The recent news regarding Oracle and blockchain technology is really important. In some ways, Oracle’s embrace of the blockchain is more significant than IBM’s big bet on the technology and Microsoft’s support for it.
While Oracle’s blockchain ambitions were socialized over the summer via blog posts and low-key presentations, the official launch of the Oracle Blockchain Cloud Service took place at the company’s annual Oracle OpenWorld conference on October 2.
“Oracle Blockchain Cloud Service provides enterprise-grade blockchain capabilities and is able to accelerate innovation for on-premises [enterprise resource planning (ERP)] and cloud-based [Software as a Service (SaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS)] customers,” noted Amit Zavery, senior vice president of Oracle Cloud Platform.
Oracle’s blockchain offering is based on the open-source Hyperledger Fabric, running on Oracle’s cloud offering, via which Oracle has begun to deliver applications for ERP, customer relationship management (CRM), human capital planning and supply chain management.
Launched in 2011, Oracle’s cloud also offers a platform on which third parties can develop their own applications, drawing on an array of databases, service-oriented architecture (SOA), integration middleware and a number of enterprise Java services (Oracle has acted as a key steward of the open-source language following its 2010 acquisition of Sun Microsystems, which created Java). So, why is Oracle’s blockchain offering so important? After all, on the face of it, Oracle’s service is “me too” in that it looks similar to services already offered by IBM and also recently introduced by SAP, a key competitor in the business application and database spaces. Both IBM’s and SAP’s blockchain platforms are based on Hyperledger’s Fabric codebase (indeed, IBM was a major code contributor and remains a key maintainer).
The “me too” analysis probably fits — not least as Oracle is marrying blockchain technology with cloud technology, and it also sees clouds as a channel to play in the artificial intelligence and Internet of Things (IoT) worlds. Comparisons to IBM’s Watson IoT and SAP’s Leonardo are valid, even if there are differentiation devils in the details. The answer lies not in what Oracle has done but rather that it has done it.
For sure, Oracle has a strong technology portfolio covering hardware, systems and middleware software, and business applications. Moreover, anecdotal evidence suggests that it has created a credible internal group of blockchain technologists. It has also begun to file patents, including one this summer titled “Accountability and Trust in Distributed Ledger Systems,” which describes its own permissionless blockchain implementation, based on an open-source offering from Tendermint.
As a generality, though, the company is not a first mover and does not operate at the technology bleeding edge. True, it does have an Oracle Labs operation, staffed no doubt by clever technology futurists (about 100 of them), but it’s not on the same scale as IBM’s 3,000-strong research division.
Read the full article originally published here.