The following is a transcription of the audio recording you can hear in the player above.
Welcome to Briefings In Brief, an audio digest of IT news and information from the Packet Pushers, including vendor briefings, industry research, and commentary.
I’m Ethan Banks, it’s November 15, 2018, and here’s what’s happening:
- I had a briefing with Oracle Cloud last month while attending a Tech Field Day event as a delegate.
- Oracle is, of course, one of the largest IT companies in the world. Their enterprise database, CRM, financial, and other applications have a massive install base that keep Oracle ticking along at $9 or $10 billion dollars in revenue or so per quarter.
- What you might not realize is that a significant percentage of that revenue comes from Oracle Cloud. That’s because what Oracle’s mostly done with their cloud is provide a home for enterprises to run Oracle applications. For shops who want to run their own workloads on Infrastructure as a Service, that might make Oracle Cloud seem uninteresting.
- However, there’s a lot more to the Oracle cloud story. Oracle Cloud Infrastructure is slowly working its way towards being feature competitive with the Big 3 – AWS, Azure, and GCP.
- How are they doing that? By building out robust cloud infrastructure aimed at the typical enterprise. Oracle’s take is that the Big 3 clouds aren’t meeting their customers’ needs. And again, when you hear “customers’ needs” in this context, you should think, “enterprise customers’ needs.”
- The claims here are that Big 3 cloud performance is inconsistent, and not well-suited for running Oracle apps. In addition, public cloud costs are high, sometimes with hidden or poorly understood charges. Add to that an inability to pick up and move when you want to if you’re leveraging PaaS, and maybe Oracle has a point.
- The focus for Oracle Cloud then is consistent, high performance, low, predictable pricing, and the ability to migrate enterprise workloads easily. In summary, making it easier for enterprises to operate in the cloud by giving them a cloud infrastructure that makes sense with the way typical enterprise applications are architected.
- This is an important point. Many shops that have attempted the “lift and shift” model of migrating to the cloud have been stunned by the resulting operational costs. That’s because the Big 3 aren’t setup to work as a mirror of your data center model. They are designed to be efficient when you use lots of tiny workloads spun up and shut down on demand as opposed to a few massive workloads that run 24×7. Think scale-out as opposed to scale-up, and maybe all the buzz about microservices starts to come into focus.
- So what do you do when re-architecting your applications isn’t really an option? Maybe, you talk to Oracle Cloud.
- Oracle Cloud Infrastructure offers, as you’d expect, compute, storage, and networking. There’s even a bare metal offering that’s a big as 52 cores, 8 GPUs, 768GB RAM, 51TB local SSD, and 5M IOPS according to my notes.
- Oracle cloud network struck me as a bit of unicorn magic. Rainbows all over the place. I didn’t get a deep-dive on how they are doing what they are doing, but Oracle has made some huge promises here. They describe the network as non-oversubscribed with a flat architecture, which I took to mean not leaf-spine, which is certainly possible. There are a lot of interesting network topologies out there aimed at specific traffic patterns. Whatever the topology is, Oracle will provide a cloud network performance SLA of less than < 100µs expected one way latency between hosts in an Availability Domain and < 500µs between Availability Domains. Oracle will provide credits if the performance falls below the SLA.
- Storage is NVMe SSDs everywhere, and importantly, Oracle does not charge you to move your storage data back out of the cloud, if you so choose.
- For your automation and orchestration needs, Oracle has embraced Ansible and Terraform.
- The weakness of Oracle Cloud Infrastructure remains the platform as a service offerings. While AWS seems to make a comically large number of new PaaS announcements on an almost weekly basis, Oracle Cloud Infrastructure doesn’t have so much of that. For example, the database offerings are Oracle only, plus something they described as “a Cassandra-like offering.”
- Oracle Cloud Infrastructure continues to evolve. On November 11, Oracle made announcements around autoscaling, Instance Pools, Fault domains, paravirtualization, a Partner Image Catalogue, and Reboot Migration, as well as a very high performance Clustered Networking offering.
- With Clustered Networking, you’re getting a low-latency network like you’d build for a high-performance computing cluster in your own data center, only in the cloud. You get a 100Gbps Ethernet-based, totally private, RDMA network. RoCE v2. The ports are dedicated–there’s a second NIC in the server, that’s totally separate from the front-end network the IaaS stuff runs on. The latency between cluster members is 1.5µs, really quite fast.
- In summary, Oracle Cloud Infrastructure’s message to the enterprise is that you don’t have to refactor your app into microservices and point APIs at each other to properly leverage cloud. You can bring your as-is workload to Oracle Cloud, and it will run well, and more cheaply, than other clouds.
- Those are big, bold claims, but it certainly seems like Oracle is taking this very seriously. And maybe you’d like to poke around cloud.oracle.com and see if anything there is interesting to your use case.
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