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Oracle plans to hire about 2,000 workers for Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, its second take on an AWS-style cloud platform, in a move that could bolster confidence in its customers and prospects.
The new job roles will span software development, infrastructure operations and business development, Oracle said.
While Oracle lags well behind AWS, Microsoft and Google in the IaaS market, it has positioned Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) for more specialized workloads, particularly applications that use its flagship database and can benefit from the Exadata hardware that underpins OCI.
Oracle executives have stressed that cloud computing remains fairly nascent, with most workloads still on-premises. Oracle EVP Don Johnson, who leads the OCI business, expressed similar sentiments in a statement, adding that large companies are only now starting to move their most critical workloads -- the ones Oracle wants to target with OCI -- to the cloud.
Last month's OpenWorld conference served as a showcase for OCI, which also runs Oracle's large array of SaaS applications. While Oracle has had its most success with cloud in SaaS, it is not about to give up on IaaS, as the hiring plan reflects.
Still, Oracle is not going it alone and has ceded certain ground to others. In June, the company formed an interoperability pact around OCI and Azure, which includes dedicated high-speed interconnects between Oracle and Microsoft data centers.
This will enable scenarios such as running an application's logic and presentation tiers on Azure infrastructure, while calling back to an Oracle database hosted on an Exadata machine inside OCI.
Oracle Cloud Infrastructure's aggressive expansion
The hiring spree comes as less of a surprise when you consider Oracle's plan to aggressively expand OCI's data center footprint. Oracle cloud infrastructure has 16 regions around the world now, and Oracle plans to launch another 20 by the end of next year, according to a statement. Within that, 11 countries or jurisdictions will have multiple regions to support disaster recovery and other scenarios, Oracle said.
Oracle will achieve this not by building its own data centers, but rather through co-location agreements with other providers, SVP Clay Magouyrk told TechTarget in a recent interview.
The hiring plan represents about an 11% increase over Oracle's 18,000 employees in cloud services and license support operations, as listed in its most recent 10-K filing.
In March, Oracle made an unspecified number of layoffs that reportedly targeted OCI Classic, the first iteration of its IaaS, which is partly based on OpenStack. Oracle is no longer actively selling OCI Classic.
An Oracle spokeswoman declined to comment on whether the 2,000 new hires will be accompanied by further layoffs. The hires will be made over the next 12 to 18 months, she added.
There are two main points of attraction for customers with OCI, said Deepak Mohan, an analyst with IDC. One is Oracle's well-established software footprint in enterprise IT environments, which helps it present OCI as the optimal cloud environment for Oracle applications.
OCI has also resonated with customers around custom applications that have high compute requirements, Mohan added. "This includes traditional HPC applications like model simulations, performance-sensitive cloud-native applications, as well as new application areas like machine learning," he said.
Overall, Oracle's hiring plan is a sign that OCI is delivering results for the company, said Holger Mueller, an analyst with Constellation Research in Cupertino, Calif. But how Oracle spreads out this investment will be critical, Mueller added.
Holger MuellerAnalyst, Constellation Research
"The art is to invest along the value chain from marketing, sales and presales to services like consulting, support and customer success," he said. "Oracle has to make sure it has the right resources in place when customer demand picks up so that it doesn't get any growing pains."
Oracle also has to ensure it can build enough Exadata hardware to keep up with customer demand, according to Mueller. Exadata systems underpin OCI and Oracle uses this as a competitive differentiator. "That means supplier contracts have to scale up so Oracle does not hit a platform bottleneck," he said.