Thursday Jan 02, 2014

Some light reading while the clouds lift

In case you took a break over New Year's and aren't quite ready for "real" work, but still feel obligated to visit sites such as this one, here's a reward for your efforts.  (If you're ready for serious work, the following may disappoint you.)

I've been working in this database cloud / DBaaS area for a few years now.  One of the perks is the term itself:  adding cloud images to presentations is pleasing, exchanging meteorological puns and banter is entertaining,  etc. etc.  I do have one issue with the term though - it's too close to my last name.  And thanks to my poor typing skills, plus autocorrect, plus inopportune inattention, it's not unusual for me to swap "clouse" for "cloud" - such as when registering for an event last year.  When I approached the check-in table to get my expo badge, it took three registration workers to eventually figure out that I had registered as "Burt Cloud".  It was nice to see the harried staff have a good laugh, but when they insisted I present an ad lib keynote I had to flee to the booth.

But back to the positives.  Being associated with 'cloud' encourages friends and colleagues to share anything about moisture in the air, such as this amazing video.  Enjoy and Happy New Year!

Monday Dec 30, 2013

New Year's Resolution: learn more about Oracle Database 12c

 Interested in learning more about Oracle Database 12c's Multitenant option?  Here's a great opportunity to help kick off the new year:

Independent Oracle Users Group (IOUG) Oracle EM Techcast: DBA Best Practices for Performance Tuning in a Pluggable World

Thursday, 9 January 2014, 10 am PT

In Oracle Database 12c, a container database (CDB) can host up to 252 pluggable databases (PDBs).  This presentation look at the performance aspects of this deployment option:

• Best practices for DBAs
• Tuning and configuration tips
• New features

Featured Speaker: Julian Dontcheff(*), Head of Database Management & Exadata Lead for EALA (Europe, Middle East, Africa and Latin America), Accenture
*Oracle Certified Master and an Oracle ACE Director

Sunday Dec 08, 2013

Why DBaaS will be one of 2014's technology headliners

As you settle in to some holiday reading and prepare for 2014, a recent blog and several blogs it connects to will be of interest.  Check out this OracleVoice blog on  "Why Database As A Service (DBaaS) Will Be The Breakaway Technology of 2014".

From the entry's introduction:

"Database as a Service (DBaaS) is arguably the next big thing in IT. Indeed, the market analysis firm 451 Research projects an astounding 86% cumulative annual growth rate, with annual revenues from DBaaS providers rising from $150 million in 2012 to $1.8 billion by 2016."

 The  article explores the benefits of DBaaS and some of the key enabling technologies, such as Oracle Multitenant, which promises to be a game-changer as Oracle Database 12c adoption rises.

Friday Oct 18, 2013

Service Catalogs for Database as a Service

At the end of last month, I had the opportunity to present a speaking session at Oracle OpenWorld: Database as a Service: Creating a Database Cloud Service Catalog.  The session was well-attended which would have surprised me several months ago when I started researching this topic.  At that time, I thought of service catalogs as something trivial which could be explained in a few simple slides.  But while looking at all the different options and approaches available, I came to learn that designing a succinct and effective catalog is not a trivial task, and mistakes can lead to confusion and unintended side effects.  And when the room filled up, my new point of view was confirmed.

In case you missed the session, or were able to attend but would like more details, I've posted a white paper that covers the topics from the session, and more.  We start with an overview of the components of a service catalog:

service catalog overview

And then look at several customer case studies of service catalogs for DBaaS.  Synthesizing those examples, we summarize the main options for defining the service categories and their levels.  We end with a template for defining Bronze | Silver | Gold service tiers for Oracle Database Services.

The paper is now available here - watch for updates as we work to expand some sections and incorporate readers' feedback (hint - that includes your feedback).

Visit our OTN page for additional Database Cloud collateral.

Sunday Sep 08, 2013

Database Cloud topics at Oracle OpenWorld 2013

It's that time of year again for Oracle OpenWorld, and our team is again involved in several venues where you can learn anything you need to know about private database clouds for delivering Oracle Database as a Service. These include demo booths, hands-on-labs, and speaking sessions.

