Microsoft and Oracle's new partnership means that you can run Oracle's namesake database software on Hyper-V and Azure, and Java apps will eventually be supported on Azure. It's good news for enterprises running a mixed Oracle/Windows environment and looking to expand into the cloud, and also suggests that Oracle is also going to give up on its own attempts in the virtualisation market.
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Under the partnership, which was announced this morning, Oracle customers can immediately deploy Oracle software, including Oracle Database and WebLogic Server, on virtual machines within Hyper-V, or as instances on the Azure Cloud platform.
The main barrier to running Oracle within Hyper-V in the past hasn't been technical, but one of licensing; Oracle has previously structured its licensing in a way that makes running in virtual environments (other than ones its provides itself) more expensive. It also hasn't offered official support for Hyper-V as a certified platform.
The new arrangement introduces licence mobility and certifies Hyper-V and Azure as platforms, which eliminates that hassle. You'll still have to pay for Oracle licences, but you won't pay a virtualisation penalty if you're using Hyper-V. That could give Microsoft a leg-up in its battle with VMware, which still dominates the enterprise virtualisation space.
On the cloud front, Oracle is already offered on Amazon Web Services, so gaining access is good news for Microsoft's competitive stance, even though it would undoubtedly prefer Azure customers to be using its own SQL Server product. The rules for Oracle product in cloud environments are a little tricky — you can only run a maximum of 16 virtual cores, and each four cores counts as one socket — but the option is there.
Further down the track, Java will be made available as a programming platform under Azure, and system images of Oracle Database, WebLogic Server and Oracle Linux will be offered as standard installations on Azure. Azure already offers numerous other Linux installations (Red Hat being the only visible exception), and Oracle Linux isn't widely used, but it's often handy to have extra choices.