Microsoft and tech company Oracle are long-standing rivals in the cloud market and directly compete against each other. However, both giants surprised industry watchers this week by announcing a cloud collaboration. The new partnership links Microsoft Azure and Oracle Cloud services together.

“As the cloud of choice for the enterprise, with over 95% of the Fortune 500 using Azure, we have always been first and foremost focused on helping our customers thrive on their digital transformation journeys,” said Scott Guthrie, executive vice president of Microsoft’s Cloud and AI division. “With Oracle’s enterprise expertise, this alliance is a natural choice for us as we help our joint customers accelerate the migration of enterprise applications and databases to the public cloud.”

So, why is this a surprise? Well, firstly, Microsoft and Oracle are two competing cloud rivals, so no-one predicted a link up. In fact, Microsoft has previously actively attempted to entice Oracle users onto its Azure platform.

Back in 2016, the company offered to migrate Oracle Cloud users to its own SQL Server database solution for free.

It seems both companies have decided if you can’t beat them, join them. The new Azure partnership with Oracle Cloud will allow Microsoft services like Analytics and AI to connect with Oracle services such as Autonomous Database.

“The Oracle Cloud offers a complete suite of integrated applications for sales, service, marketing, human resources, finance, supply chain and manufacturing, plus highly automated and secure Generation 2 infrastructure featuring the Oracle Autonomous Database,” said Don Johnson, executive vice president, Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI). “Oracle and Microsoft have served enterprise customer needs for decades. With this partnership, our joint customers can migrate their entire set of existing applications to the cloud without having to re-architect anything, preserving the large investments they have already made.”

Collaboration Benefits

In a blog post today, Microsoft discussed the benefits of linking Azure with Oracle. The company points to the ability for customers to extend their on-premises database across cloud services. Custom applications will now be unified through a single experience, and identity will be more seamless:

  • “Connect Azure and Oracle Cloud seamlessly, allowing customers to extend their on-premises datacenters to both clouds. This direct interconnect is available starting today in Ashburn (North America) and Azure US East, with plans to expand additional regions in the future.
  • Unified identity and access management, via a unified single sign-on experience and automated user provisioning, to manage resources across Azure and Oracle Cloud. Also available in early preview today, Oracle applications can use Azure Active Directory as the identity provider and for conditional access.
  • Supported deployment of custom applications and packaged Oracle applications (JD Edwards EnterpriseOne, E-Business Suite, PeopleSoft, Oracle Retail, Hyperion) on Azure with Oracle databases (RAC, Exadata, Autonomous Database) deployed in Oracle Cloud. The same Oracle applications will also be certified to run on Azure with Oracle databases in Oracle Cloud.
  • A collaborative support model to help IT organizations deploy these new capabilities while enabling them to leverage existing customer support relationships and processes.
  • Oracle Database will continue to be certified to run in Azure on various operating systems, including Windows Server and Oracle Linux.”