InfStones and Oracle work together to deliver a robust, secure, and scalable Web3 infrastructure development platform for enterprise customers
DALLAS, Aug. 9, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- InfStones and Oracle today announced that they are collaborating on integrating InfStones' leading blockchain development platform with Oracle Cloud Infra-structure (OCI) to accelerate Web3 development. This collaboration will help deliver important insights that drive the evolution, development, and adoption of Web3 applications worldwide.
InfStones endorses a global multi-cloud strategy to serve the needs of its rapidly growing portfolio of Enterprise customers. The new combination of InfStones platforms running on OCI delivers on the price performance, scalability, and security needs of enterprise customers and provides additional options for customers building and developing next-generation blockchain applications.
"Our goal at InfStones is to reduce barriers to entry for new companies looking to incorporate blockchain technology into their stack," stated Dr. Zhen Wu Shi, CEO, InfStones. "Partnering with Oracle Cloud Infrastructure offers enterprise customers a robust infrastructure across OCI's multiple regions worldwide. We were also extremely impressed with the dedicated technical support provided by the OCI team and their support for our growth strategy."
"The power of the InfStones platform and Oracle's next-generation cloud infra-structure provides our joint customers with an extremely performant, reliable, and secure platform for developing decentralized Web3 applications," said Chris Gandolfo, Senior Vice President of Cloud Venture, Oracle. "Working with cutting-edge leaders in blockchain infrastructure like InfStones allows us to provide a robust solution for our enterprise customers as they increasingly look to Web3 development to solve the next-generation of IT problems. InfStones can provide complementary capabilities to OCI customers by leveraging the InfStones platform API gateway service for faster and more scalable API access to Ethereum, IBC, Polkadot, and many other blockchain ecosystems."
Oracle will work with InfStones to bring their enterprise blockchain customers to more verticals and builders across the Web3 development ecosystem.
InfStones is an advanced, enterprise-grade Platform as a Service (PaaS) blockchain infrastructure provider trusted by the top blockchain companies in the world. InfStones' AI-based infrastructure provides people around the world with a rugged, powerful node management platform alongside an easy-to-use API. With over 10,000 nodes supported on more than 60 blockchains, InfStones gives developers all the control they need - reliability, speed, efficiency, security, and scalability - for cross-chain DeFi, NFT, GameFi, and decentralized application development. InfStones is trusted by the biggest blockchain companies in the world including Binance, Coinlist, BitGo, OKX, Chainlink, Polygon, Harmony, and Kucoin, among a hundred other customers. The company is dedicated to developing the next evolution of a better world through limitless Web3 innovation.
For more information visit: www.infstones.com
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Oracle and Microsoft announced the general availability of Oracle Database Service for Microsoft Azure.
With this new offering, Microsoft Azure customers can easily provision, access, and monitor enterprise-grade Oracle Database services in Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) with a familiar experience. Users can migrate or build new applications on Azure and then connect to the high-performance, high-availability, managed Oracle Database services such as Autonomous Database running on OCI.
Offering Customers Choice with Azure and OCI Multicloud Capabilities
Over the last two decades, thousands of customers have relied on Microsoft and Oracle software working well together to run their business-critical applications. As customers migrate applications and data to the cloud, they continue to look for joint solutions from their trusted software partners. Since 2019, when Oracle and Microsoft partnered to deliver the Oracle Interconnect for Microsoft Azure, hundreds of organizations have used the secure and private interconnections in 11 global regions.
Microsoft and Oracle are extending this collaboration to further simplify the multicloud experience with the announcement of Oracle Database Service for Microsoft Azure. Many joint customers, including some of the world’s largest corporations such as AT&T, Marriott International, Veritas and SGS, want to choose the best services across cloud providers to optimize performance, scalability, and ability to accelerate their business modernization efforts. The Oracle Database Service for Azure builds upon the core capabilities of the Oracle Interconnect for Azure and enables any customer to more easily integrate workloads on Microsoft Azure with Oracle Database services on OCI. There are no charges for using the Oracle Database Service for Microsoft Azure, the Oracle Interconnect for Microsoft Azure or data egress or ingress when moving data between OCI and Azure. Customers will pay only for the other Azure or Oracle services they consume, such as Azure Synapse or Oracle Autonomous Database.
Familiar Experience for Azure Users Combined with an Oracle Managed Service
With the new Oracle Database Service for Microsoft Azure, in just a few clicks, users can connect their Azure subscriptions to their OCI tenancy. The service automatically configures everything required to link the two cloud environments and federates Azure Active Directory identities, making it easy for Azure customers to use the service. It also provides a familiar dashboard of your Oracle Database Services on OCI using Azure terminology and monitoring with Azure Application Insights.
