By Chris Murphy and John Soat
Businesses can now realize benefits of the cloud while running the underlying systems in their own data centers, behind their company firewalls. That’s the news and promise of Oracle Cloud at Customer, a portfolio of services aimed at companies that haven’t used cloud because of their particular security or regulatory concerns.
“The exact same software that runs our cloud is now available on customers’ data center floors. The exact same software,” Oracle President Thomas Kurian said while announcing the family of services at Oracle CloudWorld DC on March 24, 2016.
Why is it so important to have the same code, APIs, and toolsets on premises as in the cloud? Portability is one of the biggest reasons. Developers can quickly spin up the needed resources to develop and test an application in a public cloud, but some companies want to run those new apps inside their data centers when they’re ready for full production. Making that cloud-to-on-premises shift without error, though, requires an identical environment on premises as in the cloud.
“We’re the only vendor whose behind-the-firewall solution is exactly the same as the in-the-cloud solution, thereby giving you portability,” Kurian said. “That allows every company and every organization—even if you’re concerned about privacy, security, legislative requirements, statutory requirements—to be able to go to our cloud.”
The exact same software that runs our cloud is now available on customers’ data center floors. The exact same software.”–Thomas Kurian, Oracle President
Cloud purists might dismiss the idea that code running inside your data center can really be “cloud,” but the results and benefits of Oracle Cloud at Customer services are most definitely cloud, including pay-as-you-go subscription flexibility and administration by Oracle.
“We’re making it really easy for you,” Kurian said. “The price is the same. It’s in your data center, and you don’t have to train people, if you don’t want to, to manage this, because our people administer it. So it’s truly a cloud service. It’s not a box we’re requiring you to buy.”
The Oracle Cloud at Customer portfolio includes five service categories today: infrastructure; data management; application development; enterprise integration; and management, which unifies on-premises and Oracle Cloud workloads. Current and future services run on Oracle Cloud Machine and other highly optimized Oracle engineered systems in your data center, but customers pay using the same metered or monthly options used for cloud services.
How Oracle Cloud at Customer Works
At the Oracle CloudWorld event, Kurian demonstrated a cloud bursting scenario, whereby a customer can shift on-premises workloads to cloud if demand spikes. “I want elastic capacity in the cloud in case I have an enormous quarter,” he said.
Kurian showed screenshots of the process for creating a virtual private network to the cloud and then creating a backup in the cloud of his on-premises database, “so now my two databases look identical.” (Users also have the option to create a vanilla version of a cloud database.)
He then showed how Oracle Java Cloud Service, in Oracle Cloud and on premises in Oracle Cloud at Customer, creates clusters of Oracle WebLogic servers, and he reviewed the necessary network and security configurations. Then, using Oracle Enterprise Manager, he set up performance thresholds that told the combined systems when to cut over to cloud. The process is managed from one interface, and it took Kurian about three minutes to show and describe the necessary screens.
Cloud bursting is easy to describe, with an easy-to-see business benefit, but one that’s hard to execute in the real world. Oracle Cloud at Customer will make it practical. “If the stack of software was not literally the same, you can’t do that,” Kurian said.
Service and Hardware Footprint
As noted, the initial Oracle Cloud at Customer services fall into five broad categories: infrastructure, data management, application development, enterprise integration, and management.
For infrastructure, Oracle Cloud at Customer includes elastic compute, elastic block storage, virtual networking, file storage, messaging, and identity management. The next Oracle Cloud at Customer infrastructure services planned are containers and elastic load balancer.
Even on your premises, you’re buying a cloud service. You’re not buying hardware.”–Thomas Kurian, Oracle President
For data management, Oracle Cloud at Customer includes Oracle Database Cloud Service, which is the cloud version of Oracle’s leading database. Oracle Database Exadata Cloud Service, for extreme performance, and a broad set of big data cloud services will follow.
For application development, Oracle Cloud at Customer includes Oracle Java Cloud Service and Oracle Application Container Cloud Service. Capabilities that support service-oriented architecture (SOA), API management, and the Internet of Things (IoT) will be added soon.
For enterprise integration, Oracle Cloud at Customer includes Oracle Integration Cloud Service, and Oracle plans to roll out SOA, API management, and IoT services.
Three Configurations to Size Your Cloud
At Oracle CloudWorld DC, Oracle President Thomas Kurian discussed new Oracle Cloud at Customer services—Oracle Cloud services available behind the customer’s firewall. The new services are delivered by Oracle Cloud Machine in the customer’s data center.
Oracle Cloud Machine is available in the following three standard hardware configurations, with model numbers that indicate the number of processors:
For the Oracle Cloud at Customer hardware on premises, companies can choose one of three configurations of Oracle Cloud Machine. Oracle plans to offer additional hardware to support new Oracle Cloud at Customer services, such as Oracle Database Exadata Cloud Service. (See “Three Configurations to Size Your Cloud” for more information on Oracle Cloud Machine.) IT pros want technical details for the hardware because they need to know what hardware’s showing up in their data centers, but Kurian emphasized that the Oracle Cloud at Customer model remains purely cloud.
When we look at the transition to cloud, Oracle really thought through all the possible inhibitors.”–Steve Daheb, Senior Vice President, Oracle Cloud
All Oracle Cloud Machine models also feature solid-state disk and network-attached storage, as well as 10 GbE networking. Customer services from Oracle for Oracle Cloud Machine include installation and configuration; 24/7 monitoring; administration; upgrades; patching; and incident, change, and tenant management.
“Even on your premises, you’re buying a cloud service. You’re not buying hardware,” he said. “You’re getting subscription-based pricing and elastic metered pricing. In fact, what’s the price of database as a service, on your premises, using our new service? Exactly the same as database as a service in Oracle Cloud.”
A Path for “Stuck” Customers
It’s still early days for cloud adoption, especially for enterprise workloads. While some companies are moving to cloud as fast as possible, “there are a lot of companies out there that love the thought of public cloud, but for some reason or other they haven’t been able to move,” says Steve Daheb, senior vice president of Oracle Cloud.
The reasons they may hesitate to use public cloud services right now include data security and country- or industry-specific regulatory concerns, as well as internal compliance requirements such as performance-specific service-level agreements.
Oracle Cloud at Customer offers a stepping-stone for such “stuck” organizations. “We provide them the path: Here’s what we can run in the cloud, here’s what we can run on premises, and they happen to be seamlessly integrated,” Daheb says.
Oracle has spent its close-to-40-year technology history integrating enterprise systems, Daheb notes. That strategy is exemplified again by the compatibility between its Oracle Cloud and Oracle Cloud at Customer services.
Oracle is unique in that it can provide one-step migration between its significant list of on-premises applications, databases, and tools and those in its public cloud. Consider Oracle Cloud at Customer services a bridge to bring those genuine public cloud capabilities into the company data center.
“When we look at the transition to cloud, Oracle really thought through all the possible inhibitors,” Daheb says. “Companies need a partner that can help them transition. I think we’ve taken a very thoughtful approach to how all this is going to transpire.”
LEARN more about Oracle Cloud at Customer.
EXPLORE Oracle Cloud Machine.
Illustration by Wes Rowell
Photograph by Bring Into Being