These events cover a range of topics but the common theme is delivering DBaaS, so you can find all of them listed in this Focus On Document.  We hope to see you there to answer your questions and hear about your experiences.

Tuesday Jul 02, 2013

Database Consolidation onto Private Clouds - updated for Oracle Database 12c

One of our team's most popular white papers has been expanded and updated to discuss Oracle Database 12c.  Now available on our OTN page, the new version of Database Consolidation onto Private Clouds covers best practices for consolidation with pluggable databases that the new mulitenant architecture provides, and expanded information on the database and schema consolidation options.  These are the consolidation models the paper evaluates:  

server  database  schema
pluggable databases 

Key considerations for consolidating workloads which the paper explores:

  • Choosing a consolidation model
  • How PDBs solve the IT complexity problem
  • Isolation in consolidated environments
  • Cloud pool design
  • Complementary workloads
  • Enterprise Manager 12c for consolidation planning and operations

Many more white papers have been updated or are new for Oracle Database 12c. We'll continue to highlight those which tie directory to your journey to enterprise cloud.

Tuesday Jun 25, 2013

Delivering Oracle DBaaS: Journey to Enterprise Cloud with Oracle Database 12c

The release of Oracle Database 12 is accompanied by extensive supporting collateral that details the new features and options of this major release.  But with so much to read and investigate, where to start?  If you don't have the time to pore through everything, then you may wish organize your reading in terms of the use case you're most interested in.  If your interest is Database as a Service in private database clouds then may I suggest that you start here:

Accelerate the Journey to Enterprise Cloud with Oracle Database 12c

This paper describes the phases of the journey to enterprise cloud, and enumerates the new features and options in Oracle Database 12c that support each phase.  Oracle Multitenant figures prominently, but it's not the only cloud-enabling topic: Oracle Database Quality of Service Management, Application Continuity, Automatic Data Optimization, Global Data Services and Active Data Guard Far Sync all deliver key benefits for delivering database as a service. 

Further reading and research is suggested by the references included in the paper.

Happy clouding!

Tuesday May 28, 2013

Oracle Private Database Cloud at Cloud Expo

Cloud Expo will meet June 10-13 in New York City, and Oracle experts will be hosting several demos in the exhibition hall and also offering several speaker sessions, including these sessions with an emphasis on private cloud:

Fast-track Your Transformation to Enterprise Private Cloud with my esteemed colleague Anand Akela


Best Practices for Providing Oracle DBaaS with a Private Cloud with my esteemed teammate Raj Kammend

It's a great chance to learn more about Oracle's offerings from the true experts.  If you miss out, make sure you catch us at Oracle OpenWorld in September...

Friday May 10, 2013

The Lone Star State: On the Journey to Cloud

When we talk about the journey to cloud (see 19 January 2013 entry below), we highlight the fact that we developed this methodology with guidance from customers who are making successful transitions to cloud.  Many of these customers are in sectors such as finance and online travel -- enterprises with large scale and extreme cost-awareness.  So you might wonder whether those customers were limited, special cases -- or, is the journey being applied at more sites, across more sectors. 

In fact, the journey is underway at data centers of all shapes and sizes.  A new example from the public sector is the State of Texas.  Working with the Oracle Enterprise Architecture team, they are making the journey to cloud.  To quote from the recently published Oracle Enterprise Architecture White Paper:

"The State of Texas is setting a progressive example for other state governments by relying on cloud service providers to provision IT resources to dozens of state agencies. Led by the Texas Department of Information Resources (DIR), the state is creating the Texas Cloud Marketplace, a private cloud that utilizes engineered systems such as Oracle Exadata and Oracle Exalogic to deliver new technology while fulfilling legislative mandates. Oracle is helping to transform the state’s widespread infrastructure, which spans hundreds of databases and tens of thousands of applications. The billion-dollar consolidation project was designed to help 300,000 government employees serve 25 million citizens in a more flexible and cost-effective way."

Too busy to read the white paper?  Then check out this article in Profit Magazine for a quick overview.

Tuesday Mar 26, 2013

Oracle Private Database Cloud at Cloud Connect next week

Oracle is a sponsor of the Cloud Connect conference being held in Santa Clara, California next week (April 2-5).  The conference includes workshops, keynotes, conferences, and an exhibition hall which is open Wednesday and Thursday from noon to six p.m. each day.

