Providing a Glide Path to Multicloud

December 6, 2021 | 4 minute read
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Guest post by Carl Olofson, Research Vice President, Data Management Software, IDC

IDC research shows that a movement is on by enterprises to ship most production data management to the public cloud. This move is problematic, however, for organizations with complex datacenters and deep commitments to multiple technologies that have different natural cloud platform targets. IDC research has also shown that over the decades, large numbers of Oracle customers use and depend on Microsoft technology. When using on-premises resources, these organizations run many applications on Microsoft clients and servers, and it is natural for them to shift to Microsoft Azure for those functions when they move to the public cloud. But many, if not most, of those customers’ enterprise applications also depend on the Oracle Database. The level of performance, scalability, and reliability delivered by the combined application plus database environment is critical to their business success. Running Oracle Database in an Azure VM is not the answer as it lacks the performance, scalability, and flexibility required to replicate or improve the customers’ on-premises solutions. The top cloud deployment option for Oracle Database is Oracle Exadata Cloud Service, which does not run in Azure datacenters. The top Oracle Database service is Oracle Autonomous Database, which is also not available on Azure.

The two companies have been working toward a solution. In June 2019, Oracle announced a high-speed interconnect agreement with Microsoft that allows Azure applications to connect to Oracle Database and Autonomous Database services running on Exadata platforms in Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI). With the low latency afforded by the OCI-Azure interconnect, Azure-based applications can now benefit from Oracle Exadata performance, scale, and availability by using either Oracle Database or Autonomous Database running on Exadata Cloud Service.  Customers can also use OCI-only features such as MySQL Database Service with HeatWave in conjunction with applications running on Azure-based services.

Oracle and Microsoft are now offering their common customers a multicloud capability, allowing users to link data and services across each company’s clouds. As part of their initial agreement, the companies also provided unified identity management services allowing for single sign-on to make it easier to use this integrated environment. They also eliminated data egress fees when moving data between their clouds. High-speed, secure, encrypted virtual circuits are used to link OCI elements (mainly Oracle Database or Autonomous Database on Exadata and its backups) directly to Azure elements (mainly applications). Regardless of the direction data is flowing, the OCI-Azure Interconnect delivers round-trip latency of between 1.2 ms and 2.1 ms. For all practical purposes, an Azure application can send requests to the Oracle Database on OCI and get responses with performance equivalent to that of a local database server.

In addition to core database and compute services, customers can sign up for a high availability option that provides a coordinated, fast fail-over across the two clouds. Oracle and Microsoft have also developed a number of observability and management, security, and data integration services that work across OCI and Azure to further simplify the implementation of multicloud environments. For database users this means that they can move their Microsoft-based applications to Azure, and connect them to the best possible configurations of Oracle Database.

 

 

The Oracle-Microsoft solution also addresses the fact that most large enterprises can’t just move all their IT assets to the public cloud in one fell swoop. Due to local dependencies and interconnections, organizations must do so gradually. IDC has found that a majority of larger enterprises have adopted an evolutionary approach to cloud migration, one that goes from private cloud to hybrid (parts on-premises and parts in the cloud) to full public cloud. (For Oracle Database users, Exadata Cloud@Customer provides a stepping-stone to the cloud with support for Autonomous Database as well.) The multicloud approach being offered by Oracle and Microsoft further supports customers on this journey since they can also link assets that are on-premises to either company’s cloud using a combination of Oracle FastConnect (for linking OCI to on-premises assets) and Microsoft ExpressRoute (for linking Azure to assets on-premises) and using cross-connect services provided by Equinix or other providers.

In addition to Oracle Database and Autonomous Database running on OCI, there are many other services in the Microsoft and Oracle public clouds that can be linked. We’ve primarily talked about customers using Oracle Database, which is fair when discussing moving enterprise applications to the cloud, however, many organizations – including most large ones – use the MySQL open-source database for other applications. The MySQL Database Service with HeatWave allows customers to use one database for OLTP and OLAP, accelerating both queries by orders of magnitude using scalable, in-memory technologies. HeatWave is only available in OCI, so Azure customers that want to take advantage of its scalable high-performance can now do so by linking their applications running in Azure to the MySQL Database Service with HeatWave through the low-latency, high-bandwidth OCI-Azure interconnect.

Clearly, the establishment of this service by Oracle and Microsoft delivers a level of integration that their joint customers need. The linked OCI plus Azure environment goes beyond simple interoperability to establish a high-performance interconnected cloud world. Enterprise IT is moving to the cloud, but in IDC surveys IT leaders have indicated a strong preference for a multicloud capability that doesn’t force them to operate in a proprietary, siloed cloud world where they must choose single clouds for multiple purposes for which those clouds are not good fits. They must also decide how much in the way of egress charges they can tolerate. IT leaders don’t just want multicloud options or multicloud connections. They want the freedom to deploy applications and databases as they wish, and to get the best that each service has to offer. Oracle and Microsoft have provided a solution that is intended to offer enterprises a way to achieve that multicloud freedom.

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