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Oracle Joins Cloud Data Center Expansion Race

January 17, 2017, 4:54 PM UTC
Oracle OpenWorld 2015
Barb Darrow

Add Oracle to the list of vendors announcing big global cloud expansions. On Tuesday, the company said it will add three new data center farms in the next six months with more to follow.

Oracle (ORCL)—which is fighting to get into the top tier of public cloud contenders along with Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform—is adding a new facility in Reston, Va., just outside of Washington D.C. That area has become cloud data center central in the eastern United States. It’s already home to Amazon’s oldest and largest data center facilities (dubbed U.S. East) as well as those powering Microsoft Azure.

Oracle also promised new cloud data centers to come in London and Turkey.

It’s important to put these massive arrays of connected servers and storage relatively close to customers because distance adds delay to computer interactions. Additionally, there are laws in some countries mandating that citizens’ data remain within the nation of origin. That’s why cloud providers rushed to expand their presence in the U.K. during the last year in the wake of Britain’s vote to exit the European Union, commonly referred to as “Brexit.” Amazon (AMZN), Microsoft (MSFT), and IBM (IBM) are all currently building out their presence in the country.

The move, which Oracle said will double its cloud coverage to 29 geographic regions from two years ago, was announced in conjunction with the company’s CloudWorld event in New York on Tuesday.

In cloud speak, each geographic “region” typically is made up of separate data centers which Amazon has called availability zones and which Oracle is calling availability domains. Basically each zone/domain is an independent unit with its own power and cooling. That’s so if one facility goes down, the other will keep operating. Oracle’s regions each contain three such domains, Deepak Patil, vice president of development for Oracle’s cloud, told Fortune.



It’s hard to compare the relative capacities of data centers or regions between companies because most of them treat the details with great secrecy after the press releases go out. But it’s also difficult to see how Oracle can match the multiple billions of dollars a year that Amazon, Microsoft, and Google (GOOG) pour into their data center infrastructure.

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But maybe it’s not necessary. Last year, Oracle senior vice president of cloud development Peter Magnusson told Fortune that Oracle had enough capacity to take care of 99.9% of workloads from Fortune 1000 companies. And at Tuesday’s event, Oracle co-chief executive Mark Hurd and president Thomas Kurian were on hand to tout the company’s line up of public cloud infrastructure plus its full lineup of database and applications software—all delivered via Oracle’s cloud.

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Oracle claims its cloud now handles 55 billion transactions daily for such customers as Pepsi (PEP), General Electric (GE), T-Mobile (TMUS), and Trek (TRKX).

Having said that, Amazon, Microsoft, IBM, and Google are all targeting those same accounts.

UPDATE (01/17/2017 2:35 p.m): This story was updated to add Deepak Patil’s explanation of Oracle availability domains.