Tuesday Jul 26, 2016

AWS Schema Conversion Tool: What’s Real?

Author:  Pat Shuff 

On 13th July 2016, AWS announced support for converting Oracle Data Warehouse to Amazon Redshift using its Schema Conversion Tool. In this blog post, we analyze this tool and uncover what’s real and what’s not. Converting a production Oracle Database to a much lighter weight and less functional database is not recommended but that is the purpose of this tool. The migration effort and customizations needed to move a production database instance to Amazon RDS typically breaks support, breaks functionality, and does not work as expected. We will look at three use cases to analyze how well the tool helps you and look at the tradeoffs required to move your applications from on- premises to Amazon RDS or another cloud service provider.

The idea behind the AWS Schema Conversion Toolkit is that it will look at your existing database (MySQL, Oracle, SQL Server, etc.) and provide you the effort required to migrate from your source database to Amazon RDS. The tool claims that it can convert an Oracle Database to Aurora, MySQL, PostgreSQL, or MariaDB. To test the tool, we looked at the sample database that is installed with an Oracle Database 12c Enterprise Edition called Application Express 5.0 and a public domain package SwingBench that contains server-side code as well as database objects and stored procedures. We could have looked at an Oracle E-Business Suite, Oracle JD Edwards or Oracle PeopleSoft installation but they typically need to run on Oracle Database Standard Edition, Enterprise Edition or in some cases Microsoft SQL Server. The targets supported by the AWS Toolkit are not valid database targets for these application packages and the tool does not support translating these repositories from an on-premises system to a supported target database in Amazon RDS. The tool starts out by asking you to attach to your source Oracle database instance. To do this you need to supply the SID of the database, the Service Name of the instance, the TNS Alias of the instance, or the TNS Connection Identifier. We tested our connection first using Oracle SQL Developer with all of these connection methods and the only one that worked with the AWS Schema Conversion Tool was the SID name. All connections to a multi-tenant instance of the Oracle Database 12c failed because the AWS Tool could not handle a complex Service Name. In our test database we could connect to the SID of ORCL but could not connect to the Service Name pdb1.metacsgse00028.oraclecloud.internal which is what the lsnrctl status command shows as the Service Name and TNS Connection Identifier. 

 For the Application Express 5.0 instance the AWS Schema Conversion Tool found 3,299 database storage objects and 1,097 code objects. As per the tool, 45 database storage objects and 180 code objects required manual conversion to get them to work on Amazon RDS for MySQL or Amazon Aurora.  

Oracle Database 12c comes with a demo pluggable database, but we couldn’t test it with the AWS tool, as it doesn’t support connecting to a database using a complex Service Name We did not reconfigure the listener to adapt to a different SID because few customers do this in real-life scenarios and use the Service Name or TNS name to connect to the database (both of which are unsupported in the AWS Tool).

For SwingBench v2.0 the AWS Tool scanned and found 13 database objects and 2 database code objects and could not convert 1 storage object and 1 code object. The database object that failed was a check constraint as well as a time zone timestamp conversion. Both of these require manual conversion that stops the code from being migrated to Amazon RDS. 

There are many hidden issues with the AWS Schema Conversion Tool. First, the conversion option that the tool defaults to is migrate from an Oracle database to Amazon RDS for MySQL or Amazon Aurora (alongside PostgreSQL and MariaDB). This is not an apples-to-apples conversion, as both Amazon RDS and Amazon Aurora lack several key enterprise features (no DataGuard support, no Multi-Tenant or Pluggable containers, no file system access, no Oracle Label Security, and anything that requires sys or sysdba rights to install and configure to mention a few).

Second, contrary to the AWS guidance, the manual interventions required to port an existing code to Amazon RDS for MySQL or Amazon Aurora are not trivial. The AWS Schema Conversion Tool generates a report that shows bar charts summarizing the conversion effort but does not detail what needs to be converted. To get this information, you have to save to a CSV or PDF format to get the full report. The report summarizes the conversions that fail because specific collection types are not supported in Amazon Aurora or Amazon RDS for MySQL. It also lists synonyms and sequences that fail to convert. The conversion also does not support function indexes, check constraints, user defined functions, virtual columns, the DATETIME structure with Time zone information, hierarchical queries, pseudo columns, and performance hints. In our specific example, the changes recommended by the AWS Schema Conversion Tool are massive and complex and require a total rewrite of the database logic.

In summary, the AWS Schema Conversion Tool is not enterprise-ready, but is more of a marketing attempt at getting you to move from an existing on-premises database to an Amazon RDS for MySQL or Amazon Aurora. We are making the results of the AWS Schema Conversion Tool for our specific tests available here (APEX database, SwingBench), so you can save time and effort testing the conversion. A better conversion of your on-premises database instance would be to copy it to the Oracle Cloud using Oracle Cloud Database as a Service and all your current features and functionality will be supported without having to change your schema, stored procedures, or applications. 

