Oracle bulks up its public cloud with ex-Joyent engineer

Joyent’s former vice president of engineering Mark Cavage is now the senior director and architect of engineering for Oracle’s public cloud. At Joyent, Cavage invented its recently open-sourced Manta object-storage service and was also the lead engineer. This hire shows that Oracle means business when it comes to building its cloud infrastructure, but it still has a way to go before it can be an established cloud player.

Cavage started his new gig two weeks ago and will be working with the recently hired Peter Magnusson (formerly of [company]Snapchat[/company] and [company]Google[/company]). They will focus on Oracle’s plans to build an enterprise-ready cloud that includes more than just the software-as-a-service type of features the company already has, like its database- and java-as-a-service, Cavage said.

He left Joyent in early October, and was followed out the door by his former colleague Ben Rockwood; Rockwood was Joyent’s previous director of cloud operations who left the cloud-startup in November.

Oracle is “going to go viciously after [company]Amazon[/company]” with its new cloud-engineering team and plans to build the type of cloud infrastructure that can compete with the big boys like [company]Microsoft[/company] and Google, Cavage said.

“We are going to go big or go home,” said Cavage. “I clearly wouldn’t have gone if I felt there wasn’t a big opportunity to do new things.”

Mark Cavage

Mark Cavage, senior director and architect of engineering for Oracle’s public cloud

Cavage said it was still too early to tell what technical initiatives Oracle has planned, but he cites his own cloud experience, Magnusson’s work on the Google App Engine and Oracle’s hiring of a number of ex-Amazon engineers as indicators that Oracle can develop a formidable cloud.

“We have done this,” he said. “We know how to execute.”

Oracle plans to open a new office in downtown San Francisco near other startups within a month or two as a way to attract new engineering talent, Cavage said. Oracle is also looking to open an office in the East Bay (Oakland, Berkeley and Emeryville are all possible cities) and perhaps an engineering center in Mountain View or somewhere near “Facebook’s or Google’s backyards,” he said.

Regarding Oracle’s recent hires, it’s clear the company is taking the cloud seriously, but it still faces challenges.

Oracle, like [company]IBM[/company], is a legacy enterprise-IT vendor with tons of legacy accounts, but that enterprise-software-sales model does not necessarily translate well into the cloud world. Most enterprise accounts already have some workloads running in Amazon Web Services–whether they are IT sanctioned or not.

Nonetheless, Oracle hopes to capitalize on its current enterprise clientele many of whom may want a one-stop shop for all of their infrastructure-related services–database and cloud included. As long as Oracle still has its core enterprise clients who haven’t moved to the cloud, the company feels it’s in a good position to convince those people to ride on its platform.

But as Amazon’s new Aurora relational database shows, Amazon is willing to drop big bucks to develop the type of software services and technology Oracle has to win new enterprise clients.

It’s worth noting that Oracle has made big cloud-related moves in recent months, but like IBM, there’s no guarantee that it will get significant traction as Amazon — and now Google and Microsoft — show no signs of slowing down.

The cloud wars just got a bit more interesting.