Navigating the on-premises to cloud migration journey for your Oracle Databases

April 11, 2024 | 8 minute read
Sean Coughlin
Enterprise Cloud Architect
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Which way is north?

Quite often when we are tasked with a migration from either old hardware to new, from one database platform to another, and particularly, from an on-premises deployment to the cloud, the task can be daunting. Finding out what options are available can be just as challenging as the migration itself.

This blog will highlight a few technical and business considerations that you will find useful on your migration journey to the Oracle Cloud with a focus on:

  • Discovery and capture of where you are today
  • Knowing the available OCI database platforms and services
  • Licensing models and Support Rewards
  • Review of migration services as your next step

Discover and capture current environments

Having a good handle on the platforms that support your Oracle Databases, such as operating systems, Oracle Database editions and options, is critical in helping you determine what OCI database services will meet your needs. This information will help you navigate to where you need to dig further.

Things to consider:



Capture key details in a spreadsheet. Here’s an example or use the Oracle Cloud Migration Advisor spreadsheet.

Review current Workloads and Processes

While having a good handle on your database environment is critical, knowing how you are using those database editions and options is just as important and will help you identify functionality you will need in choosing your target database service.

For any given application and Oracle Database you are looking to migrate:

Are you looking to reduce operational costs?

  • Faster and automated deployments
  • Automated operational management
  • Less databases options to purchase and manage

Are you looking to accomplish more?

  • Leverage OCI managed service features as autoscaling and administrative functions
  • Gain benefits from OCI provisioning speed
  • Gain database functionality and options based on deployment model

Are you looking to reduce risk in managing your Oracle Database platform?

  • Ensure timely Oracle patching
  • Leverage automation to reduce human error
  • HA capabilities to increase application up-time

Are you looking to maintain same level of control in the cloud that you do on-premises?

  • What level of DBA access does the application require?
  • Is operational- or application-level support required?
  • Is it an application requiring little to no DDL changes or internal management?

Do you require “root” access of the database server?

  • Do your ADMINs require the ability to install OS based agents, security tools, auditing features? Splunk or other 3rd party agents?

Do you require “DBA” access in the Oracle Database?

  • Do you require the ability to create tablespaces, directories, DB Links?
  • Do you perform tablespace refreshes as part of a refresh cycle?

What functionality do you use to support your application releases?

  • Do you leverage high availability functionality such as online Table Reorgs or Index Rebuilds, or Flashback?
  • Do applications, whether homegrown or commercial, invoke DBA level actions, such as creating Tables, Indexes or Tablespaces?

Landing on the appropriate cloud database service

The Oracle Database portfolio has an abundance of capabilities and offers four primary databases to choose from. The Oracle Service Advisor tool helps you reduce the time to find the correct database cloud service by checking off your requirements, such as deployment location (ie: Oracle, Customer site, or Azure,) usage, capacity, availability requirements, compliance, automated operations required and more.

The four cloud deployment choices and Oracle Databases include:

Standalone BM or VM Deployments (Bare Metal, Virtual Machine)

This is an Oracle infrastructure service (IaaS) that will stand up bare metal (BM) or Virtual Machines (VM) hardware. Once deployed, customers can install their Oracle Database software and options on the BM or VM infrastructure as if on-premises. This deployment option provides the most hand-on control at both the OS and Database level.

Oracle Database Base Database Service (Base Database Service)

This is an Oracle Database service (DBaaS) that deploys both infrastructure and Oracle Database software, creates your databases, schedules backups, and does patching. When deploying using this model, you will get to choose the VM shapes (chip, OS, and storage) that your Oracle Database software will be deployed to and the version and edition of the Oracle Database, allowing you to deploy in “minutes” rather than days.

This database service is offered with:

  • Oracle Database as a Service running Standard Edition
  • Oracle Database as a Service running Enterprise Edition
  • Oracle Database as a Service running Enterprise Edition High Performance
  • Oracle Database as a Service running Enterprise Edition Extreme Performance

Here, “Edition” truly means Oracle Database edition when looking at Standard Edition vs Enterprise edition. When it comes to the three Enterprise Edition deployments, they are geared at the options the software is deployed with. For details on available options in each edition, see Enterprise Edition Options.

Oracle Exadata Database Service (Exadata Database Service)

This is an Oracle Database service that deploys the Oracle Database software on Oracle Exadata engineered system. This is geared at those enterprise workloads demanding the highest performance and the benefits of a database service. This option is available both in OCI, Azure, as well as on-premises with Exadata Database Cloud@Customer.

The base offering comes with 2 database servers and 3 storage servers. Compute and storage servers can be added independently. You can configure 2 to 32 Database servers, each with 4 to 252 OCPUs and 3 to 64 storage servers.

