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Interview

The Power of IaaS

A foundation for cloud platform and software services, infrastructure as a service is one critical commodity, says Oracle Vice President of Product Management Amit Chaudhry.

By Tom Haunert

March/April 2016

Oracle Magazine caught up with Amit Chaudhry, vice president of product management at Oracle, to discuss infrastructure as a service (IaaS), commodity computing, the value of infrastructure, and more.

Oracle Magazine: At the most basic level, what is infrastructure as a service?

Chaudhry: From an industry perspective, infrastructure as a service primarily comprises three types of resources that are available to consumers to build their IT platforms: storage, network, and compute. Cloud providers offer these as services to their customers using different models, including pay-as-you-go (metered) and subscription. But regardless of the model, cloud providers offer storage, network, and compute in a highly elastic and scalable manner.


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Amit Chaudhry, Vice President of Product Management, Oracle

Oracle Magazine: Is infrastructure as a service a commodity?

Chaudhry: In a sense, yes. Consider electric-power generation facilities and utilities. Before the idea of an electric grid, power was often generated by individual farmers in the fields, through water-powered mills and so on, because that was how they could do it and get work done.

Enter the Industrial Revolution and fossil fuel power plants, and soon enough, electricity producers were able to distribute their power at a price that was always cheaper than what individual users or producers could do in their homes. Electric power is now a commodity.

Infrastructure as a service is a commodity in the sense that a large set of industrialized computing environments—cloud data centers—have the ability to provide customers with storage, network, and compute services at a price point that is lower than it would be if they provided the services in their own data centers.

Oracle Compute Cloud Service is elastic; it delivers on-demand, scalable compute resources in Oracle Cloud.

Oracle Magazine: How important, then, is price in evaluating infrastructure-as-a-service offerings?

Chaudhry: Price connects to the perceived value that a customer is getting from the service that it consumes. The range of offerings an infrastructure vendor offers can affect that value. If a customer needs only occasional compute service on a two-core system, but a vendor’s entry-level offering starts with 16 cores, the price per core may be low, but the value to the customer may not be the best.

Another important value is the ability to build and run any workload on a vendor’s infrastructure services. If a vendor’s infrastructure offerings don’t include an operating system or a container that a customer needs, for example, the value isn’t there, regardless of the price.

Scale allows cloud providers to manage costs and provide value to customers. A cloud provider’s ability to provide computing services at scale in different availability zones as well as different regions enables customers to access the services in a highly available manner on demand—when they need them—and in whatever geography they need them.

Oracle Magazine: What are Oracle’s current infrastructure services?

Chaudhry: Oracle offers different types of compute cloud services, including elastic compute and dedicated compute. Oracle Compute Cloud Service is elastic; it delivers on-demand, scalable compute resources in Oracle Cloud.

Oracle Compute Cloud Service provides customers the ability to schedule 1 to 1,000 cores simultaneously within minutes. This service scales elastically up or down depending on workload needs. For customers looking for additional performance, Oracle Compute Cloud Service-Dedicated Compute provides dedicated compute instances that run on dedicated hardware with network isolation and delivers unparalleled performance and security.

Oracle currently offers several types of storage cloud services: object storage, archive storage, and software appliance storage. Oracle Storage Cloud Service is secure, scalable, and accessible from anywhere on the internet. Oracle Storage Cloud Archive Service provides long-term retention for large-scale and infrequently accessed data. Oracle Storage Cloud Software Appliance provides a POSIX-compliant NFS interface, Docker support, data security and integrity, and more. Oracle also offers cloud network services, including Oracle Network Cloud Service, which securely extends an on-premises network to an Oracle Compute Cloud Service—both the elastic and dedicated compute services.

Oracle Magazine: Oracle customers are managing massive on-premises workloads with Oracle engineered systems. What are the cloud use cases and benefits for customers using Oracle engineered systems on premises?

Chaudhry: Oracle has made significant investments in engineered systems—highly specialized sets of machines that our customers have been finding extremely useful in on-premises environments. These systems are powerful combinations of software and hardware engineered to work together.

But a customer running Oracle Exadata on premises, for example, cannot do dev/test work for new Oracle Exadata–based applications on generalized cloud hardware. So many Oracle customers are looking for Oracle engineered system–based cloud services for dev/test and other operations, such as Oracle Exadata Cloud Service. Oracle engineered system–based cloud services can provide the same level of performance in the cloud that customers require on premises.

Next Steps

 LEARN more about Oracle Cloud infrastructure as a service.

 

Photography by Bob Adler/Getty Images and  Glenn Carstens-Peters/Unsplash