Thursday Jul 21, 2016

Businesses Need CIOs Today More Than Ever

—By Michael Hickins, Director of Strategic Communications at Oracle 

Back in what now might seem like the good old days for CIO job security, CIOs were held hostage by complex technologies they were responsible for running, or fixing, in-house. Perilous though the situation was, it at least seemed like they were in control of their own destinies, for better or worse. Today, however, slick cloud applications that any line-of-business owner can pay for with a credit card make many CIOs feel an existential threat to their existence that's greater than at any time since career is over first became a punch line. 

But according to François Lançon, Oracle's SVP for Asia-Pacific, the exact opposite is true. "It may not be fashionable to say so, but cloud computing has in many cases simply compounded existing problems without fulfilling its cost-cutting and innovation-driving promise," he writes in this provocative column. CIOs can do much more than just clean up this mess; by virtue of where they sit in the organization, they have the best purview for understanding how all of a company's pieces fit together, how technology can be used to change business practices, and how to create a strategy that delivers on the cloud's promise of innovation and cost-containment.

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The ’Software In Silicon’ Edge

—By Chris Murphy, Director of Cloud Content at Oracle

In the cloud era, why does Oracle still pour so much talent and money into engineering its own microprocessors? “Our religion here is fairly straightforward: we want to build the best hardware products in the world,” said John Fowler, Oracle executive vice president of systems, at Oracle OpenWorld Latin America last week. Building the best means eliminating any barriers to performance and cost-effectiveness. Increasingly, many problems related to security, efficiency, and simplicity must be solved at the “software in silicon” level, Fowler explains in this article

Oracle last week announced its new SPARC S7 processor, designed to bring Oracle’s most powerful microprocessor innovations to smaller, scale-out workloads at commodity prices. Companies can tap the SPARC S7’s innovations in three ways: as a cloud service running in Oracle’s data center; as an engineered system that bundles hardware, software, and networking (SPARC MiniCluster S7-2); and as SPARC S7-based servers. Read more on how SPARC S7 technology helps companies with both cloud and on-premises workloads.

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Monday Jul 18, 2016

Grupo Fármacos Especializados Achieves Greater Operational Efficiency and Cost Control with Engineered Systems and Managed Cloud Services

Grupo Fármacos Especializados is a consortium of companies that specializes in various healthcare-related services and products. The group started as a single pharmacy in Mexico City, grew to a chain of pharmacies, and later expanded to include wholesale distribution of pharmaceuticals and healthcare products to public and private sector organizations.

Grupo Farmacos implemented Oracle E-Business Suite, Oracle’s PeopleSoft, Siebel CRM, Hyperion, Demantra, SOA, and Oracle Business Intelligence—run and managed by Oracle Managed Cloud Services—providing a single instance capability that supports daily operations, executive decision making, and enables the IT organization to leverage the software functionality to support strategic business initiatives instead of ongoing system maintenance and support

Grupo Farmacos upgraded and implemented Oracle Exadata Database Machine, Oracle Exalogic Elastic Cloud, and Oracle Exalytics In-Memory Machine to support the growing quantity of commercial and financial transactions performed using the data warehouse and business intelligence (BI) systems—which drive Grupo Fármacos Especializados’ order and delivery processes—ensuring the company meets market challenges in line with its corporate strategy

“After careful technical and financial feasibility analysis, we upgraded to Oracle Engineered Systems, run and maintained by Oracle Managed Cloud Services, ensuring greater system stability and availability and leveraging the best practices and expertise needed to support our growth.”

- Alfredo Funes, IT director, Grupo Fármacos Especializados

Read the success story!

Tuesday Jul 05, 2016

Strategy for All 3 Pillars of the Cloud

—By Chris Murphy, Director of Cloud Content at Oracle

Oracle Executive Chairman and CTO Larry Ellison zeroed in on two points of focus for the company as it enters its fiscal year 2017: Grow Oracle's cloud software and platform businesses at double the rate of its closest competitors, and use "generation two" of the company's high-performance data centers to become an even more formidable player in cloud infrastructure. "We're growing fast in SaaS. We're growing fast in PaaS. Now we need to grow fast in infrastructure as a service," Ellison said on Oracle's Q4 FY 2016 earnings call on June 16. 

In SaaS and PaaS, Oracle plans to drive growth with a broader product line than its major cloud competitors and by reaching a new swath of midmarket companies. In IaaS, Oracle plans to use its new data centers to gain a performance advantage. Read more about Ellison's view on each of these three pillars of cloud computing—SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS—and how they complement one another.

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Friday Jun 17, 2016

Artificial Intelligence as Core IT

—By John Soat, senior writer, Oracle Corporate Communications 

Artificial intelligence (AI) is hot. Some of what you see in the media about robot warriors and autonomous airliners is so much hype. But there's nothing artificial about the money, resources, and human capital being invested in AI technology by today's smartest companies. 