 If you're interested in Private Database Clouds, or any type of cloud for that matter, stop by the Oracle demo area and visit our Private Database Cloud booth.  We can talk about the benefits of private clouds, the different types of models to choose from, how they differ from public clouds, and a customer-proven approach to making successful transitions to cloud computing.  We hope to see you there!

Friday Mar 01, 2013

Oracle RAC in Solaris 11 Zones

In database cloud deployments, companies host multiple databases for use by various internal groups (private clouds) or external clients (public or community clouds). Whenever multiple databases are deployed together on shared infrastructure, the solution must take into account the degree of isolation each database will require with respect to faults, operations, security, and shared resources.

In many database cloud deployments, Oracle Database features and options will provide the required isolation. This allows consolidating multiple Oracle databases natively onto a shared infrastructure, without the need for further isolation. In native consolidations, all databases share a single Oracle Grid Infrastructure. This approach is described in detail in the Oracle white paper "Best Practices for Database Consolidation in Private Clouds" which is posted on our OTN page.

Database clouds hosting databases with security or compliance considerations have higher requirements for isolation. These could include sensitive data with privacy requirements, or data from multiple companies who cannot be aware of each other (i.e., a public cloud). Such deployments may need to apply additional technologies or controls beyond those available in a native consolidation.

Implementing higher degrees of isolation can be accomplished by encapsulating each database environment. Encapsulation can be accomplished with physical or logical isolation techniques. Oracle recently certified 11gR2 RAC in Solaris 11 Zones,  which is an important capability for database clouds, because it enables strong isolation between databases consolidated together on a shared hardware and O/S infrastructure. We've just published a new white paper that describes the options and makes a detailed analysis of how Oracle Solaris 11 Zones efficiently provide encapsulation to Oracle database clouds.  To see how this technology set can be leveraged on SPARC SuperCluster, read about the Oracle Optimized Solution for Enterprise Database Cloud.


Saturday Jan 19, 2013

Journey to Database Cloud

Understanding the benefits of a database cloud usually leads to the question “How do I get there?” As the question itself implies, making the transition from a complex, legacy environment to a database cloud is a journey. Like any journey, clear goals and a plan to achieve them are the keys to success. Oracle’s “Journey to Database Cloud” is a maturity model that guides this process.

Each step of this journey delivers specific benefits. Knowing what you want to accomplish will help you identify the phase you need to implement. The key benefits and characteristics of each phase are:

Standardization: Simplify to reduce operational costs and business risk

Standardized deployments limit the number of environments and the processes that manage them to the smallest possible set of options. Hardware and software infrastructure are deployed in modular “building blocks.” Database versions are limited. Because each environment is simplified, each is easier to manage and maintain, which lowers operational costs.

A service catalog defines the deployment options for building blocks, and for the database configurations which end users may choose from. Because a small set of standard deployment patterns are followed, new deployments are easier to implement and can be activated with less risk.

Standardized components can be consolidated effectively since they can share a common infrastructure. And the higher degree of standardization that is applied, the higher degree of consolidation that can be achieved. Keep that in mind when evaluating the proposal from some vendors that transforming a datacenter into a private cloud is a simple matter of shuffling software stacks into virtual machines. This “quick fix” approach sounds attractive, but like most “quick fixes” it does not address the underlying problem of datacenter complexity. On the contrary, the added complexity of this approach results in lower standardization.

Consolidation: Efficiency reduces datacenter footprint - both hardware and software

In a traditional environment, servers are generally underutilized. Consolidating workloads onto shared infrastructure allows higher utilization and therefore a reduction in server footprint. This lowers both capital  and operational costs: lower power consumption and lower IT management expense since there are fewer physical environments to operate and manage.  Software environments are also decreased, meaning there are fewer software elements to purchase, monitor and maintain.

Several features and options of the Oracle database enable the consolidation of multiple databases onto shared hardware and software infrastructures. Features such as Database Resource Manager and Instance Caging facilitate sharing compute resources. Products such as Oracle Audit Vault and Database Firewall enable enterprise-grade security in consolidated environments.

