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Oracle Disses Cloud Real Estate to its Own DetrimentOracle Disses Cloud Real Estate to its Own Detriment

In the midst of a rush to the cloud, Oracle CEO Mark Hurd told Fortune 'real estate' is not much of a factor. He may learn otherwise.

Charles Babcock

May 9, 2017

8 Min Read
Source: Pixabay

Ed Featherston, principal architect at Cloud Technology Partners in Boston, has asked whether 2017 is the year the cloud land grab?

He's compared the migration to the cloud to the 1860s migration West. It's a good analogy.  In the 1862, the federal government passed the Homestead Act where settlers could get 160 acres of public land for free by living on it for five years. The move set off a huge land rush.

The comparison to the cloud is imperfect – no government action required. But as governors of their domains, the cloud suppliers are attracting droves of new customers by extending free offers and making it extraordinarily easy to settle. "Four months into the year, 2017 is shaping up to be the year of the great cloud land grab," wrote Featherston, comparing the present migrations to the cloud to its Conestoga wagon-based predeceessor.

Microsoft, Google, IBM and Amazon would all like to see more permanent customers moving into their clouds. So would Oracle, although it's late to take part in the "land grab."

Don't believe you'll need access to a hyperscale data center? Check out Uptime Institute: Enterprise Server Footprint Flat or Shrinking?

To cater to this mass migration, Amazon Web Services has invested in massive cloud data centers around the world. Knowing AWS' headstart is an issue, Oracle CEO Mark Hurd explained it away to Fortune in a story April 12: We Can Beat Amazon and Microsoft Without as Many Data Centers.

The world is seeing a build out of massive data centers on a scale not seen before. By hyperscale, think of the Facebook facility in Prineville, Ore., or the Microsoft data center outside Chicago with room for 300,000 servers. The number of hyperscale facilities has increased from 259 in 2015 to 346 by the end of 2017. It'll increase further to 399 in 2018 and 485 in 2020, according to Cisco's Global Cloud Index compiled with Synergy Research. Those 485 will represent 47% or nearly half of the data center servers in operation in 2020. Hyperscale centers will eventually overshadow the remaining enterprise data center facilities in server footprint.

The biggest investors are the big four of cloud computing: IBM, Google, Microsoft and Amazon Web Services. Synergy director of research, John Dinsdale, told Fortune: “What marks them out as different is their global presence, marketing muscle, ability to fund huge investments in hyperscale data centers and, in most cases, a determination to succeed in the market.”


About the Author(s)

Charles Babcock

Editor at Large, Cloud

Charles Babcock is an editor-at-large for InformationWeek and author of Management Strategies for the Cloud Revolution, a McGraw-Hill book. He is the former editor-in-chief of Digital News, former software editor of Computerworld and former technology editor of Interactive Week. He is a graduate of Syracuse University where he obtained a bachelor's degree in journalism. He joined the publication in 2003.

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