Monday Sep 09, 2013

Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Database as a Service at Oracle OpenWorld 2013

Oracle OpenWorld 2013 will be big on Cloud Computing. Whether its Oracle Exadata, RAC, or Oracle Database 12c (DB12c) almost all of the solutions are designed with large scale cloud deployments in mind. At the forefront of all these technologies is Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c (EM12c) - right from provisioning, to monitoring, to managing its entire lifecycle. EM12c provides the glue that stitches different technologies together to provides a private cloud solution that enterprises can deploy to jumpstart their journey to cloud.

Like every year, there is a lot of good content being delivered about EM12c.This year it will be blend of new features (scheduled to come out in October) and lot of customer stories. Potential customers will have a great chance to talk to existing implementers and plan accordingly.

Here is a list of various sessions and demos that cover Database as a Service.

Sessions:

Zero to Cloud: Real Customers, Real-World Success Stories

This is a session by customers for customers. Come armed with your questions, and the current users of EM12c DBaaS will be happy to share their story and some practices they follow.

Harness the Power of Oracle Database 12c with Oracle Enterprise Manager Database as a Service

This is my session where I talk about EM12c DBaaS features as it stands today and how DB12c changes the dynamics with its new multitenant option. NetApp will be the co-presenter who will talk about the benefits of using EM along with NetApp Flexclone technology to speed up data cloning. Note, we will be giving away EM 12c Cloud Books and DVDs to people asking interesting questions.

Databases “On the Fly”: Unravel the Cloud Potential in Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c

This is another great customer session. Norwegian Labor Agency, NAV deployed DBaaS in their data center over a year ago and since then it has becoming an integral part of their database platform team.

Oracle Exadata and Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c: Extreme Consolidation in the Cloud

HDFC Bank was an early adopter of EM 12c DBaaS, and since then they have been at the cutting edge. In this session they will talk about how they have benefited from using DBaaS over the last 2 years, and also how adopting Schema as a service has tremendously improved their consolidation efforts. Additionally, they will share details and tips on using subsetting and data masking when cloning databases.

Hands-On-Lab (HOL):

There are two excellent hands on lab sessions that will give you complete, unabated access to all EM12c DBaaS services and features. Design, setup, use, and meter your own cloud solution in 60 mins. You will also get to learn and choose between various DBaaS models (fresh database, pluggable, Snap Clone...).

Database as a Service with Oracle Enterprise Manager and Oracle Database 12c (1)

Database as a Service with Oracle Enterprise Manager and Oracle Database 12c (2)

Demo Pod:

If you are short on time, stop by our many demopods and ask for a quick demo or ask questions about our various DBaaS offerings.

Delivering and Managing Database as a Service

Zero to Cloud: Infrastructure to Testing as a Service

Deploy a Database Cloud on Oracle SuperCluster to Simplify IT and Radically Improve Service Delivery

Oracle Engineered Systems Showcase : Oracle Exadata

As always for any questions, feel free to ping me on twitter @AdeeshF.

Additional Resources:

Focus On Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c: Cloud Management

Screenwatch: Database as a Service: Using Database Cloud Self Service Portal

Short Video: Deliver Database as a Service with Oracle Enterprise Manager

Thursday Nov 08, 2012

HDFC Bank's Journey to Oracle Private Database Cloud

One of the key takeaways from a recent post by Sushil Kumar is the importance of business initiative that drives the transformational journey from legacy IT to enterprise private cloud. The journey that leads to a agile, self-service and efficient infrastructure with reduced complexity and enables IT to deliver services more closely aligned with business requirements.

Nilanjay Bhattacharjee, AVP, IT of HDFC Bank presented a real-world case study based on one such initiative in his Oracle OpenWorld session titled "HDFC BANK Journey into Oracle Database Cloud with EM 12c DBaaS". The case study highlighted in this session is from HDFC Bank’s Lending Business Segment, which comprises roughly 50% of Bank’s top line. Bank’s Lending Business is always under pressure to launch “New Schemes” to compete and stay ahead in this segment and IT has to keep up with this challenging business requirement. Lending related applications are highly dynamic and go through constant changes and every single and minor change in each related application is required to be thoroughly UAT tested certified before they are certified for production rollout. This leads to a constant pressure in IT for rapid provisioning of UAT databases on an ongoing basis to enable faster time to market.

Nilanjay joined Sushil Kumar, VP, Product Strategy, Oracle, during the Enterprise Manager general session at Oracle OpenWorld 2012. Let's watch what Nilanjay had to say about their recent Database cloud deployment.

