Amazon is not exactly alone in the cloud computing market, its Amazon Web Services dominate the space and direct competitors are few, if any, at least at the scale Amazon operates, but there are plenty of flavors of clouds and big players like Google and Microsoft or specialized ones like Rackspace are at least competing if not winning. You can add another name to the list, Oracle.
During the opening keynote of the big OpenWorld annual conference that Oracle hosts in San Francisco, CEO Larry Ellison announced a new cloud service as well as a new version of its standard database software.
Granted, Oracle already has a few cloud services, but it's now offering infrastructure-as-a-service, or hardware-as-a-service as it puts it, i.e. the same thing AWS' EC2.
Oracle already offers software-as-a-service, where companies pay to access cloud apps, and platform-as-a-service where companies pay to have their apps hosted in the cloud.
Unlike Amazon, Oracle only plans to offer its own hardware and software as part of the service, which Amazon obviously can't. Oracle's new cloud will run Oracle OS (a rebranded Red Hat Enterprise Linux), Oracle VMs, Oracle's storage services and so on.
The company will offer a public cloud, i.e. one that's shared by all customers using several Oracle data centers, but will also have the same service as a private cloud, one located on premises and only available to the company paying for it.
This private cloud will be identical to the public one and Oracle will even own the hardware and handle the maintenance and updates.
The new Oracle 12c database, the latest iteration of its base database software which has just been announced, where the 'c' stands for "cloud," will be the basis of this new cloud. At the core of the new version is multi-tenancy, companies will be able to share the same database without them even being aware of each other.