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  • May 20, 2020

It's Time to Replace Your Private Database Cloud

Guest Author

It's Time to Replace Your Private Database Cloud

While the public cloud has dramatically reshaped the overall IT marketplace over the past few years, many enterprise customers have been more impacted by its on-premises cousin, the private database cloud. These new architectures allow companies to improve their agility and reduce their costs, consolidating multiple applications into a standardized resource pool, enhanced through custom-built automation and self-service UIs. As well as these clouds have worked out, as they age and become candidates for replacement, should most companies renew them, or replace them with something better?  As with most things in the IT world, technological innovations quickly obsolete last year’s shiny new thing—custom-built private database clouds are no different. New on-premises public cloud solutions like Oracle Exadata Cloud at Customer, provide all the same benefits of private clouds, but with better pay-for-use economics, vendor-provided and maintained automation, and lower management costs.

It's useful to step back and take a look at what comprises a private database cloud. Based on our experiences dealing with enterprise customers, we observe the following key characteristics and why these characteristics are better served with Exadata Cloud at Customer (ExaCC) rather than a build-your-own private cloud.

Private Cloud Characteristic  Exadata Cloud at Customer 
Scalable--high levels of utilization Key to scalability and high levels of utilization is the ability to online scale a service up and down.  Exadata Cloud at Customer can grow from as little as 2 cores, up to 400 cores.  You can run a single database service or deploy hundreds of database services.  Memory can scale to multiple TeraBytes, and database storage to hundreds of TeraBytes.  More importantly, Exadata can scale back down, with capacity following the overall demand of user workloads.
Accessible--IT users can self-provision Simple UIs and APIs are accessible via a web browser or network connection allowing any authorized user to deploy a database via intelligent automation.  No special knowledge is required.
Elastic--appearance of infinite capacity on demand  ExaCC is available in different shapes (sizes), allowing you to choose the system that best meets your needs.  You can scale within those limits, and should you outgrow them, you will be able to scale compute and storage beyond what you originally bought (coming soon), providing the appearance of infinite capacity.  Single-button deployment of read-mostly replica databases via Active Data Guard standby databases will enable further elasticity, not just within a data center, but across data centers.
Shared--Workloads multiplex and capacity pooled  Databases running in ExaCC share a common pool of resources, including CPU, memory, storage, and IO.  Simple provisioning tools give administrators the control to share or dedicate these resources across their databases.  Share a single pool for test and dev but create a different and dedicated pool for production.  
Metered consumption Perhaps the biggest advantage of on-premises cloud solutions over private clouds is the new innovative licensing mechanisms.  ExaCC allows you to pay for your database licenses in a traditional manner (BYOL) or via a pay-for-use service where you pay only for what was used during any given hour.  In addition, you have access to database AWR metrics that can be used to create customized billing and charge-back plans.
Physical security and access control  Having the ExaCC in your data center gives you physical control of sensitive data that may be subject to regulatory requirements.  This is why customers choose private clouds over public clouds in the first place.  Also, ExaCC provides security administrators control over access to the data and underlying infrastructure by operators and other staff.  They can vet and approve all access as required.

Hopefully, it is clear you can replace a private database cloud with Exadata Cloud at Customer, but why is that better than doing it yourself? Let's take a look at some of the drivers that will impact the cost of a private cloud:

