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Oracle’s headquarters in Redwood City. Photo: Ken Wolter /

Eager to court developers and tech executives who have long seen it as a cloud also-ran, Oracle unveiled a new serverless development platform Monday afternoon alongside a package of container-related services as a cloud startup buying spree starts to pay off.

“Fn” (a play on the function key) is the fruit of Oracle’s move to hire the team behind of, said Bob Quillin, vice president of the Oracle Container Group. It’s a open-source development platform that can run locally on a developer’s laptop or in the cloud, and it allows developers working with serverless technologies — those writing apps based around lightweight functions that are triggered by events to quickly execute tasks — to deploy those functions in their apps.

“One of the missing pieces right now (for serverless) is a real open-source focal point,” said Qullin, who also came to Oracle through a startup acquisition; StackEngine, where he was co-founder and CEO until the company was acquired in December 2015. “Developers are one of the primary voices that are driving this digital transformation, and being open and cloud neutral is almost a market requirement these days,” he said.

In keeping with Oracle’s running theme for Oracle OpenWorld 2017 — Amazon Web Services is really, really bad — Quillin argued that while AWS Lambda certainly did kick off the serverless development movement, it’s “a closed solution” that could cause problems for developers building apps around Lambda if they later decide their needs are better served by another cloud vendor.

Oracle plans to release the open-source version of the project at the conference for developers to kick around, and it will release its own managed service for Oracle’s cloud based around Fn later this year, he said. A lot of developers are excited about the flexibility and cost-savings associated with serverless development, but the lack of mature tools has been a sticking point for many who would like to give it a try.

The company is also releasing a new package of container-related services called Oracle Container Native Application Development Platform. This package consists of Oracle Container Engine, a managed Kubernetes service previewed earlier this year; Oracle Container Registry Service, which makes it easier to manage containers across different environments; and Oracle Container Pipelines, a service for continuous integration and continuous deployment that Oracle acquired along with Wrecker in April.

OCNADP (that’s probably not going to stick) will be generally available later this year, with pricing still to be determined, but it will be available on a limited basis starting this week, Quillin said. More details on the afternoon’s announcements can be found here.

(Editor’s note: This post was updated to clarify the circumstances of the team joining Oracle.)

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