Corey Sanders, corporate vice president, Microsoft Cloud for Industry and Global Expansion
Microsoft and Oracle have a long history of working together to support the needs of our joint customers, and this partnership is an example of how we offer customer choice and flexibility as they digitally transform with cloud technology. Oracle’s decision to select Microsoft as its preferred partner deepens the relationship between our two companies and provides customers with the assurance of working with two industry leaders.
Clay Magouyrk, executive vice president, Oracle Cloud Infrastructure
There’s a well-known myth that you can’t run real applications across two clouds. We can now dispel that myth as we supply Oracle and Microsoft customers the ability to easily test and demonstrate the value of combining Oracle databases with Azure applications. There is no need for deep skills on both of our platforms or complex configurations—anyone can use the Azure Portal to get the power of our two clouds together.
Let’s talk about Oracle’s successful and expanding investment in cloud infrastructure. The company just celebrated its 45th anniversary, beat Wall Street’s estimated revenue in its fiscal fourth quarter, and showed its highest organic revenue growth rate in over a decade. The company is clearly doing a lot of things its customers like.
Front-and-center to Oracle’s success is Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) growth. Over the past year there has been a steady stream of OCI-related announcements. These have included plans to grow from 30 to 44 public cloud regions by the end of 2022 (39 are already in place), smaller Dedicated Region configurations, plans for Sovereign Clouds, new Cloud@Customer offerings, and expansions of OCI’s already impressive portfolio of services. This is perhaps the fastest expansion of cloud services by any service provider, and it helped drive Oracle’s 49% year-over-year IaaS growth and 108% growth in Exadata Cloud@Customer (Q4 FY22 earnings report).
And, if those aren't enough to make you consider OCI for your public cloud, what about the new Oracle Database Service for Microsoft Azure that Larry Ellison and Satya Nadella announced at Microsoft Inspire on July 20th? This new service allows Azure customers to choose where to run Oracle Database for their Azure applications. Azure users can easily set up and use Oracle databases running on optimized OCI infrastructure directly from Azure, without logging into OCI.
The Oracle Database Service for Microsoft Azure is an Oracle-managed service currently available in 11 pairs of OCI and Azure regions worldwide. It uses the existing OCI-Azure Interconnect to offer latency between the two clouds of less than 2 milliseconds over secure, private, high-speed networks. This means that developers and mission-critical applications running on Azure can directly access the performance, availability, and automation advantages of Oracle Autonomous Database Service, Exadata Database Service, and Base Database Service running on OCI.
Oracle’s growth numbers represent a great metric to measure its overall success. However, most IT architects and developers want to understand why Oracle's cloud offerings are better than the likes of Amazon Web Services (AWS) for their Oracle Database workloads.
The answer is simple. While Oracle is undoubtedly a strong competitor when matched head-to-head against nearly every public cloud offering, it offers clear advantages for Oracle Database applications. For example, organizations that use Oracle Database in their on-premises data center can more easily move workloads to OCI because it provides extreme levels of compatibility with on-premises installations and offers organizations the same or greater performance, scale, and availability. You won't find a better example of this than Oracle’s cloud-enabled Exadata X9M platform that’s available natively in OCI or for Azure users through Oracle Database Service for Microsoft Azure.
Last year, Oracle delivered what may be the fastest OLTP database machine with the Exadata X9M. This machine is engineered to do only one thing: run Autonomous Database Service and Exadata Database Service faster and more efficiently than anything else on the market, delivering up to 87% more performance than the previous generation platform.
Wringing every ounce of performance and reliability from a database machine such as Oracle Exadata requires thinking about system architecture from the ground up. It requires a deep knowledge of Oracle Database and the ability to optimize the entire hardware and software stack. This is a job that only Oracle can realistically take on.
Exadata X9M’s employs a flexible blend of scale-up and scale-out capabilities that support virtually any workload by separately scaling database compute and storage capabilities. Of particular note is how the Exadata X9M provides high performance for both transactional and analytics workloads and efficient database consolidation.
Let’s start with analytics. At the highest level, Exadata X9M enables fast analytics through parallelism and smart storage. Complex queries are automatically broken down into components that are distributed across smart Exadata storage servers. The storage servers then run low-level SQL and machine learning operations against their local data, returning only results to the database servers. This allows applications to use 100s of gigabytes to terabytes per second of throughput—something you won’t find on your typical cloud database.
For OLTP, Exadata X9M breaks out some additional secret sauce in the form of scalable database server clusters, persistent memory (PMem) in the smart storage servers, and remote direct memory access over converged Ethernet (RoCE) that links them together. Databases run across hundreds of vCPUs to provide high performance and availability and read data directly from shared PMEM on the storage servers. The end result is that Oracle Database achieves SQL read latencies from shared storage of under 19 microseconds, which is more than ten times faster than traditional flash storage.
