Emerging Technologies

The New Infrastructure

Oracle IaaS offerings can support any workload.

By Debra Donston-Miller

March/April 2016

Flexagon is about developing software, not managing infrastructure. But the company found itself spending too much time and money on infrastructure issues. By offloading that work to Oracle, leadership at Flexagon is now able to focus more on what truly matters: its products and customers.

“We don’t want to be known as experts at infrastructure—we’re a software company,” says Dan Goerdt, CEO of Flexagon, whose products and services help automate software delivery and improve the speed, quality, and cost of software development. “Over the years we’ve found there is way too much time and money spent on infrastructure, putting environments such as dev/test in place. Then, once you have the enabling technology in place, there is way too much time and energy spent troubleshooting problems and migrating software artifacts across environments.”

Oracle Compute Cloud

Oracle Cloud offers two compute services:

Oracle Compute Cloud Service delivers secure, elastic, on-demand, and scalable compute resources in a multitenant environment.

Oracle Compute Cloud Service - Dedicated Compute provides secure dedicated compute instances that run on dedicated hardware with network isolation.

Of course, someone has to be expert at the compute, network, and storage foundation of enterprise IT. Enter infrastructure as a service, or IaaS. Until fairly recently, companies had no choice but to be their own IT infrastructure provider, procuring their own servers, networks, and storage gear and running it in-house. Today, those same companies can leverage infrastructure services such as those offered in Oracle Cloud, which hosts the hardware and its underlying software and handles its management, security, availability, and scalability.

And because customers subscribe to these services, they pay only for what they use, making IaaS an especially good choice for

  • Companies whose computing needs tend to fluctuate over time
  • Companies with small IT staffs and budgets, and/or whose staffs are short on data center skills
  • Companies that do a significant amount of software development and testing
  • Companies whose leaders no longer want to build or expand their own data centers
Services Versus Business Problems

IaaS is one category, or tier, of cloud computing. The other tiers include software as a service (SaaS) and platform as a service (PaaS), which includes databases, middleware, and programming tools.

Oracle Storage Cloud

Oracle Cloud offers different cost-effective storage cloud services for different storage needs:

Oracle Storage Cloud Service provides secure, elastic, and reliable cloud storage accessible 24/7, from anywhere and from any device connected to the internet.

Oracle Storage Cloud Archive Service supports long-term storage for infrequently accessed data.

Oracle Storage Cloud Service Software Appliance provides a POSIX-compliant NFS interface, Docker support, and data security and integrity.

“When we talk to our enterprise customers, they don’t talk about IaaS or SaaS or PaaS. They talk about a business problem, and they want that to be solved with the public cloud,” says Diby Malakar, vice president of product management at Oracle.

Indeed, at the same time that OpEx and CapEx budgets are shrinking, companies need to respond ever more quickly to employee and customer demands for IT resources—something many on-premises data centers just aren’t equipped to handle. New demands may also require a level of support and skill that companies either don’t have or that they need to deploy or redeploy to more-strategic endeavors.

Infrastructure as a Solution

This was the case for Flexagon. Flexagon management signed up for Oracle Compute Cloud Service and Oracle Storage Cloud Service so that it could focus its resources on its core competency—developing software—and get out of the infrastructure management business. Flexagon is also using Oracle IaaS solutions to support demo and trial environments for its FlexDeploy solution, allowing the company to show customers how easy it is to stand up and tear down environments using IaaS and its FlexDeploy product.

The business problem for Flexagon is ensuring that each of its customers can use its solutions in the most efficient and cost-effective way. That might mean deploying FlexDeploy on premises or in the cloud, depending on the customer’s specific goals and requirements. FlexDeploy is designed to streamline the processes of building, deploying, and testing applications and related artifacts across on-premises and cloud environments.

“FlexDeploy takes many of the things that were manual or scripted or both, automates and puts controls around them, and then provides significant visibility to changes across all environments,” says Flexagon’s Goerdt. “This lets DevOps teams really increase value by spending less time down in the plumbing and more time delivering solutions to business problems and opportunities.”

Data Centers
As of January 2016, Oracle Cloud is hosted in 19 data centers across all geographies. Oracle Cloud supports more than one exabyte of storage, 40 billion daily transactions, 60,000 companies, and 50 million daily users.

IaaS increases the value of FlexDeploy by providing an environment in which Flexagon customers can quickly and easily test applications, and at the same time determine which applications ultimately make sense in the cloud.

“We show our customers how easy it is to make a few configuration changes within FlexDeploy and have their applications running up in the cloud, including when they want to do dev/test in the cloud and leave their production systems running on premises,” Goerdt says.

It’s what’s becoming known as “lift and shift”—when companies take an existing application and its platform technologies and move them to the cloud without re-architecting them.

Lift in Progress

How organizations approach lift and shift from on premises to the cloud depends on the IaaS provider. Companies considering IaaS need to think about their existing applications not in a vacuum, but as they sit in and work with the entire IT stack. Oracle, for example, is able to leverage its database and middleware technology to move companies from on premises to the cloud more seamlessly than vendors with incomplete IT stacks.

“We have a large set of enterprise customers that have been using our technology platform for a very long time,” notes Amit Chaudhry, vice president of product management at Oracle. “When customers have such an extensive technology footprint on premises and want to move to the cloud, they’re looking for a technology partner that gives them an environment which is very similar to what they have been using on premises.”

Oracle’s Malakar sums up Oracle’s IaaS mission. “We want to enable customers to run any type of workload in the cloud, and we want to enable customers to run Oracle workloads in the most optimized way,” he says.

Next Steps

 LEARN more about Oracle Infrastructure as a Service.

READ more about
 What’s Really at Stake in Infrastructure as a Service
 How to Save $150 Billion: Move All App Dev And Testing to the Cloud


Photography by Julian Böck, Unsplash