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Jeff Victor's Blog

DBaaS Introduction

Jeff Victor
Principal Systems Engineer

Oracle and Cloud


Oracle is the leading supplier of hybrid cloud solutions, enabling you to use Oracle's public cloud, or to use our private cloud technologies in your own data center, or to use them together. The last option is possible because the same technology is used in our public and private cloud solutions.


In some situations, the right hosting environment for cloud-provisioned database environments - Database as a Service (DBaaS) - is a public cloud. In other situations, it's important or more cost effective to host your own private database cloud. This blog entry is intended for those situations.

Cloud Capabilities


Beyond mere IaaS, followed by manual DB provisioning, Oracle DBaaS solutions deliver a service catalog with database-specific technologies, features and optimizations as capabilities of catalog elements. For example, in addition to simplistic compute resources, the "gold" service level might include automated auditing and compliance reporting, and data protection with DataGuard and database cloning. The "platinum" service might add RAC configuration for a zero downtime solution. Further, usage tracking and quotas can be used for any catalog element.


This greatly reduces the time to deploy an environment, whether it's intended for development, test, or production. It also reduces the potential for human error, because the use of those service catalog elements has already been tested. Further, the service catalog may be tailored to meet the specific needs of your corporation or industry.


Together, these capabilities deliver fast, easy database provisioning while maintaining the highest levels of security. Access to specific catalog elements may be limited to certain groups of self-service users. Beneath the user interface,
Oracle Solaris
and Database deliver a vast array of security features, from end-to-end, zero-overhead encryption to role-based access control.

Integrated Components


Oracle offers the ability to implement DBaaS using Solaris and
SPARC technologies. Both use Oracle Enterprise Manager
Cloud Control
and Oracle Database 11g and 12c. When superior uptime is needed,
Oracle RAC
can be used. Oracle Solaris 11 plays a central role, connecting the user interface, databases, and virtual machines to hardware: CPUs, networking, and storage.


Oracle has illuminated a clear path to DBaaS using either the
Oracle SuperCluster
product or one of the Oracle Optimized Solutions:
Secure
Enterprise Cloud Infrastructure
(usually referenced as ECI). Both of these approaches lead to a similar user experience, but differ in flexibility, storage, performance characteristics, and a few other factors.


At the top of the stack is the user interface, part of OEM Cloud Control. This software integrates self-service provisioning, database cloning, the service catalog, quotas and policies, and metering and chargeback.



Architectural Optimizations


In these solutions, multi-layer defenses protect against even a concerted attack. Network traffic between application and database tiers can easily utilize the Oracle Solaris 11 encryption framework. This automatically uses the encryption features of SPARC CPUs, which offer the most complete set of encryption features integrated into CPU cores, for the best encryption performance in the industry. Oracle 11g and 12c
Transparent Data Encryption
(TDE) also automatically use the Solaris 11 encryption framework, protecting data stored in RAM, flash memory, or disk drives. All of these remove the need to choose between security and high performance. Superior per-core database performance, compared to x86 CPUs, means that you can now have the best database performance and encrypt everything, everywhere.


One pitfall of many high-scale cloud solutions is the use of inefficient virtualization, which limits the quantity of databases that run efficiently in a group of computers. The Oracle DBaaS solutions described here offer extreme scalability, by using one or both of these virtualization technologies: Oracle VM Server for SPARC and Oracle Solaris Zones. Solaris Zones are a zero-overhead software isolation technology that has been used in data centers for over a decade. "OVM SPARC" is a partitioning and virtualization technology supporting flexible configurations that can also achieve zero performance overhead. The low overhead yields a highly scalable infrastructure, enabling hundreds to thousands of virtual environments per compute rack.

Deployment Process


Implementing a private cloud from off-the-shelf components can be a frustrating experience: finding compatible versions of software, firmware, and hardware, testing never-before-tested configurations, and researching obscure tuning permutations, seeking the best results.


Oracle offers pre-tested and, optionally, pre-integrated private DBaaS clouds using either SECI or SuperCluster. Oracle Advanced Customer Services staff have experience building clouds in customer data centers, including the design of business and technical catalogs, implementing the catalogs, and migrating data from old environments. If you prefer, implementation guides are available to help your staff through the process of creating a DBaaS cloud.

Database Cloning


Development and test environments for databases have evolved over time, and can be highly complex. That complexity can cause delays, mask undetected problems, and limit the ability to satisfy security and compliance policies.


Implementing a DBaaS private cloud is an opportunity to simplify the processes that development and test staff use. OEM Cloud Control service catalog elements can use Oracle Database cloning features such as
Snap Clone to automate instance provisioning for the self-service user.

Data Protection



Besides the data protection offered by encryption, service catalog elements can be configured with standard tools that improve availability. Backup and restore technologies such as
RMAN (Oracle Reovery Mangaer),
Oracle Data Guard and Active Data Guard,
and backup/archive products such as the
Zero Data Loss Recovery Appliance (ZDLRA),
can be used in service catalog elements to ensure availability of private cloud databases, implementing failover and disaster recovery.

Summary


Only Oracle can offer a complete, secure DBaaS cloud experience from components that were designed to work together from the CPU up through the database.

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