In terms of enterprise IT, AI has become a fundamental building block. CIOs today must incorporate AI techniques such as machine learning and neural networks into their basic infrastructure and applications development strategies. They'll likely need cloud systems to store and manage the massive volumes of data that machine learning systems feed on. And CIOs should look to tap third-party apps and cloud services that make use of those techniques as well. 

CIOs ignore the AI wave at their peril. That's because, going forward—according to Toby Redshaw, consultant and former American Express CIO—the company that enters a market without benefit of AI-powered technology will be "the guy at the gunfight with a knife."

Subscribe to the weekly Cloud Leader newsletter by visiting the Oracle account page and updating your subscription preferences to include SaaS, PaaS, IaaS, or DaaS. If you do not already have an Oracle account, you can create one here.   

Monday Jun 06, 2016

A Hard Look at HR Processes

—By Chris Murphy, Oracle Director of Cloud Content

 We've been talking with a lot of HR leaders recently, and we've been hearing this often: implementing a cloud HR system pushed them to take a hard look at why they run the business like they do. Because Oracle Human Capital Management Cloud has many best practices built in as options, HR leaders are using their implementations as an opportunity to ask whether they should maintain some long-held, perhaps less efficient approaches. To explore this, we're devoting this issue of Cloud Leader to these HR transformation stories. 

At Ruby Tuesday, HR Vice President Lois Collins welcomed the challenge to existing processes, and she describes her team's effort to digitize its HR processes in the article Ruby Tuesday Takes HR Digital to Better Engage Employees. A recent success for the HR team came in reducing the drop-off rate of candidates who start the job application process. Says Collins, "The first impression you make as a company is the minute that person applies to your organization." You can hear more stories like this and get advice from experts, including Oracle CEO Mark Hurd, in the archived version of our Cloud Leader newsletter.

Subscribe to the weekly Cloud Leader newsletter by visiting the Oracle account page and updating your subscription preferences to include SaaS, PaaS, IaaS, or DaaS. If you do not already have an Oracle account, you can create one here.  

Wednesday May 25, 2016

Oracle Managed Cloud Services Wins Frost & Sullivan Innovation & Leadership Cloud Managed Services Award

Kudos to the Oracle Managed Cloud Services (OMCS) Latin American team! On May 12, 2016, OMCS’ Latin American organization was presented with the Frost & Sullivan 2015 Latin American Growth, Innovation & Leadership Cloud Managed Services Award. Read the press release.

Several customers have gone on the record to talk about the benefits of leveraging Oracle Managed Cloud Services – read their stories…. Grupo Aeromexico, Arcor SAIC, Smiles Airline and Grupo Bimbo.

How IT Must Change

—By Chris Murphy, Oracle Director of Cloud Content

It's a question I hear often when speaking with companies around the globe: Does cloud computing spell the demise of the CIO and IT department? 

That's how Daryl Szebesta, Oracle's vice president of cloud transformation and until recently CIO at another Global 2000 company, starts his essay on how the cloud is reshaping IT careers and IT's role. 

Szebesta's short answer is "no," but his long answer makes it clear that the cloud promises great careers ahead only for those willing to change. For example, the days of customizing code are almost entirely gone for enterprise IT, as configuration replaces development. Szebesta dives into how the needed change by IT pros looks different in the two distinct realms of deployment and maintenance of cloud systems. 

Read more in Will Cloud Kill the IT Star? 

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Thursday May 12, 2016

Gail Coury, VP, Risk Management, Managed Cloud Services, Oracle to Speak at Women in Leadership and Technology Conference

The National Capital Area Chapter of ISACA is hosting its first Women in Leadership and Technology Conference. This conference will focus on leadership, boardroom diversity and best practices to enhance the skills and potential of women leaders within the technology community. Women who have already achieved senior executive status will discuss the impact they have had as women leaders in the organizations they lead and what role they play in the complex, disruptive and constantly changing marketplace.

We’re proud to say that our own Gail Coury, VP, Risk Management, Managed Cloud Services, Oracle will be the opening speaker sharing her own journey as a woman in the technology field and the technology industry, and why she is passionate about women’s leadership.

Date/Time:  June 7th; 2:00 – 5:00 pm

Location: Holiday Inn Rosslyn @ Key Bridge; 1900 North Fort Myer Drive, Arlington, VA

For more information or to register click here!

Thursday May 05, 2016

What Happens When Big Data Meets Cloud?

Oracle Big Data Strategist Paul Sonderegger recently wrote how Big Data and the Cloud are "a match made in Heaven." However, as he writes, "the devil is in the details."

Large enterprises are waking up to the realities of data capital. Data is not just a record of what happened, it’s a raw material for creating new digital products and services.

