If you’ve decided to migrate your Oracle enterprise applications to the public cloud, it’s a good idea to consider Oracle Cloud alongside alternatives such as Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure.
Oracle has made big strides in the cloud lately with platform-as-a-service (PaaS) offerings for its middleware and database software, culminating in the release of its first infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) offering in late 2015.
Oracle has a clear advantage over the competition when it comes to running its own applications in the cloud: it has full control over product licensing and can optimize its cloud platform for lift-and-shift migrations. This gives you a low-risk strategy for modernizing your IT portfolio.
What to expect from Oracle Cloud IaaS
Because Oracle’s IaaS offering is quite new, it has yet to match the flexibility and feature set of Azure and AWS. For example, enterprise VPN connectivity between cloud and on-premises infrastructure is still very much a work in progress. Unlike AWS, however, Oracle provides a free software appliance for accessing cloud storage on-premises. In addition to offering an hourly metered service, Oracle also provides unmetered compute capacity with a monthly subscription. Some customers prefer this option because it allows them to more easily control their spending through a predictable monthly fee rather than a pure pay-as-you-go model.
At the same time, Oracle Cloud IaaS has a limited selection of instance shapes, there is no SSD storage yet or guaranteed input/output performance levels, and transferring data is more challenging for large-volume migrations.
What to expect from Oracle Cloud PaaS
Oracle’s PaaS offerings are quickly becoming among the most comprehensive cloud-based services for Oracle Database. They include:
Oracle Database Schema Service
This is the entry-level unmetered offering, available starting at $175 a month for a 5GB database schema limit. Tenants share databases but are isolated in their own schemas. This means you have no control over database parameters, only the schema objects created. This service is currently available only with Oracle Database 11g Release 2 (i.e., it is not yet included in the latest release of Oracle Database 12c).
Oracle Exadata Cloud Service
This is a hosted service with monthly subscriptions starting at $70,000 for a quarter rack with 28 OCPUs enabled and 42TB of usable storage provisioned. You have full root OS access and SYSDBA database access, so you have total flexibility in managing your environment. However, this means Oracle manages only the bare minimum—the external networking and physical hardware—so you may end up expending the same effort as you would managing Exadata on-premises.
Oracle Database Virtual Image Service
This is a Linux VM with pre-installed Oracle Database software. The license is included in the rate. It’s available metered (priced per OCPU per hour of runtime) and unmetered (priced per OCPU allocated per month). As you’ll need to manage everything up from the VM level, including OS management and full DBA responsibilities, the metered service is a particularly good option for running production environments that require full control over the database deployment.
Oracle Database-as-a-Service (DBaaS)
This is an extension of Virtual Image Service and includes additional automation for database provisioning during service creation, backup, recovery, and patching. While you are still responsible for the complete management of the environment, the embedded automation and tooling can simplify some DBA tasks.
I should point out that, with the exception of Oracle Database Schema Service, these are not “true” PaaS offerings; they function more like IaaS-style services but with database software licenses included. But this is on the way, as Oracle recently announced plans for a fully managed DBaaS offering similar to the one available through AWS.
While Oracle’s cloud options are still quite new and require additional features for broad enterprise adoption, if this option sparks your interest, now is the time to take the first steps. If you want to learn more about the migration path to Oracle Cloud, check out our white paper, Migrating Oracle Databases to Cloud.