Oracle Lays Off, Microsoft Takes Off, and $261M in Startup Funding
It's getting hot out there!
We’re in the dog days of summer, which are the hottest days of the year in the U.S., from early July to mid August, according to the Farmer’s Almanac. The database market has been relatively quiet—no news for weeks from AWS, Databricks, MongoDB, or Snowflake.
But we do have a number of things to catch up on. I’ve make three trips to San Francisco in the past few months, to participate in the Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon (you can read about my adventure here), as well as to join SingleStore’s [r]evolution 2022 virtual event.
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I hosted two sessions during SingleStore’s webcast, including a one-on-one conversation with the company’s new SVP of Engineering, Shireesh Thota, and a briefing with two SingleStore customers—Siemens and Impact—about their projects to develop real-time analytics.
View the replay of SingleStore [r]evolution 2022 here.
On the news front, following are a few of the latest developments from the past few weeks.
Oracle touts multi-cloud, then the layoffs begin
On July 20, Oracle and Microsoft jointly announced availability of Oracle Database Service for Microsoft Azure, which provides a way for Azure customers to provision, access, and monitor Oracle databases running in Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) from their Azure cloud-management console.
The arrangement builds on an earlier partnership between the two companies, called Oracle Interconnect for Microsoft Azure, that enabled interoperability between their respective clouds in 11 regions.
It’s good to see this kind of collaboration between Oracle and Microsoft, and it begs the question: Will Oracle strike similar multi-cloud agreements with AWS and Google Cloud? Because if the idea is to “simplify the multi-cloud experience” and help customers “choose the best services across cloud providers,” as stated in the press release, then more partnerships like the one with Microsoft would seem to be reasonable next steps.
Either way, it’s worth watching to see how Oracle positions and talks about its database and cloud businesses amid reports of layoffs in its CX business and marketing.
Here’s the backdrop: Oracle last year slipped to #3 in the database market, surpassed by AWS, according to Gartner. And Oracle’s overall cloud business is smaller and growing slower—only 19% (USD) in Q4 FY22—than the Big 3 of AWS, Microsoft, and Google Cloud. (Although, I note that Oracle’s infrastructure cloud revenue grew 36% in the quarter.)
So Oracle finds itself, uncharacteristically, on the outside looking in, which may explain why it needs to cut costs and reposition things.
Looking ahead, Oracle’s bold push into healthcare via its acquisition of Cerner is an opportunity to establish itself as the cloud data leader in a major global industry. Yet, there’s still a lot of work to do in putting all the pieces together to make that happen.
Microsoft launches Azure Space Partner Community
The new community follows the announcement of Azure Space two years ago, which is a program to drive development of space apps and workloads using Azure tools and services. Some of the organizations named in the original 2020 announcement included NASA, HPE, Thales Alenia Space (TAS), Loft Orbital, Ball Aerospace, and Blackshark.ai.
Now, the expanding Azure Space community includes Airbus, Space X, and a dozen others. The idea is to create an Azure ecosystem of space operators, manufacturers, systems integrators, data providers, ISVs, startups, and others.
What does all of this have to do with data management? For one thing, the capabilities/services provided include data processing and analytics. And the use cases include edge computing in the International Space Station and analytics for “spaceborne data.”
Other tech vendors have their own, similar space initiatives. When I worked at IBM, I had the privilege of collaborating with Naeem Altaf, IBM’s CTO of Space Tech and an IBM Distinguished Engineer. Altaf has been leading an IBM project to use IBM technologies—including Red Hat and IBM Cloud—on a cubesat that will be made available for use by students. You can read about the Endurance CubeSat Mission here.
History buffs will remember that IBM was deeply involved in the Apollo 11 program more than 50 years ago. Take a few minutes to watch this awesome video our editorial team at IBM made about that historic event.
Quarter-billion in new DB funding
OK, while Oracle, Microsoft, and IBM take on those opportunities and challenges, new investment continues to pour into the cloud database market.
On June 15, DataStax announced that it secured $115 million in private equity money, which will be used for development of its Astra DB database and its Astra Streaming streaming service for real-time apps. That gives DataStax a $1.6 billion valuation, which notably is 33% higher than a year ago, per TechCrunch.
On July 12, SingleStore disclosed $116 million in financing which will go toward product dev and expanding its workforce. The Series F round was led by Goldman Sachs. SingleStore’s existing investors include a handful of big name tech companies: Dell, Google Ventures, HPE, and IBM.
On July 25, Neon, a startup developing a new PostsgreSQL database, revealed $30 million in Series 1-A funding. “This means we’re ready to give developers the best Postgres experience in the cloud,” explained Co-Founder Stas Kelvich in a blog post. I gave Cloud Database Report subscribers a heads up on Neon in my June 24 blog post.
This little snapshot of recent funding is by no means all-inclusive. Below is an earlier post from a few months ago on the same topic.
As you can see, there continues to be investment and a steady pipeline of new product development and innovation in the cloud database market. So, even as Oracle and Microsoft take on new opportunities and challenges, these up-and-coming cloud database startups are looking to disrupt what remains of the status quo.