“We love Israel on many levels,” says Eran Feigenbaum, Country Leader for Oracle Israel. “The number of ideas and disruptions that come from Israel in technology, health care and education – we are involved in them, and we want to continue to be involved in them.”
Oracle Corporation has been operating in Israel for thirty years and is headquartered in Petah Tikvah, with additional offices at Azrieli Center in Tel Aviv and Beersheva. Feigenbaum explains that Oracle Israel’s activities are divided into two main categories – research and development of products for company use and Oracle’s customers worldwide, and sales, marketing, and professional services for Oracle’s local Israeli customers.
This past summer, Oracle increased the size of its footprint in Israel when it opened a cloud region here. “We are the first major cloud provider in Israel to build a public cloud region in Israel,” says Feigenbaum, “with our first data center in Jerusalem that launched last summer.”
Oracle’s data center was built nine floors underground, taking Israel’s unique security requirements into account. “If you are going to be the first provider to open a data center in Israel,” says Feigenbaum, “what better place to do it than the capital.” He reports that the center has been so successful that Oracle will be launching a second data center in northern Israel later this year.
Feigenbaum explains that having data in a local cloud region here allows clients to maintain primary and backup data in Israel, allowing the data to remain in the country, and providing better performance, since it is nearby. In addition, he says, customers who store data with Oracle receive additional advantages. “When we bring a cloud region, we bring all of the Oracle cloud services, including exclusive services.” Oracle successfully rolled out its Israel data center this year, he notes, despite the difficulties presented by the pandemic.
Feigenbaum says that Oracle’s relatively late entry into the cloud market has benefited the company. “Oracle was a second comer to the cloud market,” he says, “and Oracle did a great job using that to its advantage.” The company looked at the first-generation cloud products and determined that they could improve on them with better security, pricing and performance. “We did revolutionary things that offer the highest level of security that no one else can match. That is what made it unique and made us very popular with customers that care about security and performance and are also cost-sensitive.”
In 2021, the State of Israel awarded its Nimbus cloud tender, a large-scale project to provide comprehensive cloud services for the Israeli government, to Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud, bypassing Oracle’s bid. In July 2021, Oracle filed a petition with the Jerusalem District Court appealing the government’s decision. Feigenbaum says that he cannot comment extensively because the case is in trial. He did state, however, “I think the government made a mistake in their criteria and the selection process. It’s not even so much about awarding it to Oracle. Being a new Israeli citizen, it’s about having the right security requirements for something that is going to be essential and critical for the State of Israel.” I wouldn’t build a data center in a flood zone in Holland. I have to build a data center in Israel that is underground and can withstand all of those threats associated with where we live in Israel, and those weren’t even threats that they thought about as a requirement. We know that the more competition you have, the more it drives innovation and prices to benefit consumers. There’s no real reason why Nimbus shouldn’t allow it to all vendors that meet certain requirements.”
Commenting about Oracle’s role in medical studies during the pandemic, Feigenbaum says that the company’s advanced performance infrastructure has been invaluable in finding new Covid therapies and vaccines and helping to predict where covid outbreaks would occur next. Oracle’s Covid-19 therapeutic learning system allowed physicians and patients over the United States to record the effectiveness of drug therapies, and Oracle Cloud is being used to run clinical trials that test the safety and efficacy of Covid drugs and vaccines. Feigenbaum added that in the early stages of the pandemic, Oracle Israel worked with the Migal Institute in northern Israel, donating its cloud infrastructure for researchers to analyze enormous amounts of genetic sequences to track the vulnerabilities of the virus.
What fascinates Eran Feigenbaum most about the Israeli hi-tech scene? “It’s the people,” he comments. “The amount of grit that exists here in not taking ‘no’ for an answer, in looking at a problem that we all have in day-to-day life and finding a new solution for it. It is fascinating, and it is part of the culture here. That comes from the grit of living in Israel.”
Beyond the company’s advanced database and cloud services, Oracle Israel, says Feigenbaum, is working on a fascinating collaboration with the IDF’s Unit 8200 Alumni Association and the Ministry of Education to help develop the social and emotional intelligence skills of students, especially important after attending school via Zoom for the past two years. “Oracle is a partner and sponsor of the 8200 SEL Challenge (social and emotional learning challenge) to get one hundred startups focused on this problem by awarding money and trials in front of students, to give a push to be transformative and innovative and bring this type of innovation into learning.”
Eran Feigenbaum is certain that Oracle will continue its success in Israel. “I am confident that we will come out with transformative technologies and startups that will have an impact in Israel and beyond.”
This article is taken from The Jerusalem Post Israel Technology and Innovation Magazine 2022. To read the entire magazine, click here.
This article was written in cooperation with Oracle