“Agility” in launching new business schemes became the key business driver for private database cloud adoption in the Bank. Nilanjay spent an hour discussing it during his session. Let's look at why Database-as-a-Service(DBaaS) model was need of the hour in this case  -

  • Average 3 days to provision UAT Database for Loan Management Application
  • Silo’ed UAT environment with Average 30% utilization
  • Compliance requirement consume UAT testing resources
  • DBA activities leads to $$ paid to SI for provisioning databases manually
  • Overhead in managing configuration drift between production and test environments
  • Rollout impact/delay on new business initiatives

The private database cloud implementation progressed through 4 fundamental phases - Standardization, Consolidation, Automation, Optimization of UAT infrastructure. Project scoping was carried out and end users and stakeholders were engaged early on right from planning phase and including all phases of implementation.

  • Standardization and Consolidation phase involved multiple iterations of planning to first standardize on infrastructure, db versions, patch levels, configuration, IT processes etc and with database level consolidation project onto Exadata platform. It was also decided to have existing AIX UAT DB landscape covered and EM 12c DBaaS solution being platform agnostic supported this model well.
  • Automation and Optimization phase provided the necessary Agility, Self-Service and efficiency and this was made possible via EM 12c DBaaS. EM 12c DBaaS Self-Service/SSA Portal was setup with required zones, quotas, service templates, charge plan defined. There were 2 zones implemented - Exadata zone  primarily for UAT and benchmark testing for databases running on Exadata platform and second zone was for AIX setup to cover other databases those running on AIX. Metering and Chargeback/Showback capabilities provided business and IT the framework for cloud optimization and also visibility into cloud usage.

More details on UAT cloud implementation, related building blocks and EM 12c DBaaS solution are covered in Nilanjay's OpenWorld session here.

Some of the key Benefits achieved from UAT cloud initiative are -

  • New business initiatives can be easily launched due to rapid provisioning of UAT Databases [ ~3 hours ]
  • Drastically cut down $$ on SI for DBA Activities due to Self-Service
  • Effective usage of infrastructure leading to  better ROI
  • Empowering  consumers to provision database using Self-Service
  • Control on project schedule with DB end date aligned to project plan submitted during provisioning
  • Databases provisioned through Self-Service are monitored in EM and auto configured for Alerts and KPI
  • Regulatory requirement of database does not impact existing project in queue

This table below shows typical list of activities and tasks involved when a end user requests for a UAT database. EM 12c DBaaS solution helped reduce UAT database provisioning time from roughly 3 days down to 3 hours and this timing also includes provisioning time for database with production scale data (ranging from 250 G to 2 TB of data) -


And it's not just about time to provision,  this initiative has enabled an agile, efficient and transparent UAT environment where end users are empowered with real control of cloud resources and IT's role is shifted as enabler of strategic services instead of being administrator of all user requests. The strong collaboration between IT and business community right from planning to implementation to go-live has played the key role in achieving this common goal of enterprise private cloud. Finally, real cloud is here and this cloud is accompanied with rain (business benefits) as well !

For more information, please go to Oracle Enterprise Manager  web page or  follow us at : 

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Monday Nov 05, 2012

Clouds Everywhere But not a Drop of Rain – Part 3

I was sharing with you how a broad-based transformation such as cloud will increase agility and efficiency of an organization if process re-engineering is part of the plan.  I have also stressed on the key enterprise requirements such as “broad and deep solutions, “running your mission critical applications” and “automated and integrated set of capabilities”. Let me walk you through some key cloud attributes such as “elasticity” and “self-service” and what they mean for an enterprise class cloud. I will also talk about how we at Oracle have taken a very enterprise centric view to developing cloud solutions and how our products have been specifically engineered to address enterprise cloud needs.

Cloud Elasticity and Enterprise Applications Requirements

Easy and quick scalability for a short-period of time is the signature of cloud based solutions. It is this elasticity that allows you to dynamically redistribute your resources according to business priorities, helps increase your overall resource utilization, and reduces operational costs by allowing you to get the most out of your existing investment.

Most public clouds are offering a instant provisioning mechanism of compute power (CPU, RAM, Disk), customer pay for the instance-hours(and bandwidth) they use, adding computing resources at peak times and removing them when they are no longer needed. This type of “just-in-time” serving of compute resources is well known for mid-tiers “state less” servers such as web application servers and web servers that just need another machine to start and run on it but what does it really mean for an enterprise application and its underlying data? Most enterprise applications are not as quite as “state less” and justifiably so. As such, how do you take advantage of cloud elasticity and make it relevant for your enterprise apps? This is where Cloud meets Grid Computing.

