While the cloud is unquestionably enticing, not all computing workloads are moving there immediately. The reasons include data residency regulations, complex application architectures, and latency for real-time applications, not to mention the general squeamishness of IT groups used to controlling the underpinnings of their mission-critical applications.
Now, Oracle is removing those barriers, by bridging the gap between cloud and on premises in a way no other cloud provider has. With Oracle Database Exadata Cloud Machine, companies get the advantages of cloud—like pay-per-use and far less in-house IT management—with a machine that physically sits inside a company’s own data center and is completely managed remotely by Oracle.
The Exadata Cloud Machine is an extension of Oracle’s Cloud at Customer program and is perfect for companies who want to reduce their data center and IT administrative overhead, but who worry about regulations or performance. “The performance, the connectivity, the security, they should all be the same, but with Exadata Cloud Machine on premises they’ve begun moving to cloud,” says Tim Shetler, Oracle vice president of database technologies. “It makes their eventual move to cloud much easier because now they’re on systems using a software stack that’s identical to what they’ll be running on the public cloud.”
For example, even though Oracle Database Exadata Cloud Machine sits in a company’s data center, database administrators manage the database as if it were completely hosted in the Oracle public cloud. That means DBAs are learning the processes they’ll need if they later move to cloud-based operations. “Several [current customers] manage dozens of data centers, and they see this as an opportunity to reduce that number,” says Shetler. “They’re saying, ‘let’s see if we can decommission a bunch of these data centers’ and ultimately, they might feel comfortable enough to move into the public cloud and get out of the data center business altogether.”
And, because it’s based on Oracle Exadata, these companies still get the world’s most advanced database, with infrastructure optimized to make quick work of the heaviest database-specific workloads. Here are four ways that Oracle Database Exadata Cloud Machine provides the advantages of the cloud, with a machine that sits in a company’s own data center.
1. No Latency or Residency Concerns
Through his many conversations with customers, Shetler knows that application environments can involve complex networks of systems built over time. “If some components can’t be moved to a public cloud, it may be best to keep the whole system on-premises and avoid excess network latency,” he says. Still other companies “can’t make the move because of local regulations or legal restrictions,” he says. For example, says Shetler, “there might not be a cloud data center in their country and moving data out of the country isn’t allowed.”
2. Cloud Ease, Pricing, and Flexibility—On-Premises
Like the original Cloud at Customer machine, Oracle Database Exadata Cloud Machine is “hosted in your own data center and completely managed remotely by Oracle, just as if it were in our data center,” says Shetler. The experience of using the machine is “just like using a public cloud,” he says. “You pay the subscription price for what you generally use, and then pay by the hour for bursts of extra compute power when you need it.”
The new machine is perfect for IT organizations that are looking for ways to “start moving workloads to cloud to lower operating costs and work towards getting out of the data center business,” says Shetler, “even if they’re not exactly ready to port their mission-critical apps to the public cloud.”
3. Pay for What You Use
One of the benefits of Oracle Database Exadata Cloud Machine is that customers only pay for what they use. “On premises, you have to buy a machine that’s big enough to handle your biggest workload plus a little padding,” says Shetler. But with the cloud machine, “you can size your baseline subscription for what your normal requirements are then burst on an hourly basis to take on your peak loads.” Plus, Shetler says with a smile, with the Exadata Cloud Machine, “you get all the database options you could ever want.”
4. Easily Experiment with Database Options
With an Exadata Cloud Machine in your data center, you get, “every database option we offer,” says Shetler. That’s different from the on-premises Enterprise Edition of Oracle Database, he says, where customers pay separately for options that offer higher availability, security, automated backup, analytics, and other capabilities. “On-premises customers usually buy a small number of options that they feel they absolutely need,” says Shetler. But with the new machine, he says, “you get them all.”
“Think of all the use cases you ever considered trying if money weren’t an issue,” he says, pointing to Oracle’s in-memory option, which can run some analytics up to 100 times faster than conventional modes, as an example: “Now that it’s available, heck, why not run real time analytics against a standby of your database and run backups off that as well,” he says. “Give your internal clients reports in real time whenever they want them.”
Or, IT teams can build a development and testing environment using Exadata Cloud Machine that “makes sure every application you develop is the best it can be by taking advantage of all the database options possible,” he says. “You don’t have to skimp, because the options don’t cost you extra. When you consolidate more applications into Exadata Cloud Machine, you can give them new levels of availability and performance because those options are now available to you.”
“Go crazy,” Shetler advises. “Do all the things you would do if you had the money to buy a full primary standby with all the options.” And do it all knowing that, when it’s time to move entirely to the cloud, you’re already far down that path.