That brings up another problem with the “build your cloud by putting everything in virtual machines” idea: virtual machines consume footprint and introduce performance overhead. They also require special skills and tools.  You can avoid those issues by consolidating directly onto the operating platform and achieve higher densities and better performance.

Service Delivery: Automate to increase business agility

Once organizations have successfully standardized their deployments and implemented their consolidation strategy, the next opportunity is to enable service delivery. By replacing manual processes with automated and dynamic capabilities, the environment responds quickly to changing workload conditions and requirements, which translates to faster operations and better agility. In the context of private database clouds, this means delivering Database as a Service (DBaaS).

In the standardization phase we defined a service catalog to describe the deployments to choose from. One focus of service delivery is to provide those choices via self-service, with as little manual attention from IT staff as possible. Self-service for end users allows them to choose from a menu of service options to create their own database environments online. This frees up IT for higher value initiatives.

Automated, dynamic management of resources is another key characteristic of a service delivery environment. In a consolidated environment managed with manual processes, adjusting a database’s footprint or resource allocation requires human intervention. Even noticing the need to make an adjustment requires human attention. By contrast, a service delivery environment uses tools to monitor and dynamically adjust resource allocations, without human intervention and without impact to running workloads. Features such as Oracle Quality of Service Management apply policies to monitor and manage workloads automatically and dynamically.

Enterprise Cloud: Unify services for location independence and unlimited capacity

One limitation of the service delivery environment is that workloads are bound to specific servers in a cloud pool. And while resource allocation within the pool is dynamic, pools are fixed in size (each one is typically one of the “building blocks” defined in the service catalog). This means that if a workload outgrows its pool, manual intervention will be needed to add compute resources to the pool, or to move the workload to a larger pool. Or, if the pool goes offline, there will be a service interruption while the service is reinstated on a different pool.

In an Enterprise Cloud, pools are dynamic and may grow or shrink as workloads dictate. Workloads are not bound to any specific pool, so if changes in workload patterns indicate that moving a given workload to a different pool is the best choice, the workload will be moved there without service interruption. Some workloads may even be distributed across geographically separated pools.

The ability for pools to grow and shrink dynamically and for workloads to migrate among pools of a unified cloud allows workloads access to virtually unlimited capacity. Since pools can be geographically separated, planned and unplanned outages of entire sites will not impact service availability.

The unified cloud is analogous to a utility service such as the electricity grid. Each user sees unlimited capacity and uninterrupted availability, and pays for resources as they are consumed.

Choice and Flexibility are Essential

You may choose to make a large change to reach your end goal, or you may choose to make incremental changes. For example, some customers have chosen to work with a standardized environment for some time before starting their consolidation efforts. Other customers made the move immediately to consolidation because they were keen on saving costs and floor space as aggressively as possible.

You might treat different workloads and environments differently. For example, one group within an organization may be technically and culturally ready to move their databases into a service delivery environment. Another group may be ready to standardize and consolidate, but not ready to implement service delivery. In this example, if the “consolidate only” group sees the tangible benefits the service delivery group enjoys, they’ll probably decide to make that step too.

You’re probably on the journey already…

While you were reading about the phases of the journey, you probably noticed several guidelines that you implement to varying degrees today. Standardization, for example, is a well-established approach that did not spring into existence when the industry starting talking about consolidation and service delivery. For standardization, what’s new in the context of the journey is recognizing the importance of this step and how the choices made here will have downstream impacts.

Wherever you are starting from and wherever you want to go in the journey to database cloud, Oracle has the products and services to get you there. And we have years of collaboration with customers in all areas of enterprise, government and education who have made this journey successfully, and continue to evolve their solutions with our cloud-enabling portfolio. We look forward to being a partner and mentor in your journey.

Thursday Aug 09, 2012

Rationalization - How much complexity do you want to handle?

Once you are in control of the information on the applications and resources within your data center, you are in a position to begin the process of rationalization. So how many different infrastructure stacks: server, operating system, database, and middleware, do you think you can manage? Bear in mind that is not just the initial construction of these stacks that you need to think about. These stacks demand on-going monitoring, management and maintenance, and furthermore, you will need the in-house skills to cope with these demands.

