating for the last several years to support interconnection between their cloud services. The idea behind the partnership between the tech giants is to provide low-latency connections so that users on either cloud can more easily access services from both Microsoft and Oracle.

With the Oracle Database Service for Azure, the partnership goes a step further with an integrated service specifically designed to support databases.

Oracle has gone to considerable lengths to make the provisioning and operation of its databases smooth for Azure customers, enabling operations functions from a familiar Azure user interface, said Holger Mueller, analyst at Constellation Research.

When competitors start cooperating, it is good news for the joint customers. And this is the case for Microsoft and Oracle partnering, making it easier to use and consume Oracle database capabilities in Microsoft Azure.
Holger MuellerAnalyst, Constellation Research

"When competitors start cooperating, it is good news for the joint customers," Mueller said. "And this is the case for Microsoft and Oracle partnering, making it easier to use and consume Oracle database capabilities in Microsoft Azure."

How Oracle Database Service for Azure works

Leo Leung, vice president of product management at OCI, explained that the interconnection between OCI and Microsoft Azure to date has been what he referred to as a foundational feature that provides a base level of capabilities for operating services across both clouds.

The interconnection allows for low-latency connections between the two clouds, but there was more work that organizations needed to do on their own to federate identity and enable integrated access to applications.

The Oracle Database Service for Azure provides federated identity, enabling a Microsoft Azure user to access services in OCI without separately logging in to OCI. Now users can manage and view Oracle database services running in OCI within their Azure console.

Azure users will now also be able to more easily integrate Oracle databases with other Microsoft cloud services, such as Azure Synapse Analytics and the Power BI business analytics platform.

"The Azure customer doesn't have to understand anything new. They're just able to get access to our cloud and database services," Leung said.

Meanwhile, Kris Rice, vice president of development at Oracle, said the interconnection between Azure and OCI can support fast loading of data from either cloud.

"So, from the Oracle database side, you could do a load from the Azure object storage and then use that for your database processing," he said.

Oracle could support more multi-cloud operations in the future

At launch, Oracle is aiming to deliver an integrated service for Microsoft Azure users -- one that provides database operations and logging information directly in a user's Azure dashboard.

There is, however, one particular piece of information that is missing.

While the Oracle Database Service for Azure provides users with an integration identity and database operations experience, it doesn't currently connect with billing. Rice said that for database usage billing, Azure users will still need to come back and log directly into the OCI portal.

The new service for Azure is also likely the first of several such Oracle partnerships that will emerge in the future with other cloud providers.

"This is a pattern that we can replicate with other vendors," Rice said.

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