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SAP vs. Oracle: Compare their cloud platforms

SAP Cloud Platform vs. Oracle Cloud Platform is an important issue for organizations that are considering either vendor. Here's what you need to know.

SAP customers face the end of support for ERP Central Component in the not-so-distant future, so the issue of SAP vs. Oracle cloud offerings is an important one.

There's a big difference between Oracle and SAP in terms of their cloud ambitions, said Dion Hinchcliffe, vice president and principal analyst at Constellation Research Inc. First and foremost, SAP doesn't want to be an infrastructure company, and Oracle is perfectly happy being that, he said.

Oracle wants to compete against Amazon, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform on the computing infrastructure at the bottom -- that is, as an IaaS, said Massimo Pezzini, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner.

Oracle's aim is to provide an end-to-end stack, from applications to PaaS to hardware, networking and storage infrastructure. Because of that, Oracle might be better positioned as an end-to-end ERP vendor, Hinchcliffe said.

"If you're looking for a one-stop shop where everything is going to fit together, from the very top to the very bottom, Oracle is stronger right now," he said.

SAP Cloud Platform vs. Oracle Cloud Platform choice

The main conceptual difference between SAP Cloud Platform and Oracle Cloud Platform is SAP Cloud Platform is multi-cloud, so customers can run SAP workloads on multiple clouds, Pezzini said.

On the other hand, the Oracle stack is monolithic, top to bottom, he said. For example, Oracle's business applications are only supported on Oracle's database. SAP gives its customers the choice in this area.

"If the customer, for some reason, prefers to use the Amazon platform, or Microsoft Azure, or whatever, SAP delivers the capability on those platforms," Pezzini said. "When it comes to the platform -- meaning the development tool, the integration tools, collaboration tools, mobile, machine learning -- those capabilities will be multi-cloud."

However, this is not necessarily the case for the applications, Pezzini said. SAP software-as-a-service applications -- including Concur, Ariba, SuccessFactors, S/4HANA Cloud, CallidusCloud and Qualtrics -- run on SAP's own infrastructure.

"SAP has never declared that it will make the applications available on different clouds," Pezzini said.

SAP Cloud Platform vs. Oracle Cloud Platform functionality

Oracle is expanding its offerings by integrating technologies with its cloud platform, said Jan Erik Aase, director of research and principal analyst of ISG Research, in an email.

For example, Oracle integrated business intelligence with its cloud platform to launch Oracle Analytics Cloud and later added machine learning to this platform.

Both SAP Cloud Platform and Oracle Cloud Platform provide the API management, data and application integration, using real-time insights to develop and deploy integrate applications, Aase said.

[SAP and Oracle] both have added just about every application category you can think of -- ERP, SCM, HCM. They're even going after all the productivity type of functions, including enterprise, social networking and so on, and then they're adding emerging technologies to the stack as fast as they can.
Dion HinchcliffeVice president and principal analyst at Constellation Research

Both Oracle and SAP have invested heavily in IoT technologies. For example, Oracle offers Blockchain Cloud Service, and SAP offers Cloud Platform Blockchain. Hinchcliffe, for one, said he prefers SAP's version.

"Oracle just has the technology, but SAP is taking it really seriously in terms of bringing industries in to create a life sciences chain and a retail supply management chain for product recalls," Hinchcliffe said.

Oracle may have an edge with its IT operations management tool. Oracle Management Cloud is meant to provide more intelligent operational insights and automate quality control, Aase said.

"IT operations and DevOps professionals automatically benefit from anomaly detection, clustering, correlation, forecasting and other big data techniques to isolate and resolve issues across the entire operational and security data set," he said.

While the SAP Cloud Platform and Oracle Cloud Platform provide, more or less, the same functionality, implementation is very different, Pezzini said. Oracle, for the most part, uses Oracle technologies.

"The Oracle Cloud Platform is very much based on Oracle technologies, even though they may use open source and some third-party capabilities here and there," he said.

SAP uses third-party components, Pezzini said.

"For example, as part of the SAP Cloud Platform, SAP provides a bunch of tools of its own, but also provides a third-party tool from a company called Mendix, which is a low-code development tool," he said.

SAP vs. Oracle: Know your needs

In the SAP vs. Oracle battle, both have strong offerings.

"They both have added just about every application category you can think of -- ERP, SCM [supply chain management], HCM [human capital management," Hinchcliffe said. "They're even going after all the productivity type of functions, including enterprise, social networking and so on, and then they're adding emerging technologies to the stack as fast as they can."

As with much about technology, the issues are complex, and organizations need to research the SAP vs. Oracle question based on their own needs.

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