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Cloud Predictions for 2019 and beyond

Oracle’s top 10 predictions for cloud in 2019 and beyond

By now it is clear that cloud adoption shows no sign of abating, in fact, many businesses are moving towards infrastructures that are entirely cloud-based. Most businesses use more than one public cloud for infrastructure as a service or backup as a service, alongside multiple software as a service applications. Oracle has evaluated the cloud market and has made some informed predictions from now until 2025. Are you focusing your efforts in the right places? Read on to see if your strategy is aligned.

1.Next generation clouds will allow businesses to move 100% of their data centres to the cloud

First generation clouds were built for efficiency and economies of scale, without the reliability and security that mission critical applications demand. Next generation clouds are built with complexity and security in mind, designed to support AI and data analytics applications, IoT environments, and emerging technologies like blockchain. Customers are feeling confident enough to start moving their highly performing, high risk, most valued operations to the cloud.

2. 80% of all enterprise workloads will move to the cloud

Enterprise customers will continue to adopt different cloud services, from multiple cloud vendors, mixing public and private, managed and self-service and migrating data and applications from across the enterprise until 80% of all workloads are run in the cloud. This will include mission critical workloads, as confidence in the cloud grows.

3. All applications will incorporate AI, further distancing themselves from legacy applications.

As data volumes gathered grow at pace, application developers are utilising AI more and more to make sense of these vast data volumes. AI is being used in many different ways, to do more, faster, differently and Oracle believes that application vendors will build capabilities into every new application by 2025.

4. AI and emerging technologies will double our productivity

The reason Oracle believes AI will be incorporated in every new application is because it can significantly increase productivity. By processing and learning from massive amounts of data, automating activities and workflows and freeing up resources to focus human effort where it really counts, businesses that adopt AI and emerging technologies could double their productivity.

5. 85% of customer interactions will be automated

Automation doesn’t just drive efficiencies it can improve the customer journey and customer service. AI enabled chatbots and voice assistants will continue to improve, learning context and intent and leading to even better customer service. Businesses will use AI-driven analytics to understand customer needs, serving these with automated, humanised digital services.

6. The developer community will expand 10x and productivity will increase by 400%

As application development techniques become less about coding and more visual and user friendly and demand for new applications continues to increase, there may be a rise in the number of non-professional developers in the marketplace. This increased pool of developers will be able to use new intelligent tools and platforms that allow them to build, test and deploy applications quickly, making them more efficient and productive.

7. More than 50% of data will be managed autonomously

Patching, updating and upgrading applications is a set of necessary but time -consuming activities and ripe for automation, if businesses are going to free up time. Autonomous, or self-healing applications can be brought online faster, cheaper and without specialist skills and knowledge. This is a predicted to be a big growth area.

8. 90% of enterprises will use a single identity platform that bridges premises and the cloud

The use of identity and access management technologies that can cross hybrid clouds and provide a unified identity that spans all applications and services is just starting to take off, but user expectations, demands on the business for real time provisioning and de-provisioning coupled with data privacy regulations will mean that single platform vendor solutions will be hotly in demand.

9. The number of security events will increase 100x and automation will become the most reliable way of preventing, detecting and mitigating threats.

Security events are increasing in volume and type and businesses are looking at automation solutions in order to analyse and prioritise these in order to protect against them in the future. It is likely that cybercriminals will deploy AI-enabled malicious traffic which is hard to identify. The logical response is to use AI enabled security solutions that analyse vast amounts of security event data to defend against these threats, from core to edge.

10. 70% of IT functions will be completely automated

The routine, repetitive functions undertaken by the IT department are the perfect type of task to be automated. Patching, tuning, deploying new services, adding more capacity, all of these jobs can be automated successfully to improve reliability, availability, scalability and allow businesses to meet application SLAs to the business. If 70% of these tasks are automated, the resources freed up can be dedicated to transformation and innovation projects that will truly set businesses apart from the competition.

Backup to cloud

Tips for planning your backup to the cloud strategy

Backup to the cloud is a rapidly emerging data protection strategy and can remove management overheads, whilst also improving performance and efficiency. It is a big shift for many organisations however and there are a number of considerations that it is wise to address beforehand.

Firstly, it is crucial that you clearly understand your data retention requirements, whether they are required by regulation, for compliance purposes, or set by the business. It is a recommendation that you retain data backups onsite long enough to cover around 85% of the typical file restore requests that come in.

On the topic of compliance, it is also wise to look at regulatory requirements as a whole to make sure that your new backup strategy adequately addresses those. This could mean making sure that your data will be kept in a geographical location that is accepted, and not moved to a cloud location in a country that doesn’t comply with your local regulations. It could also mean that you need to look at the protection your data has whilst in transit, not just while it is at rest in storage. You should look at encryption to protect the data while it moves from location to location and in between.

Before starting your backup to cloud planning, it’s useful to update your DR plans, as this can help you identify any areas that your current backup strategy isn’t addressing, where your backup to cloud strategy could help. At the same time, run a gap analysis on your current backup strategy to see where improvements can be made with the new solution. For sustainability and budget purposes, it is a worthwhile exercise to identify any reusable elements of your current backup solution, that will work in your new backup infrastructure.