However, Exadata X9M in OCI doesn’t forego the use of flash memory, it embraces it. Without applications having to do anything, Exadata storage servers automatically move data between terabytes of PMem, tens or hundreds of terabytes of NVMe 4.0 flash, and terabytes to petabytes of disk storage to provide the best performance for different types of workloads. This results in a level of performance that isn’t possible with a traditional on-premises or cloud architecture built using generic servers and storage.
Bringing X9M to the Cloud
There's no question that cloud resources are integral to nearly every enterprise's IT infrastructure. The cloud offers a flexible and scalable consumption model with economics that can be superior to traditional on-premises deployments. While cloud infrastructure can be easily scaled to meet many growing application needs, this is not necessarily true for databases that support mission-critical applications. It's common for organizations to have to refactor applications and redesign databases when they move to the cloud to provide the same levels of performance and availability they had premises, such as when moving Oracle Database to AWS. However, by deploying Exadata X9M in OCI, Oracle eliminates the expensive and time-consuming need to refactor applications for the cloud.
Oracle Exadata X9M in OCI shines for enterprise applications by delivering an elastic cloud database experience. For example, when running Autonomous Database Service or Exadata Database Service on dedicated X9M infrastructure in OCI, you can use 2 to 32 database servers and 3 to 64 smart storage servers in any combination. This means you can deploy platforms with more database servers for heavy OLTP workloads, more storage servers for data warehouses, or an even mixture of each when consolidating both types of workloads.
You can get the raw numbers for CPUs, storage, and memory for Exadata X9M in OCI from the Oracle website. Still, the critical thing to know is that all configurations deliver the database capabilities that enterprises require. For instance, the “entry” Exadata X9M configuration in OCI supports 19 microsecond SQL Read IO latency, 5.6 M SQL Read IOPS, and 135 GB/second of analytics throughput. Furthermore, with the ability to scale database servers by 16x and storage servers by 21x, we expect that no organizations will run into performance limitations.
Oracle tells us that by putting Exadata X9M into OCI, it now delivers the world's fastest OLTP cloud database performance, and they have the data to back it up. Latency is critical for OLTP workloads, an area where the X9M has no equal. Exadata X9M’s 19 microsecond SQL IO latency is 25x better than when running Oracle Database on AWS Relational Database Service (RDS). The analytics throughput numbers from shared storage are even more impressive, with Oracle claiming that Exadata X9M in OCI delivers up to 384x the analytics throughput of Oracle Database running on AWS RDS.
Oracle has conquered the performance challenges for OLTP and analytics in the cloud and delivers this level of performance with attractive economics. Oracle makes the Exadata X9M for OCI available with a true consumption-based model where you only pay for the size of platform you need and the consumption you use. One key feature of Oracle Autonomous Database running on Exadata X9M is that it can auto-scale consumption by 3x based on the demands of the queries executing at every point in time. This helps you meet peak requirements by scaling up database consumption when needs grow and minimizes costs by scaling it back down later. Oracle cites global customers using these scaling capabilities to economically meet seasonal demands for retail companies and end-of-quarter financial closes for any business.
Running business workloads in the cloud is popular and continues growing at impressive rates because it solves practical problems for IT practitioners and business users. However, generic cloud infrastructure hasn’t delivered the same level of performance and availability for mission-critical OLTP and analytics workloads that many customers achieved with on-premises platforms.
If your enterprise depends on Oracle Database technology—and 97% of the Global Fortune 100 companies use Oracle Database, with 88% relying on Oracle Exadata for business-critical workloads—you need to seriously consider running your cloud database workloads on Exadata X9M in OCI. Oracle's expanding portfolio of OCI services and delivery platforms, coupled with its unique ability to integrate optimized database platforms like Exadata X9M into OCI redefines what it means to run mission-critical databases in the cloud.
The Exadata X9M is built by the same people who build the Oracle Database, best positioning Oracle to optimize the performance, reliability, and automation required to get the most out of Oracle Database in the cloud. Oracle Exadata X9M is a stellar piece of engineering, bringing together compute and storage in an optimized architecture that delivers levels of throughput and reliability that deserve the superlatives I'm throwing around. And, it's not just me saying it; Oracle's momentum in the cloud bears this out as customers continue to make Exadata their preferred option to run Oracle Database.
When combined with the new Oracle Database Service for Microsoft Azure, Exadata X9M in OCI should cause organizations to rethink strategies focused on using generic cloud infrastructure for critical database applications.
Note: Moor Insights & Strategy writers and editors may have contributed to this article.
