Castle in the clouds or reality – Oracle Database and Cloud Computing

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One of the major hypes in the IT industry is cloud computing. The cloud being a remote, top-notch infrastructure for data storage only or the combination of Storage and Computation that can be enlisted on demand. Organizations like Amazon who have world class systems engineering and IT infrastructure management can provide cloud infrastructure at a fraction of the cost more ordinary organizations would suffer.

The prime example of a Storage Cloud is Amazon S3. It basically is a very cheap facility to store and access bits of data. One option of leveraging the Storage Cloud would be for off site back up. The back up of for example the database can be sent bit for bit to S3, held in the cloud for as long as needed and retrieved when a recovery is called for. (note: apparently the data can be retrieved on hard copy media – DVD, tape – from the cloud as well as on line. Note: this article has been updated on September 23rd to include additional details released by Oracle....

Off Site Backup to the Cloud

Oracle announce support for Off Site backup to Amazon S3 during this conference. It would be supported for 10g and 11g. An important message about backing up data – especially to off site but essentially in any case – : make sure to encrypt the back up media. Otherwise, once you have access to a backup, you can recover the database and access all data in it. Not a good thing. The off site backup to S3 would definitely make sure any data sent off site is fully encrypted.

 

"Oracle Secure Backup Cloud Module, based on Oracle’s premier tape
backup management software, Oracle Secure Backup, enables customers to
use the Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) as their database
backup destination. Cloud-based backups offer reliability and virtually
unlimited capacity, available on-demand and with no up-front capital
expenditure. The Oracle Secure Backup Cloud Module also enables
encrypted data backups to help ensure complete privacy in the Cloud
environment. It’s fully integrated with Oracle Recovery Manager and
Oracle Enterprise Manager, providing users with familiar interfaces for
Cloud-based backups. For customers with an ongoing need to quickly move very large volumes
of data into or out of the AWS cloud, Amazon today allows the creation
of network peering connections. Oracle and Amazon are also working on
solutions that will enable cost effective, high volume backups and
restores, even in network-bandwidth constrained environments, by means
of physical import and export."

Database in the Cloud

Like I said, clouds can do more than just store data (and allow access to it), they can also provide processing/computing power. In many cases, server infrastructure is needed on temporary basis for non- critical activities such as testing, QA, development. It can be very costly to set up and manage such infrastructure. With Computing Clouds – such as Amazon EC2 – organizations can enlist processing power from the remote infrastructure. The cloud can run computations, batch processes and complex applications such as databases.

To quickly set up prototyping, sandboxes, testing, development and QA database environments, the Amazon EC2 cloud has (or will have?) pre created VM images through which an environment can be set up in minutes. Oracle on the cloud will be supported for all editions. You can already run an XE database on the cloud (not supported, because XE is not supported in general). The other editions will be ‘certified on the cloud’: you will be supported when the database is running on the cloud. With APEX in XE, you can run SaaS style applications from the cloud.

Licensing (for SE and EE) will be based on the cores attributed to the cloud; depending on your cloud configuration, a number of cores can be derived to based the license fees on.

See Amazon EC2 for more details.

"Oracle today announced that customers can license Oracle® Database 11g, Oracle Fusion Middleware and Oracle Enterprise Manager to run in a cloud computing environment. The first products will be available for Amazon Web Services’ Elastic Compute Cloud
(Amazon EC2) environment. Customers can also use their existing
software licenses on Amazon EC2 with no additional license fees. Oracle is delivering a set of free Amazon Machine Images (AMIs). Using
Oracle provided AMIs, new virtual machines can be provisioned with
Oracle Database 11g, Oracle Fusion Middleware and Oracle Enterprise Linux
fully configured and ready to use within minutes. Developers can take
advantage of the provisioning and automated software deployment to
rapidly build applications using tools
such as Oracle Application Express, Oracle JDeveloper, Oracle
Enterprise Pack for Eclipse. Additionally, Oracle Unbreakable Linux Support and Amazon Premium support is available for Oracle Enterprise Linux on EC2 providing seamless customer support:"

Oracle’s own cloud infrastructure

Oracle has had its own cloud infrastructure for some time, at apex.oracle.com . In this cloud, organizations and individuals can create APEX applications and allow others access to them. Until now, this environment was meant only for prototyping purposes. However, there could be an announcement this week that production systems are to be supported on the APEX Cloud as well.  

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About Author

Lucas Jellema, active in IT (and with Oracle) since 1994. Oracle ACE Director for Fusion Middleware. Consultant, trainer and instructor on diverse areas including Oracle Database (SQL & PLSQL), Service Oriented Architecture, BPM, ADF, Java in various shapes and forms and many other things. Author of the Oracle Press book: Oracle SOA Suite 11g Handbook. Frequent presenter on conferences such as JavaOne, Oracle OpenWorld, ODTUG Kaleidoscope, Devoxx and OBUG. Presenter for Oracle University Celebrity specials.

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