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New Normal

Cloud Is a Boon for Database Experts

What does cloud mean for your job? Technologists respond and point to opportunities for data wranglers.

With Jeff Erickson

January/February 2018

The uptake of cloud services is accelerating. But how do technology strategies and operations change with the move to cloud services? Do they expand or shrink career choices for people in IT?

Oracle Magazine asked technologists who are actively using Oracle Cloud services how they see cloud fitting in to their technology stacks and how they see themselves fitting into the “new normal” of cloud computing. Here’s a collection of their best observations and advice.

Learn the Cloud and Become a Leader

Enterprise cloud computing has evolved from its early days, when businesses were mostly using cloud to buy new software-as-a-service (SaaS) apps or build new applications. They are now looking to bring core applications to cloud. This, said Ross Smith, a chief architect at PITSS America, is a big opportunity for technologists who know how to navigate the change. “The legacy system that a company wants to modernize is often crucial, so our job as the data experts is to help a company express what its legacy systems do in a new forward-looking technology.” Smith’s advice is to break down the functions of the application and advise the organization on new technologies, such as NoSQL, or cloud services that preserve the legacy system functionality but offer the benefits of cloud. Watch more from Smith.

One of the immediate benefits of cloud, said Tariq Farooq, Oracle ACE Director and chief architect at BrainSurface, is the instant provisioning that happens with cloud services. “In less than 30 minutes, we spun up an entire cloud service instance,” he said following a workshop he helped lead at an ODTUG meeting. “It’s nothing short of a revolution. It’s point, click, click to provision the services, and you are ready to go. That process used to take weeks or months.” Watch more from Farooq.

Change Your Idea of What’s Possible

Provisioning quickly is an important and immediate benefit, but it’s the ready-made integrations for building and extending applications that drew Erik Benner, an enterprise architect at Mythics, to the cloud. “Oracle platform as a service (PaaS) [Oracle Cloud Platform] is sort of like Lego bricks, where you have different components: Oracle Documents Cloud, Oracle Process Cloud Service, Oracle Mobile Cloud Service, Oracle Messaging Cloud Service, and many others. These are all prebuilt application components, so as an application developer you can combine them to make a complete application that you can rapidly deploy to your users.” Watch more from Benner.

For GV Rao, a technology strategist at L&T Infotech in India, that plug-and-play ability is helping his engineering firm converge the physical and digital worlds. “We brought sensor devices to water filters [on a large water filtration project], which are connected to Oracle Internet of Things Cloud Service, which in turn connects to Oracle Java Cloud Service and Oracle Mobile Cloud Service, so our customers can see what is happening in real time on their mobile devices and respond to it.” The project came together quickly, said Rao, because a group of technologists at his company who were experts in the Oracle technology spent time to learn what Oracle Cloud had to offer. Watch more from Rao.

Broaden Your Perspective

Learning what cloud has to offer is key for Martin D’Souza, a chief innovation officer at Insum Solutions. “Your company might think its plans will require building a huge complicated thing,” he said, but if you’re aware of the infrastructure and architectures that exist on cloud, “you can tell them, ‘Wait—there’s a cloud service that can solve the problem for five dollars a day.’” This advisory role should become part of your role as a DBA or database developer, D’Souza said. “You understand how the data is stored, how it’s indexed, and where it lives—on cloud or on premises—and you can really help identify [and help execute] cloud services that make things much less complicated or expensive for the company.” Watch more from D’Souza.

Emerging Technologies Are Your Friend

A deep understanding of SQL and Oracle Database is a ticket to success for using emerging technologies, reported several New Normal participants. For example, the Internet of Things (IoT) opens opportunities for DBAs who master the art of tuning streaming data, said Jerry Ward, a database developer for Viscosity. With IoT, “we’ve got a new kind of data that is very high velocity and volume that’s traversing over infrastructure. Being able to stand up the infrastructure that’s able to coalesce that streaming data, being able to process code for streams, eliminating hot points on specific databases, and federating it all out through the cloud worldwide—those are all in the realm of the DBA now,” he said. “I think it’s more exciting than ever for the DBA.” Watch more from Ward.

Jon Dixon agreed. An integration project helped Dixon, an Oracle tech lead at JMJ Cloud, realize that DBAs have most of the skills they need to connect back-office information to voice assistants, such as Alexa and Google Voice. It’s the type of service he thinks is going to catch on quickly with the C-suite. “Alexa and Oracle Database are a real natural marriage,” he said. “Oracle Database Exadata Cloud Service has a fantastic tool in Oracle REST Data Services that exposes REST services, which is what Alexa needs to execute the engine behind a request,” he said. “Because DBAs have that knowledge on the database side, it’s a relatively easy process for them to learn the rest.” Watch more from Dixon.

Overall, participants in New Normal agreed that the current migration to cloud is a time of opportunity for people who know Oracle Database. “It’s become our job to recommend forward-looking solutions to business problems,” concluded PITSS America’s Smith. “It’s our job as data experts to see [opportunities that cloud offers] and bring those opportunities to the floor and realize that that’s a role we’re going to fulfill in the future.”

Next Steps

LEARN more about Oracle Cloud.

TRY Oracle Cloud services.

Photograph by iStock.com/microgen