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Anaconda and Oracle partner to help secure the open-source pipeline in high-performance machine learning on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI)
AUSTIN, Texas, August 09, 2022--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Anaconda Inc., provider of the world’s most popular data science platform, today announced a collaboration with Oracle Cloud Infrastructure to offer secure open-source Python and R tools and packages by embedding and enabling Anaconda’s repository across OCI Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Services. Customers have access to Anaconda services directly from within OCI without a separate enterprise license.
"We are committed to helping enterprises secure their open-source pipelines through the ability to use Anaconda anywhere, and that includes inside the Oracle Cloud," said Peter Wang, CEO and co-founder of Anaconda. "By combining Anaconda’s package dependency manager and curated open-source repository with OCI’s products, data scientists and developers can seamlessly collaborate using the open-source Python tools they know and trust – while helping meet enterprise IT governance requirements."
Python has become the most popular programming language in the data science ecosystem, and for good reason; it is a widely-accessible language that facilitates a variety of programming-driven tasks. Because the velocity of innovation powered by the open-source community outpaces any single technology vendor, more and more organizations are adopting open-source Python for enterprise use.
"Oracle’s partnership to provide data scientists with seamless access to Anaconda not only delivers high-performance machine learning, but also helps ensure strong enterprise governance and security," said Elad Ziklik, vice president, AI Services, Oracle. "With security built into the core OCI experience, plus the security of Anaconda’s curated repository, data scientists can use their favorite open-source tools to build, train, and deploy models."
Together, Anaconda and Oracle are looking forward to bringing open-source innovation to the enterprise, helping apply ML and AI to the most important business and research initiatives. For more information on how to use Anaconda in OCI, click here.
With more than 30 million users, Anaconda is the world’s most popular data science platform and the foundation of modern machine learning. We pioneered the use of Python for data science, champion its vibrant community, and continue to steward open-source projects that make tomorrow’s innovations possible. Our enterprise-grade tools are the leading solution for securing and managing commercial uses of Python, and enable corporate, research, and academic institutions around the world to harness the power of open-source for competitive advantage, groundbreaking research, and building a smarter, better world.
Anaconda.com | anaconda.cloud | repo.anaconda.com
View source version on businesswire.com: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20220808005697/en/
Oracle Corp. is laying off some employees in the San Francisco Bay Area and at its customer experience software division, according to two reports published today.
The Information today cited a source with knowledge of the matter as saying that Oracle has already begun laying off employees in the Bay Area. Separately, Bloomberg reported that the company is cutting jobs at its customer experience division. The division makes software that helps enterprises with tasks such as delivering personalized promotions to online shoppers.
Limited information is available about the scope of the layoffs. However, a source told Bloomberg that multiple juniper sales employees and a division sales director were among those let go at the company’s customer experience software business.
The timing of the layoffs aligns with a report published by The Information in July. At the time, the publication cited a source as saying that Oracle may move to cut jobs in August. It’s believed that the company could lay off thousands of employees in the coming months as part of an effort to reduce its costs by up to $1 billion.
The move is expected to affect Oracle workers in the U.S., Canada, India and Europe. It was also reported in July that business units focused on marketing Oracle’s customer service and e-commerce software products could be especially affected.
Oracle had 143,000 employees as of March 31, according to Reuters.
Oracle is the latest in a series of tech companies to have laid off employees since the start of the year. Dozens of startups, including some in the enterprise software segment, have announced plans to reduce their workforces in accurate months. Microsoft Corp., Google LLC and Apple Inc., in turn, are scaling back their recruiting efforts.
Microsoft also made a “small number of role eliminations” last month. The layoffs reportedly affected less than 1% of the company’s 180,000-person workforce
Although Oracle is reducing spending in some areas, the company continues to experience growth across multiple key business units. Oracle’s cloud infrastructure division, a core element of its long-term growth plans, logged a 36% year-over-year sales increase last quarter. Furthermore, the revenue that the company generated from its managed enterprise resource planning platforms jumped as well.
Thanks to the momentum of its cloud business, Oracle managed to surpass revenue and profit expectations last quarter. The company is building additional data centers to support the cloud business’ growth. Oracle’s growth strategy also prioritizes the healthcare sector, where the company significantly expanded its presence last year by acquiring healthcare technology provider Cerner Corp. in a deal valued at about $28.3 billion.
There have been legendary rivalries among tech companies over decades: Amazon versus Microsoft and Google in cloud, Salesforce versus Oracle and SAP, Twitch versus YouTube, Tesla versus the tech divisions of an entire automotive industry.