At Oracle, we have invested enormous amount of time, energy and resources in creating enterprise grid solutions. All our technology products offer built-in elasticity via clustering and dynamic scaling. With products like Real Application Clusters (RAC), Automatic Storage Management, WebLogic Clustering, and Coherence In-Memory Grid, we allow all your enterprise applications to benefit from Cloud elasticity –both vertically and horizontally - without requiring any application changes.

A number of technology vendors take a rather simplistic route of starting up additional or removing unneeded VM as the "Cloud Scale-Out" solution. While this may work for stateless mid-tier servers where load balancers can handle the addition and remove of instances transparently but following a similar approach for the database tier - often called as "database sharding" - requires significant application modification and typically does not work with off the shelf packaged applications. Technologies like Oracle Database Real Application Clusters, Automatic Storage Management, etc. on the other hand bring the benefits of incremental scalability and on-demand elasticity to ANY application by providing a simplified abstraction layers where the application does not need deal with data spread over multiple database instances. Rather they just talk to a single database and the database software takes care of aggregating resources across multiple hardware components. It is the technologies like these that truly make a cloud solution relevant for enterprises. 

For customers who are looking for a next generation hardware consolidation platform, our engineered systems (e.g. Exadata, Exalogic) not only provide incredible amount of performance and capacity, they also reduce the data center complexity and simplify operations.

Assemble, Deploy and Manage Enterprise Applications for Cloud

Products like Oracle Virtual assembly builder (OVAB) resolve the complex problem of bringing the cloud speed to complex multi-tier applications. With assemblies, you can not only provision all components of a multi-tier application and wire them together by push of a button, other aspects of application lifecycle, such as real-time application testing, scale-up/scale-down, performance and availability monitoring, etc., are also automated using Oracle Enterprise Manager. 

An essential criteria for an enterprise cloud to succeed is the ability to ensure business service levels especially when business users have either full visibility on the usage cost with a “show back” or a “charge back”. With Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c, we have created the most comprehensive cloud management solution in the industry that is capable of managing business service levels “applications-to-disk” in a enterprise private cloud – all from a single console. It is the only cloud management platform in the industry that allows you to deliver infrastructure, platform and application cloud services out of the box. Moreover, it offers integrated and complete lifecycle management of the cloud - including planning and set up, service delivery, operations management, metering and chargeback, etc .  Sounds unbelievable? Well, just watch this space for more details on how Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c is the nerve center of Oracle Cloud!

Our cloud solution portfolio is also the broadest and most deep in the industry  - covering public, private, hybrid, Infrastructure, platform and applications clouds. It is no coincidence therefore that the Oracle Cloud today offers the most comprehensive set of public cloud services in the industry.  And to a large part, this has been made possible thanks to our years on investment in creating cloud enabling technologies. 

Summary 

But the intent of this blog post isn't to dwell on how great our solutions are (these are just some examples to illustrate how we at Oracle have approached this problem space). Rather it is to help you ask the right questions before you embark on your cloud journey.  So to summarize, here are the key takeaways.      

  • It is critical that you are clear on why you are building the cloud. Successful organizations keep business benefits as the first and foremost cloud objective. On the other hand, those who approach this purely as a technology project are more likely to fail.
  • Think about where you want to be in 3-5 years before you get started. Your long terms objectives should determine what your first step ought to be. As obvious as it may seem, more people than not make the first move without knowing where they are headed. 
  • Don’t make the mistake of equating cloud to virtualization and Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS). Spinning a VM on-demand will give some short term relief to your IT staff but is unlikely to solve your larger business problems. As such, even if IaaS is your first step towards a more comprehensive cloud, plan the roadmap around those higher level services before you begin. And ask your vendors on how they are going to be your partners in this journey.
  • Capabilities like self-service access and chargeback/showback are absolutely critical if you really expect your cloud to be transformational. Your business won't see the full benefits of the cloud until it empowers them with same kind of control and transparency that they are used to while using a public cloud service. 
  • Evaluate the benefits of integration, as opposed to blindly following the best-of-breed strategy. Integration is a huge challenge and more so in a cloud environment. There are enormous costs associated with stitching a solution out of disparate components and even more in maintaining it.

Hope you found these ideas helpful. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts and experiences.

Monday Oct 29, 2012

Beyond Cloud Technology, Enabling A More Agile and Responsive Organization

This is the second part of the blog “Clouds, Clouds Everywhere But not a Drop of Rain”. In the first part,  I was sharing with you how a broad-based transformation makes cloud more than a technology initiative, I will describe in this section how it requires people (organizational) and process changes as well, and these changes are as critical as is the choice of right tools and technology.