Even with just these four layers, the potential combinations expand very quickly: Two options for each layer leads to sixteen different stacks (24), three results in eighty-one (34) possibilities. This assuming that all options are available at each level, but does not take into consideration patching to the server firmware, the operating system, the database, or the middleware! So it's fairly clear that you must restrict yourself to one, or possibly two options at each layer to give yourself a chance of gaining, and maintaining, a grip on the complexity in your data center.

So what options do you pick? It's hard to be prescriptive here, but in general the latest versions of software have the most features, and fix the majority of the high priority bugs known on the previous release. Consequently, there is value in building on standard components that are as close to the leading edge as is reasonable. For example, you might pick Oracle Solaris 10 8/11 with a view to adopting Oracle Solaris 11 11/11 if and when the next release of Oracle Solaris 11 becomes available. In addition, you might choose to employ Oracle Grid Infrastructure 11g Release 2 as your primary availability platform for either or 10.2.0.x Oracle databases.

Having said all that, there is still room for exception handling. Some applications just cannot be coerced onto one of your standard platforms, so they must be treated as exceptions. But again, you must keep the number of these down to keep complexity under control as you marshal your resources for the consolidation phase.

Monday Jul 16, 2012

Journey into the Cloud - Introduction

No doubt you'll have read the articles, seen the webcasts, attended the conferences that all extolled the virtues of Cloud Computing. So to recast the oft-asked question by children on long journeys "Are you there yet?" No? If it's that great what's putting you off implementing it? May be it's because you're not sure how to go about it, or may be you're not convinced of the return on investment (ROI) you'll get? What ever the inhibitor is, we hope the following series of blog entries will help you on your way to achieving the benefits that Cloud Computing can bring.
Before we dive into detail, here is a quick overview of the route-map to Cloud Computing:
  1. Collect - before you change anything, you need to understand what you've got. This includes servers, storage, networks and software, as well as your operational procedures and any other requirements or constraints you have. In order to pick the appropriate application components to consolidate you'll need their associated resource consumption (performance) data. Finally, you'll need to know of what your biggest costs and operational inhibitors are so that you can determine what will give you the biggest returns.
  2. Rationalize - determine what your standard components will be. Then minimise the number of combinations of server, operating system release and database version you need to manage. This ultimately simplifies your management processes and costs.
  3. Consolidate - use schema or database consolidation, as appropriate, to minimise database management overheads and increase server utilization.
  4. Virtualize - use virtualization to isolate and encapsulate database deployments. The virtualized containers can then be collocated on the underlying physical servers to maximum utilization where there is spare capacity.
  5. Package - create service delivery templates for server, database and middleware to enable Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Database as a Service (DBaaS), or Platform as a Service (PaaS).
  6. Deliver - make your service templates available through a self service portal to enable users to provision what they need, when they need it, within the confines of their entitlements.
  7. Meter and Monitor - use monitoring and chargeback to gain insight into further consolidation and optimization opportunities.
Don't be fooled into thinking this is a one-off trip, or something that must be rushed. Far from it. Think of it as a daily commute with familiar landmarks, traffic lights, and intersections along the way. As new roads are built or widened, you can take advantage of them to hasten your journey.
As your knowledge of the journey increases, so you can optimize your data center, enjoy greater agility and lower costs through standardization and increased asset utilization.

Wednesday Jun 27, 2012

Welcome to the Database Cloud CoverAge blog

Welcome to the Database Cloud CoverAge blog, brought to you by Oracle's Database Cloud Architecture Team.

We've spent the past few years developing best practices for database consolidation projects, how to deliver Database as a Service, and for designing and driving corporate cloud initiatives. Many of our experiences and lessons learned are available in a growing collection of collateral that you can find on our OTN page.

We decided to join the blogosphere to distill key concepts into short posts that you, our readers, can digest quickly. Also, this medium allows you to comment on our posts and collateral -- to share experiences, challenge our conclusions, critique our recipes, and help us choose topics to blog about.

Watch for our next posting, which will start a series on your journey into cloud computing.

The Database Cloud Architecture Team at Oracle develops and documents best practices for designing and delivering database consolidation and database-as-a-service projects.


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