Now there’s a growing contest between enterprise heavyweights Snowflake Inc. and Databricks Inc. that promises to deliver its own fireworks. The companies are circling each other like prizefighters in a boxing ring over key technology areas such as open source, information technology infrastructure and artificial intelligence.
But like much in the technology world, this is a complicated saga and nothing is exactly as it seems.
“Snowflake started as an infrastructure play, and it is trying to move into the analytics processing space,” Yanev Suissa, founder and managing partner at SineWave Ventures, an early investor in Databricks, said in an interview with SiliconANGLE. “Databricks is seeking to do the reverse. They are clearly trying to get into each other’s swim lanes.”
The attention surrounding this burgeoning competition between the two data storage and analytics firms highlights the growing influence of superclouds, exemplified by companies like Snowflake and Databricks that provide an abstraction layer above and across hyperscale infrastructure. It is a rivalry that foreshadows a new wave of technology influencers as the two firms compete for control of the enterprise’s most important asset – data itself.
Both companies have carved out a sizable market presence in cloud data warehousing, while going to great lengths to avoid using the label. Snowflake prefers to be known for its “Data Cloud,” and Databricks characterizes its melding of data warehouses and data lakes as the “lakehouse.”
Snowflake built its reputation as a persistent data platform, with data sharing and transformation, while Databricks has evolved as more of an analytical workbench. Databricks was built on Apache Spark, an open-source analytics engine for big data and machine learning that was developed in 2009 at the University of California at Berkeley.
“Databricks came in as a steward of Spark, and their approach is from a data science/data engineering world,” said Dave Vellante, industry analyst for SiliconANGLE. “Snowflake is trying to build a de facto standard. It’s like the Apple Mac mindset versus Windows. It’s a proprietary system that runs in the cloud.”
That proprietary emphasis has emerged as a point of friction. The two companies have traded barbs in accurate weeks over open source, with Snowflake pointing to its Apache Iceberg offering as a viable open-source table format. Databricks responded by noting that its Delta Lake solution was posted on GitHub as an open-source project with more than 200 contributors from 70 organizations.
Why is this important? Both companies operate in a high-stakes, rapidly evolving environment where innovation rules. As the open-source movement has shown, innovation takes a village, and being able to claim a diverse ecosystem of contributing developers can provide significant competitive advantage.
“There’s a lot of innovation around open source, you need a hand in open source to stay on that innovation curve,” Vellante noted. “Databricks is trying to challenge the conventional notion that open source can’t compete functionally with a proprietary system. They are doing a good job in that regard, but history suggests de facto standards will get to market sooner.”
To bolster its position against Snowflake, Databricks published TPC-DS benchmark data in November showing that its SQL platform outperformed its competitor. In a lengthy blog post posted soon after, Snowflake refuted the results.
When SiliconANGLE asked Snowflake co-founder and president of products Benoit Dageville about the Databricks comparison, he made clear that his company would not be dragged into a contest over competitive performance claims based on benchmarks.
“We’ve said from day one, we would never again participate in this really stupid benchmark war because it’s not in the interest of customers,” Dageville said. “TPC was really important at some point, and it is not really relevant now.”
Yet the comparisons provided by Databricks caught the attention of several noted industry analysts, including Sanjeev Mohan, principal at SanjMo and former Gartner Research vice president.
“The story that Databricks tells is actually very compelling in their benchmarks,” said Mohan, in an interview for this story. “It’s very hard to say which one has the better technology. The end goal is the same for both, but they come at it from two different angles.”
The different approaches by the two firms have also led to a noticeable split among some of the biggest players in the tech industry. Amazon Web Services Inc. employed Iceberg to develop the serverless interactive query service Amazon Athena. Google Cloud also chose to support Iceberg first for its own cloud lakehouse offering called BigLake.
On the Databricks side, Microsoft Corp. has supported Delta Lake and has joined with Apple Inc. and IBM Corp. as a collaborators. However, tempting as it may be to paint the Snowflake/Databricks rivalry as a showdown between even larger tech powerhouses, the reality is that both companies are closely tied to the major cloud providers and this interdependence is unlikely to change in the near future.
“I think that’s more drama than reality,” said Suissa, who noted that both Databricks and Snowflake were built on top of the major clouds. Hyperscalers stand to gain significant revenue from this arrangement as the two competitors become more successful.
Despite the competition, both firms have found time to engage in mutual funding projects. Snowflake and Databricks jointly participated in the latest funding round for dbt Labs Inc., developer of a data transformation tool. The two companies have also recently backed data science startup Hex Technologies Inc.
Still, the battle appears unlikely to ease anytime soon as each company forges ahead on its respective path.
“Both companies are addressing their weaknesses and doubling down on their strengths,” Vellante said. “What Databricks did was address the functionality in data lakes to fix the data swamp. Snowflake is building an ecosystem and enabling that ecosystem to monetize inside their Data Cloud. They are building an AWS-like supercloud.”
