On November 2nd, 2017 the CloudTalk Meetup group of Bellevue, WA hosted an introduction to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure given by Solutions Architect, Kaslin Fields. The CloudTalk meetup group has nearly 2,000 members and is hosted by Agitare Technologies. Agitare, in their own words, "are a boutique consulting company that specializes in helping enterprises get the most value from the cloud and the data they collect." They started the CloudTalk meetup group 5 years ago to provide a forum for people interested in cloud technology to learn about the latest and greatest.
This particular event surpassed the normal RSVP limitation, and attendees filled all available seats within the Bellevue Chamber of Commerce to listen to the talk. Attendees ranged from highly technical to business-focused, brought together by a common interest in Cloud Technology.
The presentation began with a comparison of Oracle Cloud Infrastructure's strategy and strengths with well-known competitors. As a major name in enterprise technology solutions, Oracle has the advantage of being able to leverage that insight and experience into creating the cloud platform best tailored to enterprise needs. While competitors have their specialties, Oracle strives to provide the best experience for our customers both for their tough-to-manage legacy applications, and their new cloud-native applications.
Once the concepts behind Oracle Cloud Infrastructure were established, the talk moved into a discussion of the components that make up the cloud. We broke up the underlying pieces into 4 groups: region, physical network, virtual network, and compute & storage.
The first thing to understand about how the cloud works, is "regions". Regions are geographic locations that are separated by a considerable distance. At Oracle Cloud Infrastructure today, we have 3 regions: Phoenix, Arizona; Ashburn, Virginia; and Frankfurt, Germany. Within a region, Oracle Cloud Infrastructure has "Availability Domains" (or "ADs" for short). Availability Domains are cloud resources separated by enough distance to make them resilient to disaster. They utilize safety measures like being on different flood plains and using different power sources. But, Availability Domains are close enough such that they can be tied together with consistent high-performance, low-latency networking. This provides a great option for customers who would like to set up high availability workloads within a certain region.
Oracle Cloud Infrastructure's physical network provides flat, fast, and reliable communication between cloud resources. In order to provide the fastest, most predictable performance to our customers, Oracle Cloud Infrastructure does not overscribe our network - or our compute for that matter. As a cloud provider, scale must always be at the forefront, and our network is designed with scale in mind. With around one million network ports in one AD, we are ready for scale. We design our networks to have as few hops as possible between any two locations, so your resources can communicate as quickly and easily as possible.
The virtual network at Oracle Cloud Infrastructure sets us apart from our competitors. Management and IO are kept out of the hypervisor, enabling lower overhead and bare metal instances.
And naturally, any cloud is defined by the resources its users can consume. Our compute and storage offerings are designed to provide the options our customers need. Our instances come with super-fast NVMe storage attached, and our unique bare metal instances provide the kind of power and control customers can't find with any other cloud provider.
As Oracle Cloud Infrastructure's new X7 shapes had released just days before the event, they were a highlight of the night. The new larger shapes and GPU options are highlighted in the graphic below with some brief details describing each one:
The attendees were engaged and asked questions about performance, availability, and service offerings. They were also curious about issues regarding governance in certain regions.
Naturally a cloud designed for enterprise with powerful bare metal instances, has a story to tell around performance. For more information about the performance of Oracle Cloud Infrastructure offerings, check out Lee Gates' performance blog series.
For information about cloud availability, Oracle Cloud Infrastructure recently launched a status page where we report on our status and any outages that may affect customers.
One question asked, which helped to clarify our service offerings, was about data resilience. How would a customer protect their data in the event of a failure on Oracle's side? As an infrastructure provider, Oracle Cloud Infrastructure enables customers to set up the data protection strategies that are right for their needs. This led to a discussion about the responsibilities of the infrastructure provider versus the responsibilities of the customer. Generally, an infrastructure provider takes responsibility for availability of the infrastructure, and the customer takes responsibility for protecting whatever might be running on that infrastructure. So while the provider may offer tools to enable the customer to set up whatever resiliency/recovery systems they desire, the platform should not assume the customer wants any specific type of protection.
Regarding regulatory compliance, Oracle Cloud Infrastructure aims to be the cloud designed for enterprises, and as such, we are working through getting a variety of compliance certificiations.
After the presentation, the group moved into a demo of the Oracle Cloud Infrastructure Console. Kaslin walked through a basic network, instance, and block storage creation process similar to the one found in Oracle Cloud Infrastructure's own documentation. The group had lots of questions about the resource creation process and the resources themselves. Attendees were also interested in ways to manage their infrastructure via automation. Oracle Cloud Infrastructure does provide a Rest API, which you can learn more about here. Oracle Cloud Infrastructure also has its own Terraform provider which customers can use to manage their infrastructure. The provider is available open source on github.
Overall, attendees learned where Oracle Cloud Infrastructure came from, what its strengths are, and what Oracle Cloud Infrastructure could offer them. Attendees had the opportunity to ask a Solutions Architect questions about Oracle Cloud Infrastructure that mattered to them. Everyone went home with a deeper understanding of the platform and its capabilities.
For anyone interested in trying out Oracle Cloud Infrastructure for themselves, please check out our free trial!