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Oracle on customer launch opens up true hybrid Cloud

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Oracle have announced at Oracle CloudWorld, on 24th March 2016, its most innovative, most audacious Cloud Services offering with its Oracle Cloud at Customer. This service is represented by an Oracle engineered system – the Oracle Cloud Machine - that importantly sits behind the customer firewall and is fully integrated with Oracle Public Cloud, with its increasing diversity of IaaS and PaaS offerings. Its unique value proposition is that it enables customers to have access to the Oracle Public Cloud offerings whilst retaining the Cloud as an on-premise solution. It is a direct response to those organisations that are prevented from consuming Oracle Public Cloud because of data residency, security or compliance issues. Those companies are likely to be in industries such as finance, government, healthcare, or manufacturing.

Oracle Cloud at Customer offers the same services available in Oracle Cloud—the same compute resources, middleware, database, and tools—in an integrated system that resides on corporate premises. It can be used to address a number of enterprise computing requirements, such as elastic bursting, workload portability and using dedicated resources for developing and testing applications in the Oracle Public Cloud, whilst enabling production systems to be run on-premise. The customer is able to set policies governing which workloads are allowed to run on the wider Oracle Cloud Platform, and which must be confined to the Oracle Cloud Machine, giving them the reassurance that sensitive data remains on their premises. Oracle Cloud at Customer is offered as a managed service offering from Oracle and is therefore licensed in the same “as-a-service” model as the Oracle Public Cloud. And business users receive the latest updates and innovations to their Oracle Cloud at Customer services, delivered automatically on premises within their data centres via the new Oracle Cloud Machine, just as they would using services in Oracle Cloud.

Since 2009, many technology vendors have attempted to bring Hybrid Cloud solutions to market, mostly with limited success and the various generations are depicted below.

CLOUD

In 2016, the 4th Generation of Hybrid Cloud is emerging in the marketplace. These solutions are directly attacking the biggest barriers to Hybrid Cloud adoption, specifically:

  • Many companies want the agile, feature-rich experience of the public cloud, but have physical data-locality issues (data sovereignty, compliance, governance, cultural edicts) that mandate private cloud environments.
  • Many companies have existing applications with extremely low-latency requirements that will not tolerate the delays of the public Internet. These require application and data proximity within a private cloud.
  • The high costs of hiring or re-training IT staff with the skills to build and operate a cloud environment at the IaaS layer.
  • The high costs of hiring or re-training IT staff with the skills to build and operate a cloud environment at the PaaS layer.
  • Delivering operational consistency in either a private cloud or public cloud environment.
  • Managing the movement of applications or data between private and public cloud environments.
  • Managing the security of applications or data between private and public cloud environments.

Oracle has been rapidly expanding its SaaS, PaaS and IaaS public cloud presence with Oracle Cloud over the last 2-3 years. This augments the company’s existing portfolio of Engineered Systems and Appliances that run on-premises. Bringing those two worlds together is the objective for many of its customers and emphasises the firm’s stated strategy, which it generically refers to as “Same : Same.” With the introduction of the Oracle Cloud Machine, part of the Cloud at Customer line of solutions, Oracle is taking deliberate steps to making that vision a reality. It marks this offering as a genuine 4th Generation Hybrid Cloud solution and distinguishes Oracle from Amazon and Microsoft (see Azure Stack) in terms of the level of integration, albeit via a single vendor for hardware and software, offered between private and public cloud. According to Nirav Mehta, Vice President of Product Management, Oracle, the biggest reasons why the promise of private clouds has not been realised is it is either ‘private’ or a ‘cloud’ but not really both at the same time.

Oracle’s goals are to roll out all of the PaaS and IaaS services and it will also provide additional styles of hardware such as Exadata Cloud Service and Big Data Cloud Service behind the firewall in the future. The Oracle Cloud Machine currently brings many aspects of the Oracle Cloud directly into customer’s data centre:

Oracle Cloud Services – The Oracle Cloud Operations team will manage the underlying hardware and software (IaaS) for the Oracle Cloud Machine. Customers can focus on their applications and new application development. Customer-facing resources are delivered through a self-service user-interface.

Oracle Java Cloud Service – A complete Oracle WebLogic cluster deployed, including load-balancing. This delivers the Java PaaS layer that Oracle customers know and integrate into existing applications.

Oracle Integration Cloud Service – A framework which simplifies integrations for SaaS, PaaS and existing on-premises applications.

Oracle Database Service – Managed Oracle Database-as-a-Service, including updates and backups.

Oracle Messaging Cloud Service – Enables communications between software components by sending and receiving messages via a single messaging API to achieve automated business workflows.

Oracle Application Container Cloud Service – Allows developers of Java SE or Node.js applications to easily deploy applications to a modern PaaS framework.

Oracle Cloud Machine is sold as a set of subscription and elastic metered services. You buy IaaS and PaaS services and not hardware and software. The pricing mirrors the Oracle Public Cloud pricing for a very simple buying experience for the customer.

The Oracle Cloud Machine will be available to customers in three configuration sizes (see Figure 1 below). Each configuration includes Intel x86-based servers, ZFS-based storage and 10Gb network connections into the data centre via Oracle Fast Connect. The Oracle Cloud Machines will include all of the Oracle software required to deliver the application services, as well as software for managing, monitoring, troubleshooting and updating the environments.

Figure 1:

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