Hangzhou, China, Aug. 8, 2022 — EMQ Technologies, a global provider of open-source IoT data infrastructure solutions, today announced that it had officially joined the Oracle PartnerNetwork (OPN). Through OPN, EMQ will work together with Oracle to better pair their respective IoT solutions, explore joint use cases and dive deeper into specialized technical knowledge to build successful, cloud-based IoT connectivity services.
Oracle PartnerNetwork (OPN) is a channel partner program that offers members access to partner-specific training, global industry expertise, go-to-market tools, valuable resources and support. These valuable benefits enable partners to accelerate their own transition to the cloud as well as drive superior customer experiences and business outcomes.
Since its start in 2017, EMQ has been on a mission to serve the future of human society through state-of-the-art open source IoT data infrastructure.
Over 20,000 enterprise workers use EMQ’s massively scalable cloud-native MQTT messaging platform, EMQX, which is the first open-source platform to provide scaling capability up to 100M connections per cluster. EMQ can deploy its mission-critical IoT infrastructure to major cloud providers such as Oracle Cloud, AWS, Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure, and hybrid clouds, all in a secure and reliable manner.
From the world’s #1 database to enterprise cloud applications, Oracle has a long-standing reputation for technology innovation along with its cloud-first, customer-centric strategy that empowers organizations to address demanding business issues.
Oracle Cloud infrastructure platforms are consistently rated as industry-leading and innovative by customers, delivering a truly differentiated enterprise-level cloud platform with complete, full-stack offerings that offer unmatched reliability and performance.
EMQ’s commitment to IoT data connectivity, combined with the efficiency of Oracle Cloud infrastructure, will deliver a higher level of resilience, security, and scalability for critical IoT business processes.
“Becoming an OPN member is the starting point of a robust, long-term relationship with Oracle,” said Feng Lee, founder and CEO of EMQ. “EMQ will join forces with Oracle to introduce more co-created, seamless, cloud-based IoT solutions for our mutual customers, accelerating their cloud journey and digital transformation. We are looking forward to bringing our shared vision to uncharted heights.”
EMQ will enhance its offerings through the Oracle ecosystem and work closely with Oracle’s experts to validate their joint IoT connectivity solutions.
Discover EMQ’s powerful IoT connectivity solutions. Built to accelerate success in the IoT era.
It’s not often you hear about African tech companies expanding into Europe. Some examples include fintechs Lidya and Korapay in Eastern Europe and the U.K., respectively. In the latest development, Bluechip Technologies, an African enterprise company that partners with international OEMs like Microsoft and Oracle and provides data warehousing solutions and enterprise applications to banks, telcos and insurance firms, is announcing its European launch.
The Nigeria-based systems integrator said the strategic expansion positions it as a “new competitive entrant in the EU market offering data warehousing and analytics products as well as highly experienced senior data engineers from its Nigeria team as consultants for European firms.”
Olumide Soyombo, one of Nigeria’s high-profile angel investors who launched Voltron Capital last year, started Bluechip Technologies in 2008 with Kazeem Tewogbade. The company specializes in data warehousing, analytics and enterprise systems for banks and telcos. Having launched with a ₦5 million (~$30,000 at the time) seed investment from Soyombo’s father, Bluechip Technologies has grown to employ nearly 200 consultants and expanded across other African markets such as Kenya, DRC Congo, Zambia and Ghana. Some of its clients have pan-African and global reach, including FirstBank, MTN, 9mobile, Lafarge, GTBank and Access Bank.
Bluechip’s data warehouse product collates data from disparate sources, translating them into information that gets businesses to understand trends such as customer lifetime value, churn and business analytics on gathered data. Telcos also use its simplex voucher management system to create airtime vouchers.
With its recently launched Primo Academy, a pipeline six-month program of data professionals (sort of like an Andela-esque model) for itself, local and international partners, Bluechip Technologies is also one of the few African tech companies focusing on training and placing data professionals.
According to Soyombo, the post-pandemic trend in remote working, a critical shortage of tech talent and an increase in demand for managing data more efficiently present a great opportunity for his company to deliver specialized services in Europe (recent research projects the region’s big data and business analytics market size to hit $105 billion+ by 2027). Also, the company, having delivered — in partnership with international OEMs — a range of enterprise tech infrastructure solutions in the African market, thinks it can do the same in Europe and plans to target the telco and banking sector from its Ireland base.
“We built this core enterprise business application for banks and telcos and the talent pool to address these needs. The whole play here is to be that systems integrator provider to the EU market. The pandemic has accelerated the need for that global flat workspace, and how to place those engineers while working with our partners like Oracle and Microsoft, and to do this cheaper than India or Eastern Europe,” said Soyombo.
