Exalogic and Cloud Computing

I have to admit that I really dislike the product name "Oracle Exalogic Elastic Cloud." I understand the thinking behind the name, but its a bit confusing. For those that missed the big announcement, Larry Ellison announced a new middleware appliance from Oracle. Whereas Exadata is focused on combining the database with pre-configured and tuned hardware, Exalogic does the same for middleware, allowing Java and non-Java applications to run up to 12x faster.

The two products, Exadata and Exalogic, simplify the IT stack and maximize application performance. Engineering systems to work well together is long overdue and an excellent use of Sun assets. Retailers interested in simplifying their infrastructure would be well served to consider these Oracle products.

No controversy on those points.

Oracle has also been working with Amazon to provide templates that install, configure, and tune Oracle's database and middleware for use on Amazon's Elastic Computing Cloud. This allows companies to easily deploy Oracle's software platform hosted by Amazon and paid for based on usage. (You still pay Oracle for licenses, then pay Amazon its hosting fees based on your usage of CPUs, storage, and network bandwidth.)

So why the name Exalogic Elastic Cloud? Exalogic provides a soup-to-nuts platform that is very scalable (elastic) and can be used as a private cloud, much like Amazon's offering but hosted on premise. The idea here is that a company can buy an Exalogic rack, host various applications as required, and flexibly allocate resources. If more computing power is required, more Exalogic modules can be added. This provides a very flexible IT infrastructure without relying on external entities (such as Amazon).

So now companies can deploy Oracle's database and middleware on Amazon's EC2, or buy Exalogic (and optionally Exadata) and provide a highly optimized infrastructure on premise. Both solutions are considered a cloud because because of the "black-box" nature and ability to scale up and down easily.

The announced middleware appliance and cloud options are separately very exciting. However, combining them in a single product name is a bit confusing. Nevertheless, this announcement should help IT to spend less time on platform maintenance, and more time on innovations that help the business.

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David Dorf, Sr Director Technology Strategy for Oracle Retail, shares news and ideas about the retail industry with a focus on innovation and emerging technologies.


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