By Tom Haunert
Maybe you understand when a web page takes time to load because the page is hosted thousands of miles away, but how understanding are you when your enterprise cloud applications seem slower than before? As your company combines on-premises applications and databases with cloud-based applications and databases, your networking challenges are changing.
Oracle Magazine sat down with Charlie Baker, senior director of product management and strategy at Oracle, to talk cloud networking challenges, strategies for addressing those challenges, Oracle Cloud Infrastructure FastConnect, networking support for Oracle Autonomous Database, and more.
Oracle Magazine: What are the key networking challenges in cloud computing today?
Baker: It’s an interesting question. When I used to train people on different ways to think about connectivity, I would usually start out with a question: “Who owns the internet?” First there would be quiet in the room. Then answers would start coming, answers like “the cable company” or “the telephone company” or “the government.”
The internet is a lot of things to a lot of people, but in terms of connectivity, the internet is a relationship of the different networks that get you from point A to point B. And depending on how an operator or a customer or a business accesses information or applications across the internet, there is almost an infinite number of paths to take to get from point A to point B—because that’s the purpose of the internet. But businesses don’t need infinite internet paths—they need to look at connections to their applications and services in terms of reliability, flexibility, and security. Providing a reliable, flexible, and secure cloud network is the key challenge, and the challenge for cloud vendors is to make it easy to get that up and running.
Oracle Cloud Infrastructure FastConnect . . . is like having your data center extended with a wire to Oracle Cloud.”
Depending on how important each of those connection qualities is, businesses will make different choices for how to connect people to where they need to go, how to connect two applications together, how to connect backup systems, and so on to be able to have everyone and every system operate in this environment that we call the cloud-enabled world.
Oracle Magazine: What are the strategies for addressing these cloud networking challenges?
Baker: Cloud customers must choose who and what can access an application. They need to identify the users, offices, and data centers that need cloud network and application access. And the key enterprise workloads that we see in Oracle Cloud Infrastructure typically need to connect from customer data centers to cloud data centers directly—with no one else accessing the data flowing between the locations. They need a reliable, secure connection between their own data centers and the cloud.
When large enterprises are connecting application components across data centers, they need to look at the latency in the connections between pieces of an application and the effect of that latency on the performance of the application. For example, if I run in a hybrid cloud environment—I’m connecting the cloud to my data centers—what kind of latency can my application tolerate when it’s split across data centers? Can I have my database in one data center and my application in another? What does the architecture of the solution look like?
For internet-facing applications, security and reliability drive the requirements. It’s important to have an extremely secure model that includes a web application firewall, load balancers in front of your application, and an overall high-availability solution. And to address the next level of security and latency, private and dedicated connectivity is critical, whether it’s connecting remote offices via virtual private networks (VPNs) or different data centers.
For the most-secure transactions, cloud applications will typically require a VPN. To connect a customer network or data center directly to a cloud network and reduce latency, however, the solution is often dedicated, direct network connectivity. Oracle Cloud Infrastructure FastConnect, for example, offers an easy and elastic way to create a dedicated, private connection from customer and partner networks to Oracle Cloud with higher bandwidth than internet-based connections. Oracle Cloud Infrastructure FastConnect provides the most reliable and secure way to connect into Oracle Cloud—it’s like having your data center extended with a wire to Oracle Cloud. And Oracle works with dozens of Oracle FastConnect connectivity partners that can help deliver to Oracle Cloud customers dedicated connectivity that does not use the internet.
Businesses don’t need infinite internet paths—they need to look at connections to their applications and services in terms of reliability, flexibility, and security.”
Oracle Magazine: Oracle Autonomous Database runs on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure only. How does Oracle Cloud Infrastructure networking support and work with Oracle Autonomous Database?
Baker: The Oracle Cloud Infrastructure and Oracle Autonomous Database development teams work together closely. There are frequent discussions between the teams on the requirements for the network, services, features, and how to make everything work seamlessly for the user. We get those things right together.
Oracle Autonomous Database services are the best in the industry, and they take advantage of the network model, security, compute power, and scalability of Oracle Cloud Infrastructure. And Oracle Cloud Infrastructure is built with the requirements of the Oracle Autonomous Database services at the forefront.
READ about the Microsoft and Oracle cloud interoperability partnership.
Photography by Jason Grow/Getty Images