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QA: Oracle's future lies in cloud, APIs, and microservices


In addition to its Java work, the company is moving forward with cloud deployments, but will keep accommodating behind-the-firewall installations
In addition to Java, Oracle has been focusing lately on cloud, chatbots, and APIs. InfoWorld Editor at Large Paul Krill met with Oracle’s Amit Zavery, senior vice president of Oracle Cloud, at this week’s DeveloperWeek conference in San Francisco to talk about the company’s technology directions.
InfoWorld: How are microservices and chatbots driving enterprises to an API-first strategy, the notion of which was posed in a description of your upcoming presentation?
Zavery: Chatbots are really an API-driven way of interacting and building using the underlying technology associated with chatbots. As a developer, you shouldn’t have to worry about the intent and all the algorithms and the AI and the neural network technology, which they use inside the chatbot in many cases. You want an ability to take your development APIs and say, this is an application I want to have interaction points from, and then underlying it could be a mobile app. It could be a chatbot-based interaction through messenger services like Facebook Messenger, V-chat, WhatChat. As a developer, you shouldn’t have to worry about using chatbots as long as you have the right kind of interface to it.
InfoWorld: Does Oracle have a story in AI and machine learning?
Zavery: We’ve been using a lot of machine learning-based algorithms underneath the covers for the products for many years, and if you look at some of the things we’re doing on the application side, we’ve been adding capabilities to do a lot of intelligent applications. What we’re now doing is exposing a lot of the neural network and ML algorithms through our interfaces and applications so as the developer, you don’t have to worry about learning how those things are built but you’re getting the advantage of it when you try using some of the platform pieces from us. For example, if you’re doing data cleansing, the way to do data cleansing and data inference as well as data blending has to be done a lot more intelligently than just doing a rule-based thing and that’s where ML and AI stuff happen.
InfoWorld: Oracle has gone from Larry Ellison’s famous “what the hell is cloud computing? ” remark to trying to become a major player in cloud. Why should enterprises go with Oracle instead of Google, Microsoft Azure, Heroku, or other platforms?
Zavery: There are many differentiations. One is, we’ve been very clearly working on this for many years. Irrespective of whatever the perception might be, we have been investing in the cloud for 10-plus years. If you add all the things we’ve been doing over the last six or seven years, we have a full track record of having a full-blown cloud platform available to thousands of customers using it today. It’s a full, integrated stack all the way from apps to platform to infrastructure, so it’s a well-thought-out modern architecture. We’re using a lot of open source technology, a lot of standards-based technology, and we’ve kept it flexible enough for customers to deploy this in the cloud or their own data center. As a customer, you are not locked into one way of doing things.
InfoWorld: What does Oracle provide as a way to move to another cloud?
Zavery: We allow you to move data very easily. All the applications and the business logic are standards-based so we can support other databases in our cloud. We have the ability to take the full stack we have on our cloud and run it at a customer site if you choose, so you’re not completely beholden to running it in the public cloud.

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