Oracle Cloud: What Are My Options?

    By: Eric Mader on Feb 22, 2017

    Oracle Cloud: What Are My Options?

    It is difficult to turn a corner these days without seeing the word “cloud.” One thing remains very clear: There is a lot of enthusiasm for the cloud in the Oracle community right now, and Oracle is fueling that enthusiasm. The cloud, specifically Oracle’s Public Cloud, presents a unique opportunity for administrators to leverage operational expenditures for Oracle deployments. Organizations can choose to pay a predictable time-based amount, either hourly or monthly, to operate their workloads without having to worry about spending significant capital expenditures on new servers, implementation time, tuning and support.

    As administrators and architects have known for years, a deployment is only going to perform as well as its underlying infrastructure will allow. For instance, no amount of tuning is going to compensate for inadequate hardware or a poorly maintained operating system. In the Oracle Cloud, administrators can leverage Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) as part of the Oracle Cloud Compute service. This allows administrators to request as many systems as needed just by providing specifications such as disk size, memory and networking. The systems run within Oracle’s data center and are tuned, monitored and maintained by Oracle’s technicians. Administrators provide an SSH public key during the setup process and can directly access the Linux root and Oracle users of the system via a unique public IP address.

    For organizations that have an insufficient or nonexistent data center, lack the capital budget for new hardware or storage, or are facing tight project deadlines, IaaS in the Oracle Public Cloud provides an opportunity to build powerful database and middleware environments quickly. IaaS systems are provisioned within hours, resulting in short lead time required for building out the infrastructure components. Database and middleware administrators do not need to involve network, storage, virtualization and OS administrators, and then wait for each individual to complete their required tasks. Oracle software and instances can begin to be deployed within hours, not days or weeks.

    IaaS also provides advantages during the day-to-day operation of Oracle services. Because everything runs within Oracle’s data center, organizations do not need to worry about managing any overhead, such as power, cooling, network gear, disk arrays or physical servers. If Oracle needs to suspend an IaaS system for any reason, such as routine maintenance or an emergency outage, administrators will receive an email and can notify any affected end users. Oracle handles every aspect of the outage; administrators simply need to confirm that their services are still operating as expected after recovery. Of course, Oracle’s data center technicians work tirelessly to avoid any outages and implement high-availability practices to make unexpected outages as unnoticeable as possible.

    The Oracle Compute Cloud is also an ideal IaaS platform for organizations that require different clones of the same environment for different business purposes such as development, testing, quality assurance and production. WebLogic and database instances can be quickly provisioned based upon Oracle’s common system image, minimizing the risk of unintentional changes between environments. Administrators can also easily destroy and rebuild lower environments within hours, then clone configurations and data from higher environments. This greatly reduces the amount of time that an administrator needs to commit to refreshes.

    However, depending on the architecture and the budget, it may not always make sense for administrators to deploy a complete environment to the Oracle Public Cloud. In some cases, it makes more sense to deploy part of an Oracle workload to the cloud and keep the remainder in an on-premise data center. These types of hybrid deployment approaches will be common, especially since many organizations are still new to the cloud and are used to running all environments in-house. In addition, it will take a bit of time before the Oracle Public Cloud will convince IT managers and auditors of its security fortitude.

    Hybrid architectures, although not as flexible as 100 percent off-premise approaches, are beginning to work their way into the Oracle Cloud. Linux systems running in the Oracle Cloud are all accessible via a unique public IP address, which is protected by a firewall that can be modified via a Web interface. This allows administrators to directly access resources running in their IaaS instances from their corporate networks. Oracle does not provide a VPN tunnel or WAN service to directly link a corporate network with a cloud network. However, the public IPs and firewalling capabilities allow administrators to bridge on-premise resources with those in the Oracle Cloud. For example, DBAs can configure Active DataGuard between an existing on-premise database and another running in the Oracle Cloud for disaster recovery purposes.

    So, Oracle administrators have three options:

    • Deploy everything to the Oracle Cloud;
    • Implement a hybrid architecture that includes both on- and off-premise components; or
    • Do nothing and keep everything on-premise.

    Moving everything off-premise provides the greatest amount of flexibility to Oracle administrators and ensures that their deployments are running on a 100 percent Oracle built and maintained infrastructure stack. Oracle technicians will work around the clock to ensure that their IaaS systems are running, and issues can be quickly resolved through regular Oracle support channels.

    Keeping everything on-premise will likely sound appealing to many organizations, especially those concerned about keeping a close eye on infrastructure resources for management or security standards. However, Oracle is working diligently to ensure that their data centers remain in compliance with a plethora of security certifications, including HIPAA, FISMA and the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act. If an administrator has a particular mandated regulation, chances are that Oracle’s data centers are in compliance.

    Remember, there are many reasons for the enthusiasm. The Oracle Cloud, even in hybrid deployments, is the powerful IaaS option that is built, maintained and supported by Oracle, for next-generation Oracle deployments.

    Released: February 22, 2017, 7:36 am | Updated: June 2, 2017, 9:18 am
    Keywords: Department | cloud | IaaS | infrastructure | Oracle Public Cloud

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