People: Most IT organizations have a fairly complex organizational structure. There are different groups, managing different pieces of the puzzle, and yet, they don't always work together. Provisioning a new application therefore may require a request to float endlessly through system administrators, DBAs and middleware admin worlds – resulting in long delays and constant finger pointing.  Cloud users expect end-to-end automation - which requires these silos to be greatly simplified, if not completely eliminated.  Most customers I talk to acknowledge this problem but are quick to admit that such a transformation is hard. As hard as it may be, I am afraid that the status quo is no longer an option. Sticking to an organizational structure that was created ages back will not only impede cloud adoption,  it also risks making the IT skills increasingly irrelevant in a world that is rapidly moving towards converged applications and infrastructure.  

Process: Most IT organizations today operate with a mindset that they must fully "control" access to any and all types of IT services. This in turn leads to people clinging on to outdated manual approval processes .  While requiring approvals for scarce resources makes sense, insisting that every single request must be manually approved defeats the very purpose of cloud. Not only this causes delays, thereby at least partially negating the agility benefits, it also results in gross inefficiency. In a cloud environment, self-service access should be governed by policies, quotas that the administrators can define upfront . For a cloud initiative to be successful, IT organizations MUST be ready to empower users by giving them real control rather than insisting on brokering every single interaction between users and the cloud resources.

Technology: From a technology perspective, cloud is about consolidation, standardization and automation. A consolidated and standardized infrastructure helps increase utilization and reduces cost. Additionally, it  enables a much higher degree of automation - thereby providing users the required agility while minimizing operational costs.  Obviously, automation is the key to cloud. Unfortunately it hasn’t received as much attention within enterprises as it should have.  Many organizations are just now waking up to the criticality of automation and it still often gets relegated to back burner in favor of other "high priority" projects. However, it is important to understand that without the right type and level of automation, cloud will remain a distant dream for most enterprises. This in turn makes the choice of the cloud management software extremely critical. 

For a cloud management software to be effective in an enterprise environment, it must meet the following qualifications:

Broad and Deep Solution

It should offer a broad and deep solution to enable the kind of broad-based transformation we are talking about.  Its footprint must cover physical and virtual systems, as well as infrastructure, database and application tiers. Too many enterprises choose to equate cloud with virtualization. While virtualization is a critical component of a cloud solution, it is just a component and not the whole solution. Similarly, too many people tend to equate cloud with Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS). While it is perfectly reasonable to treat IaaS as a starting point, it is important to realize that it is just the first stepping stone - and on its own it can only provide limited business benefits. It is actually the higher level services, such as (application) platform and business applications, that will bring about a more meaningful transformation to your enterprise.

Run and Manage Efficiently Your Mission Critical Applications

It should not only be able to run your mission critical applications, it should do so better than before.  For enterprises, applications and data are the critical business assets  As such, if you are building a cloud platform that cannot run your ERP application, it isn't truly a "enterprise cloud".  Also, be wary of  vendors who try to sell you the idea that your applications must be written in a certain way to be able to run on the cloud. That is nothing but a bogus, self-serving argument. For the cloud to be meaningful to enterprises, it should adopt to your applications - and not the other way around. 

Automated, Integrated Set of Cloud Management Capabilities

At the root of many of the problems plaguing enterprise IT today is complexity. A complex maze of tools and technology, coupled with archaic  processes, results in an environment which is inflexible, inefficient and simply too hard to manage. Management tool consolidation, therefore, is key to the success of your cloud as tool proliferation adds to complexity, encourages compartmentalization and defeats the very purpose that you are building the cloud for. Decision makers ought to be extra cautious about vendors trying to sell them a "suite" of disparate and loosely integrated products as a cloud solution.  An effective enterprise cloud management solution needs to provide a tightly integrated set of capabilities for all aspects of cloud lifecycle management. A simple question to ask: will your environment be more or less complex after you implement your cloud? More often than not, the answer will surprise you. 

At Oracle, we have understood these challenges and have been working hard to create cloud solutions that are relevant and meaningful for enterprises.  And we have been doing it for much longer than you may think. Oracle was one of the very first enterprise software companies to make our products available on the Amazon Cloud. As far back as in 2007, we created new cloud solutions such as Cloud Database Backup that are helping customers like Amazon save millions every year.  Our cloud solution portfolio is also the broadest and most deep in the industry  - covering public, private, hybrid, Infrastructure, platform and applications clouds. It is no coincidence therefore that the Oracle Cloud today offers the most comprehensive set of public cloud services in the industry.  And to a large part, this has been made possible thanks to our years on investment in creating cloud enabling technologies.

I will dedicate the third and final part of the blog “Clouds, Clouds Everywhere But not a Drop of Rain” to Oracle Cloud Technologies Building Blocks and how they mapped into our vision of Enterprise Cloud. Stay Tuned.

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