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Enterprise titans Microsoft and Oracle announced a major deal today to be more friendly when it comes to enterprise cloud services.

Essentially, the deal means Oracle software can now run on Windows Server, Hyper-V, and Windows Azure, and Oracle customers will have the freedom to move Oracle licenses over to Microsoft’s Azure cloud or on Hyper-V virtual servers. The two are also working to bring Java support to Windows Azure.

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While the deal brings these “frenemies” a lot closer, it also gives Microsoft a stronger position in the cloud wars, according to Forrester analyst James Staten. In a blog post today, Staten notes Azure especially gets kicked up a notch against rivals like Amazon Web Services.

Staten writes:

This deal gives Microsoft clear competitive advantages against two of its top rivals as well. It strengthens Hyper-V against VMware vSphere as Oracle software is only supported on OracleVM and Hyper-V today. It gives Windows Azure near equal position against Amazon Web Services (AWS) in the cloud platform wars as the fully licensed support covers all Oracle software (customers bring their own licenses), and pay-per-use licenses will be resold by Microsoft for WebLogic Server, Oracle Linux and the Oracle database. AWS has a similar support relationship with Oracle and resells the middleware, database, and Oracle Enterprise Manager, plus offers RDS for Oracle a managed database service.

Oracle also gets a nice benefit as it aggressively moves to support the cloud, Staten writes. He believes Oracle is smartly opening up this type of support because it sees what cloud services its customers are embracing:

While this licensing model is limited today, it opens the door to a more holistic move by Oracle down the line. Certainly Oracle would prefer customers build and deploy their own Fusion applications on the Oracle Public Cloud but the company is wisely acknowledging the market momentum behind AWS and Windows Azure and ensuring Oracle presence where its customers are going. These moves are also necessary to combat the widespread use of open source alternatives to Oracle’s middleware and database products on these new deployment platforms.

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