Oracle Database Cloud Services: A Few Initial Thoughts

Oct 5, 2011 / By Marc Fielding

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The website for Oracle Database Cloud Services at cloud.oracle.com is now online, in conjunction with Larry Ellison’s announcement during the Oracle OpenWorld keynote going on now. It’s a hosted database service running Oracle 11gR2. The database can be accessed using a hosted Oracle application server, via JDBC across the Internet, or their own RESTful API a la Amazon. Notably lacking is Oracle’s own TNS network protocol.

Actually it looks a lot like Amazon’s services. Last year Larry was praising their approach to the cloud and offering special licensing for using Oracle databases inside Amazon EC2 instances. Now they’re competing directly. I guess imitation of the greatest form of flattery….

Looking at the list of specifications it looks like a pretty standard list of Oracle 11G enterprise edition features, with the inclusion of partitioning, transparent data encryption, and fine-grained access control, which are usually extra-cost options.

A lot of the feature set seems to be oriented toward data warehousing applications, including the aforementioned partitioning, bitmap indexes, query rewrite, and star transformations.

A few other interesting features:

Asynchronous operations, allowing operations to be kicked off and progress monitored lately. Is this some kind of advanced queuing feature, or something completely new?
Triple redundancy storage: not messing around with the chance of storage loss. The question is: will it stay triple redundant if Oracle is doing maintenance behind the scenes
Tape backup: tape, in this day and age?

And a few missing ones:

Compression: no mention of any type of compression. Perhaps they’re trying to meter disk usage on actual space consumed?
Database links: can multiple databases talk to each other.
Management tools: Is OEM Grid Control and/or features of its management packs available?
SLAs: No mention of availability targets or SLA policies
Migration tools: I’d expect simple, high-performance migration tools to be front and center when dealing with a cloud environment like this. How about bundled GlodenGate replication to migrate over?

Traditional Oracle licenses will not be available or required. The new pricing model has not been announced, but I expect something similar to Amazon’s services where resources like disk space, CPU capacity, disk I/O, and Internet bandwidth consumption are metered separately.

The service is said to be running on “Exadata and Exalogic technology”, though I don’t see Exadata-specific features like hybrid columnar compression in use.

And yes, there are a number of other public cloud service offerings (again Amazon-style): Fusion CRM, HCM, hosted social networking, and Java app servers.

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