Oracle users have had the ability to run database workloads in the cloud for years, but options have always been limited to third-party providers like Amazon Web Services (AWS) – at least, until recently. That’s because Oracle has a second-generation cloud known as Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI). The company positions OCI as a secure-by-design cloud infrastructure with industry-leading price, performance, and reliability while also deploying “Star Wars”-like defenses using machine learning and autonomous robots for stronger security.
But is OCI the best option for your Oracle Database workloads in the cloud?
Non-Oracle Cloud Infrastructure options
As mentioned, users have been able to run Oracle Database workloads on cloud services like AWS for years, using either a build-your-own-system on cloud-based infrastructure (IaaS) or managed database service (DBaaS) using a product like AWS Relational Database Service. While these kinds of setups can certainly provide good value, they also have a couple of noteworthy drawbacks including:
- You can’t use Oracle Real Application Clusters (RAC) on third-party infrastructure.
- You can’t use Oracle Exadata (ExaCS) on third-party infrastructure.
That being said, there are some technical workarounds (usually requiring third-party software) you can use to build Oracle RAC databases in non-Oracle clouds. But be warned: Oracle is pretty upfront about providing only limited support in these instances.
Why Oracle Cloud Infrastructure could be for you
If you’re looking to run advanced Oracle Database configurations in the cloud, OCI could be exactly what you need. It offers much more flexibility than simply running Oracle Database on third-party infrastructure, including configurations such as:
- Databases built on IaaS-based “build it yourself” implementations.
- A managed service on virtual machines (VMs) or bare metal (BM) with RAC options.
- Exadata Cloud Service (ExaCS).
- Autonomous Database (ADB), comprised of Autonomous Data Warehouse (ADW) and Autonomous Transaction Processing (ATP).
This flexibility allows users to much more closely mimic what they’d do in an on-premises Oracle setup, but with the added cloud benefits of virtually no startup cost or in-house talent required to keep the infrastructure running. That’s including other technical benefits baked into OCI such as off-box network virtualization. This enables the simultaneous running of a BM host in combination with other classes of systems like VMs or Exadata using the same APIs.
Oracle’s managed database service also allows root access to the underlying operating system, which can be a huge benefit – but also a curse if you end up breaking something.
Limitations of Oracle Cloud Infrastructure
Just because you can more closely mimic an on-premises solution doesn’t mean you can do everything the same. There are some limitations to OCI, including:
- You can’t access any ExaCS components beyond compute nodes.
- You can’t build a custom RAC database (RAC is available, but only in certain configurations).
Download the Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) White Paper to learn more about the benefits and potential limitations of OCI, and whether it could be the perfect fit to run your non-trivial Oracle database workloads in the cloud.