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Oracle Corp., the software giant known for its database technology, is joining the chorus of enterprise cloud vendors betting big on generative AI services.

On Monday, the company revealed that it was developing a new cloud service with Cohere, a Toronto-based startup that specializes in building and training large language models (LLMs).

Oracle’s founder and chief technology officer, Larry Ellison, confirmed the partnership during the company’s fourth-quarter earnings call, where he also reported strong growth in Oracle’s cloud business. Ellison said that Oracle and Cohere were working together to make it easy for enterprise customers to train their own customized LLMs using their private data, while protecting their data privacy and security.

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The news has been rumored for quite some time given the close relationship between both companies. Just last week, Oracle was part of Cohere’s $270 million series C funding round  that valued the startup at around $2.2 billion. Other investors in the round included Nvidia Corp., Salesforce Ventures, Deutsche Telekom AG and SentinelOne Inc.

“Cohere and Oracle are working together to make it very, very easy for enterprise customers to train their own specialized large language models while protecting the privacy of their training data,” Ellison said on his company’s earning call. “Over the next few years, lots of companies are going to train their own specialized large language models.”

(Cohere co-founder Nick Frosst will be speaking at VB Transform, a networking event for technical decision-makers, in San Francisco on July 11 and 12 focused on generative AI in the enterprise.)

Ellison revealed that Oracle’s own internal application development teams are already using the new Cohere AI cloud service running on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI). Ellison said that Oracle used its own private data in order to fine-tune and extend the existing Cohere LLMs.

Ellison said that so far, the supplementary training has led to two new specialized LLMs, one for medical professionals and one for first responders. While Oracle is well known for its database technology, it’s also a large player in the healthcare space, after its 2022 acquisition of healthcare giant Cerner.

“Specialized large language models will be instrumental in helping highly trained professionals use their precious time more efficiently,” Ellison said.

Oracle is no stranger to the world of AI

While the upcoming service with Cohere is new, Oracle is quite familiar with the world of AI. In fact, Ellison made sure to emphasize during the earnings call that Cohere is using Oracle Cloud for training LLMs.

Ellison said that Oracle has an edge over its competitors because it has more experience and expertise in handling large amounts of data securely and efficiently. Other vendors that have publicly revealed they use Oracle Cloud for training LLMs include Adept AI Labs, which raised $350 million in March for a generative AI service for using software. Oracle also has a cloud AI partnership with Nvidia, which involves Nvidia GPU hardware and Nvidia using the Oracle Cloud to help with ongoing AI development. All told, Ellison boasted that Oracle Cloud is already a multi-billion-dollar business for AI workloads.

“In the aggregate, our generative AI cloud customers have recently signed contracts to purchase more than $2 billion of capacity in Oracle’s Gen2 Cloud,” Ellison said.

While the numbers are large and growing, in the cloud business Oracle still trails behind the big three hyperscalers, which all have their own generative AI services. Amazon Web Services (AWS) announced its Bedrock generative AI services in April, Google has a host of its own services and models that were updated at its recent I/O conference, and Microsoft benefits from its tight partnership with OpenAI.

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