Oracle Autonomous Database Service (Autonomous Database)

This is an Oracle Database service (ADB) which eliminates virtually all the complexities and challenges of deploying and managing an Oracle Database environment. This option eliminates the need for System Admin’s and greatly reduces the workload on Oracle DBA’s.

This service provides the ability to quickly provision databases for Online Transaction Processing (ATP), Data Warehouse (ADW), or JSON workloads and comes preconfigured with “best practice” parameter settings. These are great for third party, line of business applications that do not require heavy DBA interaction.

This service can be deployed as:

FAQ link for Autonomous Database offering is included in the additional resources section.

License models

Each of the four Oracle Database deployment models has a license included and bring your own license (BYOL) option to allow customers to leverage existing investments and transfer them to the cloud.

BYOL is a great opportunity for customers not just to migrate as is but migrate and modernize. For many on premises deployments, it’s a big improvement to upgrade into the latest Oracle Database innovations and the economics of a fully managed service.

As an example, customers owning Standard Edition licenses can transfer their existing licenses to an Autonomous Database service and run the Oracle Enterprise Edition – Extreme Performance database software with all its options on the Exadata hardware platform. Beyond gaining increased database functionality, BYOL subscriptions have discounted pricing. In the SE to Autonomous case, the hourly fees are 76% lower.

For more information:

Oracle Support Rewards

Oracle offers additional economic incentives to migrate your licenses to the cloud. The Oracle Support Rewards program reduces support fees by paying down your tech software license bill for every dollar spent in OCI. As you consume more OCI services, you accrue more support rewards and can even reduce your support bill down to zero. (taxes excluded)

Next steps

Oracle Migration Services 

If all this still seems overwhelming, you are not alone. Because of this, Oracle offers migration support through Oracle Cloud Lift Services.  Cloud Lift Services provide cloud engineers for planning, architecting, prototyping, and managing cloud migrations. Clients will work with a dedicated group of OCI experts to assist from inception to go-live, including assessment design, prototyping, migration, and management.

Migration Services and Tools

Part of knowing which way’s north is knowing the roads that lead there as well. While this Blog’s focus was not methods of migration, I would be remiss if I did not whet your appetite for what comes next, determining the means and methods for your migrations.

Our Oracle Database Cloud Migration web page is the place to start for “all things migration.” Here you can get a complete overview of migration solutions, tools, and resources, whether you are looking for assistance and automation with your upgrades or will be doing them in-house.

There are two main sections contained on this site. The “Getting Started” section outlines the process of planning, preparation, execution and validation and the other provides details on “Migration Methods,” including automated and do-it-yourself migration workflows. See how you can benefit from the automated methods: OCI Database Migration, Zero Downtime Migration, and the Enterprise Manager Workbench.

In the Getting Started section you will find things like:

  • The Plan tab for resources to assess your database estate. Here are three free tools that provide insight and options for your migration strategy:
  • Estate Explorer catalogs and evaluates your database estate, suggesting alternatives for lowest TCO cloud operations and prioritizes databases to migrate based on effort required.
  • Database Service Advisor helps you choose the most appropriate Oracle Database cloud service based on specific technical requirements.
  • Migration Methods Advisor prioritizes the best migration methods for your specific source and target database configuration and operating requirements.
  • The Prepare tab for resources such as our Cloud Premigration Advisor Tool aka CPAT to help analyze source databases and suggest preparation steps for the selected target cloud service.
  • The Validate tab provides solutions to help reduce the risk associated with migrating your databases. Here you will find links to Enterprise Manager Migration Workbench and Golden Gates Veridata to help you manage the accuracy and completeness of your migration efforts.
  • The Migration Workflow tab describes the online or offline migration options available to each database target described above.
  • The OCI Database Migration tab describes the free OCI Database Migration service.
  • The Zero Downtime Migration tab describes the free toolkit for executing all migration methods.
  • The Enterprise Manager tab describes the Enterprise Manager Workbench that is an included feature of Enterprise Manager.

Whether it’s knowing the direction you need to go, what options and choices you have, regardless of how simple or complex your migration needs are, Oracle is here to help every step of the way.


Knowing where you are starting is critical as you head out to migrate your on-premises Oracle Databases to OCI. Hardware and software inventory, database editions, versions and options in use, database functionality used all need to be identified and captured.

Once you know where you are starting, knowing that there are four database services available to you will help you know where you need to start and then dig further once you determine what option best suites your requirements.

Understanding license models as well as the perks Oracle offers can greatly help you further leverage your Oracle assets, whether currently owned licenses or Oracle provided resources.

No matter what your needs are, OCI and Azure have a place for your Oracle Databases.

Additional resources

Details for what database versions can be directly upgraded to 23c can be found below.

Key database migration resources

Release schedules and support policies are important planning guides:


Sean Coughlin

Enterprise Cloud Architect

Enterprise Cloud Architect

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