Oracle acquires Nimbula

Technology providers in recent years have faced the growing challenge of delivering high performance solutions at price points that deliver high value-per-cost for a large range of customers. The growing popularity of the open source philosophy, which is being incorporated into hardware and software design, has led to greater transparency and valuable contributions from numerous industry players. As a result, companies are busy expanding their offerings to incorporate core open technology concepts.

Oracle recently showcased the value of widening its technology portfolio when it acquired cloud pioneer Nimbula. Nimbula has expertise from its founder Chris Pinkham, who was originally an architect for Amazon Web Services. InformationWeek editor Charles Babcock observed that it could be a maneuver to bring Oracle's solutions in line with the open philosophy, as Nimbula Director was recently transformed into an orchestrator for open source cloud platform OpenStack. While this conflicts with Oracle's traditional cloud computing model, moving toward an open design philosophy could potentially yield a number of advantages:

  • Increased customer trust by fostering transparent design
  • Improved flexibility by taking concepts from other open source design projects
  • Better incorporation of best practices by working closely with contributors

Babcock is not alone in thinking that this move could signal a future contribution to the OpenStack platform from Oracle. RedMonk analyst James Governor observed that the company would glean more value from investing in solutions based on OpenStack rather than advancing the proprietary cloud model.

Open philosophy values transparency

Proponents of the open philosophy value transparency in design. While it is often applied to application development, making design specifications and concepts freely available provides a framework for continuous improvement and customization in other scenarios. For example, one company may optimize technology within its own environment, while the same implementation in another setting would result in wasted resources. An open approach would allow the second company to fine-tune the design to better accommodate its unique needs.

In the case of OpenStack, the technology may have the potential to build trust in public cloud services, which have traditionally been hindered in the enterprise market due to security concerns. At the recent OpenStack summit, developers came together to outline how to best balance usability with the safeguards needed to protect cloud-stored data. Vin Sharma of Intel suggested that OpenStack's infrastructure should be hardened with authentication, encryption, role-based access control, containment and a number of other security features. While these capabilities have been refined in on-premise systems, some have yet to be fully adapted to cloud environments.

Technologies currently in development for OpenStack are aimed at improving trust in the public cloud by incorporating more robust attestation of hypervisor attributes, particularly for sensitive data. Data classification and prioritization emerged from the summit as another area that could improve public cloud viability in the enterprise market.

Building trust through partnerships

Oracle's recent acquisition shows a movement toward the open technology paradigm and the framework that open hardware and software creates. Because contributions come from multiple stakeholders and different companies are able to fine-tune their technology, it showcases the value of partnerships.

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