Following his keynote presentation at the Oracle Cloud Day event in Boston, Ashish Mohindroo, vice president of Oracle Cloud, answered questions during an exclusive interview regarding his view of cloud computing technology and what he expects to see in 2018.
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In his keynote presentation, Mohindroo identified six ways in which businesses are moving to the cloud. All are equally viable, and they all have a different appeal, depending on the age of the company, its compute workload and compliance mandates, among other factors.
Regardless of the path chosen, the result should deliver performance superior to the current on-premises infrastructure and be based on open technologies. In other words, while Oracle will be happiest if your company uses its cloud platform while running an Oracle database, it will still be content if you’re on its platforms running SQL or NoSQL.
In your keynote presentation, you discussed the concept of polyglot cloud application development. Is that a new concept for cloud computing technology?
Is that where new technologies like AI and containers come into play?
Mohindroo: A number of these things are enabling [developers] to build interesting kinds of applications. So, AI can be used for multiple things. New customer focus applications — how do you analyze data more effectively? How to do pattern recognition? How do you build better security into your applications? Containers — how do you deploy applications that are scalable, that are portable, that are packaged in an easy manner that can be lifted and shifted across different environments?
Cloud computing technology has not solved the problem of silos but merely moved them off premises. With businesses subscribing to dozens or hundreds of SaaS applications, isn’t the need to integrate all those pieces greater than ever?
Mohindroo: It was so easy to access cloud services that anybody can do that on their own, and it’s very cost-efficient. You don’t need a tremendous budget to get started. What has happened is the proliferation of a lot of cloud services across your organization and company, and all these services are built on different technology stacks. They don’t have the same common APIs. The similar stuff you used to have in a data center on the back end when we were buying siloed applications, now, you’re consuming siloed services in the cloud. It’s a big challenge for companies.
What is Oracle doing to help IT take back control?
Mohindroo: One is to get visibility — what’s getting consumed. The second is: How do you integrate these services across the board? We have a service called CASB [Oracle Cloud Access Security Broker], which is designed for you to get visibility in what services are being consumed in which cloud by which organization or individual so you can get better controls around that. We have a number of integration services that help you integrate different cloud services, whether it’s a data layer, process layer or API layer.
You suggested that clouds will become self-driving and self-learning. Won’t that take away from the roles of developers and operations?
Mohindroo: I think it’s a great opportunity for developers. It is a boon for developers because developers typically don’t like the operational side of managing applications. They like to focus on writing code, delivering new innovation and not worrying about the day-to-day operations of running an application. What we’re really doing with autonomous software is taking away a lot of that piece — that pain in the operational layer — and the cloud manages it by itself. Developers can now focus on new innovations, new applications that they can build on top of it, without worrying about backing up the data, patching the database, upgrading the database, making sure it’s scalable. All of those things are now delivered to them as a platform, and they focus on the next layer above.
Is this the next incarnation of DevOps?
Mohindroo: We actually are bringing more agility to the concept. You’re learning from it, and it’s giving you intelligence in terms of what the issues are so you can address them to deliver a better quality of service to your end customers. From our perspective, we’re aiding that process and bringing more agility into the continuous integration/continuous delivery model.
Are the Oracle platform’s tools optimized for businesses that use Oracle database technology?
Mohindroo: We are a technology company overall. Our mantra has always been ‘open.’ We give customers the flexibility to pick and choose the tools they want to use. Ideally, we think we have the best database in the world, so they should be taking advantage of that. If they choose to choose other databases, whether it is SQL, NoSQL or in-memory, our cloud platform is designed to incorporate that and give them the same quality of service that we would expect from Oracle.
In addition to rewriting apps or installing a cloud infrastructure on premises, you discuss lift and shift as one of six ways to get applications into the cloud.
Ashish MohindrooVice President, Oracle Cloud
Mohindroo: One area I do see customers deeply interested in is the concept of lift and shift — to move workloads. Customers are putting this in two categories: modernization and innovation. In the modernization, they’re looking to take their existing applications and bring them to the 21st century, in the modern environment, an environment of microservices, into a new architecture. What they really want to do is wrap the existing legacy applications into a container and move it to the cloud — or, at least, just move it to the cloud and then do extensions on top of that.
The second area is innovation where they’re building brand new applications. Leveraging technologies like AI, machine learning and IoT [internet of things] and containers to really develop the next generation of applications for their company. We see a combination of these two, but for a traditional company, we see a lot of them trying to take advantage of the existing systems they have versus rewriting it and bringing it into the modern environment.
When we look at legacy banks and legacy retailers, they often have code running on a mainframe that is 50 years old.
Mohindroo: People have been predicting the death of the mainframe for a very long time, and there are still some use cases out there in the market. This comes as a concept of modernization. Most companies don’t want to deal with rewriting all that code because it’s an application that’s running and they’re trusting it. What they really want to do is bring it into the modern era. They want to wrap it with new APIs, REST-based services, expose that so it can be incorporated [into] the new architecture, into the systems they’re building. They make calls from and to it. That’s what a lot of these companies are doing instead of shutting it down right away. They first bring them into this new modern architecture and then, over time, phasing them out completely.
A year from now, what will application development look like, and where will platform as a service (PaaS) be?
Mohindroo: We’re moving very fast from customers that were starting out to build their own services on top of compute and storage — what we call the IaaS [infrastructure as a service] layer — into the PaaS layer, which are managed services. They’re realizing the efficiencies and value of the services we’re bringing to them. They want to be out of the operational business [and] bring innovation and deliver services faster to the end customer at a much more price-efficient point. I see a faster adoption of PaaS into the next 12 months than ever before, and that’s only going to accelerate.
What has surprised you most about cloud computing technology?
Mohindroo: The rate of adoption and the value the customers are getting out of it. And the kinds of innovation and new business models that have sprung up from it that you couldn’t think are possible that are now becoming day-to-day services. I think the pace of innovation and adoption by customers are the two biggest things that I always get enamored by and get excited about.