Richard Lewis will lead the European expansion as CEO of Bluechip EU Subsidiary. He was the CEO of Business Logic Systems, a Bluechip partner based in the U.K. In 2017, Business Logic was acquired by Ireland-based Evolving Systems, a provider of software for connected mobile devices to over 100 network operators across 60+ countries; Lewis was the company’s senior vice president of global sales until this year. His experience will prove vital in placing Bluechip’s data engineers and IP-packaged products (including its newly launched customer data management and cash management solutions) with European partners.
“Richard has a good feel of the market. He has seen some of the initial requirements from customers that can make him say, “hey, if this is how what you’re paying for a developer in India, we can supply you an equally quality developer for 20-30% less this price. And that’s the target that we’re pursuing,” Soyombo said.
Bluechip’s growth over the past decade has almost mirrored the development of the African tech ecosystem and similar businesses in the same time frame despite the company not being venture-backed (its business is such that VC money isn’t necessarily required to scale). For instance, when Andela launched in 2014, it only had physical hubs in Nigeria, Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda to source, vet and train engineers to be part of remote teams for international companies. However, after going fully remote, the unicorn saw a 750% increase in applicants outside Africa as it expanded to over 80 countries.
Ultimately, Bluechip, which operates the Andela-esque model for one of its services, plans to become a legacy multinational information technology services and consulting company like India’s Tata Consulting and Tech Mahindra. In 2014, the company clocked about $5 million in revenue. Last year, it generated almost $50 million. With its pan-African and global expansion plans, Soyombo predicts that the company’s revenues might hit $250 million in five years. “We want to try it out on the EU market and see how it works. The plan is also to expand further elsewhere like French-speaking Africa and possibly North America,” said the co-founder and investor.
All-encompassing systems that manage inventory, procurement, manufacturing, orders, projects, human resources and other core capabilities for companies, enterprise resource planning (ERP) platforms continue to expand right along with their customers’ needs. They’ve come a long way since manufacturers started using them to manage inventory in the 1960s, and were officially named “ERPs” by Gartner in the 1990s.
Fast-forward to 2022 and ERP software capabilities include all of the above plus supply chain, logistics, product lifecycle, risk and maintenance management (to name a few). And if a certain capability doesn’t come “built into” the ERP, there are always application programming interfaces (APIs) available to connect the two and create a unified platform that shares the same data, insights and capabilities.
With the accurate spate of supply chain disruptions, transportation snarls and labor shortages creating a bigger need for supply chain management (SCM) functionalities, ERP vendors have responded by bolstering their offerings in this realm. Concurrently, the best-of-breed SCM vendors have stepped up to the plate and refined their offerings, added new functionalities and even made them easier to connect to outside applications.
On track to hit $78.4 billion in revenues by 2026—up from $38.8 billion in 2018—the global ERP market is being driven by a greater need for operational efficiency and transparency in business processes, increased use of Cloud and mobile applications, and high demand for data-driven decision-making.
Increased demand from small- to mid-sized businesses plus the ongoing technological advancements on the part of vendors are also accelerating the adoption rates of these multi-faceted software platforms.
Now squarely in their third year of a global pandemic, shippers of all sizes and across all industry sectors are investing in technology to help them address current challenges and begin to plan for the future.
Those with ERPs in place are enabling more functionalities—many of them related to SCM—while others are implementing platforms that help them work smarter, better, and faster in an uncertain business environment.
“In general, there’s definitely more of a focus on supply chain than there has been in the past. It’s at the forefront of everybody’s mind right now and will likely stay there for at least the next few years,” says Bill Brooks, VP, NA transportation portfolio at Capgemeini. In response to these needs, he says both the ERPs and the best-of-breed SCM vendors are investing in more digitalization, Cloud computing, Artificial Intelligence (AI), digital twins, analytics and other advanced technologies that converge to help shippers develop smooth-running, end-to-end supply chains.
For now at least, Brooks sees plenty of room in the marketplace both for broader-reaching ERP vendors and more specialized best-of-breed software developers. They both continue to invest in their platforms and serve their respective markets, he adds.
“Everyone has their preferences as to what type of software they want,” says Brooks, “and those preferences probably aren’t changing in the short-term.”
As companies continue to work out their current inventory, labor, and transportation issues, more attention is being paid to the warehouses and distribution centers (DCs) that receive and stock goods and then ship orders. With more customers demanding ultra-fast shipping and eMarketer expecting another 14.8% increase in U.S. retail e-commerce sales this year, warehouse management systems (WMS) have been getting more attention and investment, both on the part of shippers and ERP vendors.