  • Acquisition Cost for Private Cloud Functionality: Building a private cloud yourself usually means home-built scripts and tools that must be either developed by your in-house IT staff or purchased from third parties. While some open source tools may be applicable, open source puts the onus on you to manage and integrate the tools. Building a private cloud yourself is extremely costly compared to buying a solution from a vendor, whose development costs are amortized over tens of thousands of customers. Commercial third-party tools also must be integrated, and often require subscription and/or license fees. All the cloud automation is included with Exadata Cloud at Customer.
  • Development and Maintenance: Home-built scripts and tools must be managed, patched, and updated to be compatible with new features, functions, software, and hardware that inevitably releases over time. Third-party tools in your private database cloud are often not a full solution, but only part of one. Thus, you are acting as the integrator, pulling together the various pieces, ensuring they work together, and then herding the various vendors to fix something when it goes wrong. A single vendor solution like Exadata Cloud at Customer that is patched and maintained by Oracle will always have reduced total cost of ownership over any custom-built private cloud. 
  • Licensing: Customers build private cloud to capitalize on the agility they provide. This scaling up and down, creating and deleting services, tends to lead to a somewhat variable workload in aggregate. Perpetual use licensing is inherently inflexible. You cannot rent a perpetual use license for an hour and return it when done. On the other hand, cloud licensing services such as those available for Exadata Cloud at Customer are flexible. You only pay for the licenses consumed.
  • Infrastructure Management:  The purpose of the private cloud is to increase the efficiency and agility of the organization, not sharpen hardware, storage, hypervisor and OS skills. With Exadata Cloud at Customer, Oracle assumes responsibility for managing and monitoring all the underlying infrastructure, so you don't have to.
  • Public Cloud Integration and Migration: For many customers, the private database cloud is only a stop on the journey to the public cloud. For others, it's a complementary solution to the public cloud. In either case, Exadata Cloud at Customer provides tight integration to the Oracle Public Cloud, making it easy to run workloads either on-premises or in the public cloud using the same UI's, APIs, and database. With the service being identical on both platforms, you can easily move back and forth between the two, providing a bi-directional bridge to the cloud if and when you decide to make the transition.
  • Expense Model: Many customers struggle to fund large capital expenditures. For some industries, it is best practice to minimize capital expenditures when possible. Building your private cloud means buying the hardware. Save on CapEx with Exadata Cloud at Customer. The service includes all necessary hardware, billed as a monthly service as you use the platform.
  • Compliance: Many customers require attestations of compliance (AoC) for their environments. This requires completing a third-party audit, requiring time and money. Oracle has already obtained those AoC for ExaCC—you get it for free.
  • Risk Management: To minimize risk, customers require effective and viable preventative, detective, and responsive security controls. Rather than you building and maintaining these controls, Oracle defense in depth, including Exadata hardware and software security, Oracle Network Encryption, database encryption, Oracle Database Vault, and Advanced Security are included with ExaCC, providing enterprise class ISO/NIST alignment for no additional cost (https://www.oracle.com/corporate/security-practices/).
Cost Driver  Exadata Cloud at Customer   Complete Build Your Own   Integrate Third-Party Tools
Acquisition Cost for Private Cloud Functionality   Low (included with service)  High (when you include salaries of in-house development staff)  Medium (license and support fees to third parties add up)
Development and maintenance   Low (included with service)  High  Medium
Licensing  Yes No--must use perpetual licenses No--must use perpetual licenses
Infrastructure Management Included High High
Public Cloud Integration/Migration Easy  Difficult Difficult
Expense Model  OpEx  CapEx   CapEx
Compliance   Included   High—spend your own time and money  High—AoC still required for unique environments
Risk Management Included  High—develop your own Medium


The trend from Private Cloud to Exadata Cloud at Customer is underway.  One of the largest metals and mining companies in the world recently migrated 300 databases to a new private database cloud based on seven Exadata Cloud at Customer systems. They experienced 150% ROI and 40% performance increase. Database deployment time improved by 16x and overall DBA time spent managing the system and databases dropped by 70%. See why Constellation Research found Exadata Cloud at Customer to be the most complete on-premises cloud offering. Don't just renew your private cloud, replace it.

Learn more: Constellation Research found Exadata Cloud at Customer to be the most complete on-premises cloud offering.

For more information, visit oracle.com.

About the Author

Bob Thome is a Vice President at Oracle responsible for product management for Database Engineered Systems and Cloud Services, including Exadata, Exadata Cloud Service, Exadata Cloud at Customer, RAC on OCI-C, VM DB (RAC and SI) on OCI, and Oracle Database Appliance. He has over 30 years of experience working in the Information Technology industry. With experience in both hardware and software companies, he has managed databases, clusters, systems, and support services. He has been at Oracle for 20 years, where he has been responsible for high availability, information integration, clustering, and storage management technologies for the database. For the past several years, he has directed product management for Oracle Database Engineered Systems and related database cloud technologies, including Oracle Exadata, Oracle Exadata Cloud Service, Oracle Exadata Cloud at Customer, Oracle Database Appliance, and Oracle Database Cloud Service.


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