This means companies are in a race to create unique data capital assets through new mobile apps, wearable tech, and other intelligent, connected devices. Firms are also trying to figure out how to use this data capital to create unique value, whether that’s innovative digital products and services or increased efficiency rivals can’t match. 

Paul Sonderegger

Paul Sonderegger, Big Data Strategist

This is what big data is really about – the capture and use of more data in more daily activities as a way to gain competitive advantage. And this emerging competition requires a new kind of computing — in which the cloud plays a crucial role.

But for large enterprises in particular, new big data and cloud technologies must work seamlessly together, as well as with existing technology.

You can read the full post here: 


Wednesday Apr 27, 2016

Introducing the Accelerated Buying Experience

By Chris Murphy, Oracle Director of Cloud Content 

The cloud has changed how businesses acquire technology. They buy in smaller amounts, on a more frequent basis, and they expect to be up and running very quickly. To meet that need for speed, Oracle is giving customers a much faster and easier way to buy cloud services: the Accelerated Buying Experience. Instead of requiring the thick, printed contracts of the on-premises days, for example, the Accelerated Buying Experience lets companies buy Oracle cloud services online with a click of a button.

An in-depth Q&A with Oracle's Doug Kehring provides details on the differences customers will find with the Accelerated Buying Experience, including Oracle salespeople empowered with more contracting flexibility, reduced and eliminated approvals, simpler and shorter order documents, and extensive help throughout the process. The Accelerated Buying Experience is part of Oracle's larger transformation aimed at becoming the leading cloud vendor. 

Subscribe to the weekly Cloud Leader newsletter by visiting the Oracle account page and updating your subscription preferences to include SaaS, PaaS, IaaS, or DaaS. If you do not already have an Oracle account, you can create one here.

Wednesday Apr 20, 2016

Hands on Cloud Experience: Cloud Attack @ Collaborate16

Members of the Independent Oracle Users Group Cloud SIG executed their first Cloud Attack hands on bootcamp workshop experience. Leveraging experience from highly successful RAC Attack workshops, the objective was to use the public Oracle Cloud so attendees could quickly get underway getting live hands on Cloud skills & experience. In fact, the workshop addressed top feedback from a survey in the Collaborate 16 general session and participants enabled with Cloud skills they could start using when they returned back to their offices after the event. By using the Oracle Cloud, attendees only needed to bring a device to participate. One attendee was amazed when he finished the workshop using an old Windows XP PC with 1GB of RAM and this gentleman below completed it all from his iPad. And with Cloud, attendees could virtually be anywhere, connect and go without the instructors having to procure and prep a room full of PC's or worry who's laptop had enough storage, RAM, or CPU to load a virtual image.

for more information on the event at Collaborate 2016, read here.

Wednesday Apr 13, 2016

Get Powerful, Flexible Protection for Your Data in the Cloud

Your company may have unique security, compliance, and risk management requirements that demand a more robust level of data security protection when you move your data to the cloud. That’s why Oracle Managed Cloud Services offers Enhanced Security Services.

These services are available cafeteria-style to allow you to implement the precise controls you need at a price that meets your security budget. Whether you meet all your needs with Base Services or choose from the lineup of Advanced Services, you’ll be able to take advantage of Oracle’s expertise in implementing your customized security solution.


Oracle’s Enhanced Security Services enable you to:

· Achieve compliance with your unique security and compliance requirements
· Improve the efficiency of your risk management programs
· Leverage Oracle’s expertise and technology in deploying and managing complex security solutions
· Gain the flexibility your organizations needs and select only services you require

Does your organization need help with security? For more information about Oracle Managed Cloud Security Services watch this short video, read the solution brief or call 719.757.2065.

Monday Apr 04, 2016

The Cloud Inside Your Data Center

—By John Soat, Senior Writer, Content Central

Businesses can now tap all the benefits of Oracle Cloud from within their own data centers. That's the big news from Oracle's most recently announced cloud services offering, Oracle Cloud at Customer, which is aimed at companies that haven't used the cloud up until now because of concerns over data residency, custom security, and other regulatory issues. 

Oracle Cloud at Customer provides the same services available in Oracle Cloud—not just similar, but exactly the same—running in an on-premises, tightly integrated Oracle Engineered System that Oracle manages and maintains. And companies pay the exact same pay-as-you-go price for the Oracle Cloud at Customer service as they would for the same service, such as a cloud database, in Oracle Cloud. "Even on your premises, you're buying a cloud service—you're not buying hardware," said Oracle president Thomas Kurian while introducing the new service at Oracle CloudWorld in Washington D.C. 

Fulfilling the "as a service" model, Oracle engineers are responsible for administering, updating, and maintaining Oracle Cloud at Customer services at users' sites. Oracle Cloud at Customer represents a new way for organizations to leverage the assets of Oracle Cloud. 


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