“The ERPs are starting to see WMS as an application area that’s worth pushing further,” says Clint Reiser, director of supply chain research at ARC Advisory Group. In some cases, ERP vendors are developing and then offering WMS to their current customers or “install” bases. In other examples, they’re selling the SCM application to customers that are outside of their install bases.
“This holds true with Oracle and possibly SAP as well,” says Reiser, who adds that Oracle has recently signed on customers for its Cloud-based WMS and then had those users also adopt its Cloud transportation management (TMS) platform. “In the past, it’s almost exclusively been TMS first and then WMS as an add-on,” he points out.
Overall, Reiser says WMS is becoming a “higher priority” for ERP vendors like Infor, Oracle and SAP. He points to the pandemic-related challenges plus the rise in e-commerce with driving at least some of this interest. “The WMS application area may be getting more emphasis from the vendors because of its greater interest out in the market,” he explains, “due to e-commerce, the COVID-related disruptions and shortages, and the broader supply chain crises.”
Roll the clock back about 10 years and Reiser remembers that many of the best-of-breed SCM vendors were in the early stages of building out their platforms, with JDA working on its “Supply Chain Process Platform” and Manhattan Associates introducing its SCALE offering. Other vendors followed suit.
As technology advanced, the introduction of microservices—software made up of small, independent services that use APIs to communicate with one another—further enabled integration capabilities in the Cloud. This evolution facilitated the exchange of information between adjacent applications like TMS, WMS, distributed order management (DOM) and others.
Ultimately, these advancements gave best-of-breed SCM vendors the power they needed to be able to create more integrated, end-to-end processes. No longer just “standalone” applications, these SCM solutions could now work in tandem with other best-of-breed applications and/or with larger enterprise solutions. Borrowing a term from the business strategy sector, Reiser says this helped best-of-breed vendors construct “moats” around their applications.
“[Microservices] help specialty software vendors keep others off of their turf and solidify their place in the [market],” says Reiser, who sees the use of microservices in SCM continuing. “Now, some of them are using microservices to build up their solutions with a common database that allows them to compete on the basis of end-to-end supply chain unification.”
Looking around at the ERP space, Dwight Klappich says vendors operating in it have matured their supply chain capabilities, warehousing, transportation and other components in order to address the basic needs of a high percentage of their customers.
“For companies that don’t have the most complex or sophisticated needs, ERP supply chain solutions are well worth consideration,” says Klappich, senior director, supply chain research at Gartner, Inc. “In most cases, if you’re committed to an ERP platform like Oracle, SAP or Microsoft, you probably should shortlist your ERP vendor.
Shippers that need more robust software capabilities would be wise to broaden that scope and add best-of-breed solutions to those shortlists. “There’s a market out there for best-of-breed solutions,” says Klappich, “and room for both the ERPs and the specialty SCM vendors.” For example, he says Gartner’s 2022 Magic Quadrant for WMS is dominated by six vendors, three of which are ERPs (SAP, Oracle, and Infor) and the other three are supply chain suites (Blue Yonder, Manhattan, and Korber).
In some cases, Klappich says the ERPs have an advantage because they can invest in new functionalities that can be effectively leveraged across the entire software suite. This creates economies of scale on the research and development (R&D) front, where ERPs that invest in SCM can then leverage those advancements across their entire platforms.
Take analytics, for example. According to Klappich, Oracle, SAP and Infor have all invested in robust analytics platforms that can be used across all of their applications. Specialty vendors, on the other hand, either have to try to replicate that investment or partner/integrate with a third party application provider that does offer those capabilities.
Right now, Klappich says the ERP and best-of-breed vendors share an important goal of improving the user experience. He points to Oracle’s introduction of the Redwood Design System in 2020 as one example of this. Redwood is the new Oracle standard for application look and feel, and was implemented company-wide to help unify the user interface of all of the company’s product offerings.
“Some of it is aesthetics, but as a whole Redwood takes into account how to Boost productivity by streamlining the user experience,” says Klappich, “and by factoring in things like conversational voice capabilities and embedded search.” He adds that best-of-breed SCM vendors are taking a similar approach with the goal of improving the user experience, staying out in front of the ERPs, and further protecting their turf.
Looking ahead, Brooks sees the ERPs continuing to build out their SCM offerings in an attempt to “jump over” the best-of-breed vendors. He also sees the best-of-breeds solidifying their positions in the market by staying nimble and innovative.
“At this point, I don’t see either one of those getting a leg up on the other,” says Brooks, “but I do expect more integrations across different software platforms/vendors plus the continued use of microservices and digitalization to create even more seamless flow that we’ve seen in the past.”August 8, 2022