The next step is to consult with the key stakeholders within the business. They can help you understand what the business requirements of your backup strategy need to be and could include performance requirements, scalability and security. The IT Department might think that some performance degradation is acceptable, or even unnoticeable, or that it a recovery window of 24 hours would work for the business, while another business function, such as finance or sales, might believe that performance cannot be undermined at any cost, and that data must be instantly recoverable for a set period. It is only through consultation with each head of department, that you will understand the expectations and requirements and be able to build these into the solution’s scope (or not, if you deem it unattainable or unnecessary).

Whilst reviewing the expectations of the business, review your formal Service Level Agreements (SLAs) to make sure they are still appropriate and to ensure that your new backup strategy can meet the most up to date SLAs.

The stakeholder consultation may also uncover different requirements for different data sets, or applications, which is not uncommon. Finance data is likely to be governed by more regulations and could have longer retention periods than marketing or sales data for example. Most current backup strategies treat all data the same but a backup to cloud strategy could incorporate granular policies for different data sets, applications or departments.

The benefits of a disk-to-disk-to-cloud strategy are clear; rapid restores, almost instantaneous offsite vaulting, lower cost backup storage options and greater levels of security, but as with any major project, planning is essential if you are going to realise all the benefits and meet the needs and expectations of the business.

Server Consoliodation

Server Consolidation Best Practice

The benefits of server consolidation have been understood for years, with Gartner reporting growing adoption levels as far back as 1998 and virtualisation driving even more consolidation projects in recent years. In a consolidated environment the improved utilisation of servers means that server resources are used more efficiently, performance improves, and hardware requirements are lower, which in turn means lower license costs. It’s a win, win situation.

By consolidating large numbers of smaller servers onto fewer large symmetric multiprocessing (MSP) servers the workload demands on compute power are evened out improving overall utilisation. Large SMP servers simplify the deployment of applications, and less servers to manage means less management overhead, meaning further savings.

One of the main barriers to consolidation was flexibility, with different applications needing different levels of compute, storage and I/O resources, but new SMP servers can be partitioned to an incredibly granular level to dynamically provide processor, memory and I/O resources to applications.

Oracle approaches server consolidation using three main levels of partitioning technology in its SPARC servers; firstly, to use PDoms, or physical domains, which are electrical hardware partitions. A PDom can be powered up or down and changes can be made to it without affecting others. Hardware or software errors are isolated and domains are administered separately, so the effect of an error or security breach on applications is minimal.

At the next level, PDoms can be split down further using Oracle VM Server (OVM) partitioning, creating full virtual machines that run independent instances of the operating system. Each operating system instance contains dedicated CPU, memory, storage and console devices and can run different versions of Oracle Solaris if they need to.

Finally, the most granular level of virtualisation is Oracle Solaris Zones technology, which allows you to create flexible, lightweight zones within a single OS instance, that can be allocated to multiple different applications and managed centrally.

Oracle SPARC customers can layer OVMs on top of PDoms to create another layer of virtualisation which makes it even easier to run large numbers of different workloads on a small number of servers.

In addition to the flexibility offered by the three main technologies, Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Centre makes management of the consolidated servers simple and straightforward, bringing them all into a single management console.

Oracle offers customers a very flexible way of approaching server consolidation, with its T8, T7, M8 and M7 SPARC servers, and can meet most consolidation requirements simply by using a greater or lesser level of isolation with PDoms and LDoms. This flexibility can make it difficult to know which configuration to use, but by looking at the workloads that are to be deployed and understanding their service levels, resource utilisation characteristics and security requirements, the technology choice becomes clearer. Test and development environments will require a different configuration to production environments.

Customers should aim for as simple and flexible a configuration as necessary whilst taking into account their own need for isolation. The more PDoms and LDoms there are, the more complex an environment is to manage, but the greater the security and availability. The less PDoms and LDoms, the simpler to manage and more efficiently a server will run, but the risks of a single domain failure could be catastrophic and could lead to a greater risk of downtime.

For advice on a specific server consolidation project it is always best to consult an expert who can help map out the goals and objectives before selecting the right technology for the job.

Useful Links

White Paper – Oracle VM Server for SPARC Best Practices

White Paper – Oracle’s SPARC T8, T7, M8, and M7 Servers: Domaining Best Practices

Making the right choice with Oracle SPARC

Five reasons you should choose Oracle SPARC over IBM Power

Oracle customers, over 430,000 of them globally according to 2018 figures, are traditionally loyal to the Oracle brand, but when it comes to choosing infrastructure and particularly new server technology, why should customers choose Oracle SPARC over its rival IBM Power? What makes Oracle SPARC the better solution?

Firstly, and importantly the focus and commitment to server technology improvements that IBM has shown in recent years has been waning. Whilst IBM has concentrated its efforts elsewhere Oracle has been continuously developing its server technology to ensure it can offer customers the best servers.

For all those loyal Oracle database and application users, Oracle SPARC servers are the obvious choice. Oracle SPARC is optimised for Oracle databases and applications and will deliver the best performance and security at a low cost. Reporting and analytics are faster, advanced encryption and virtualisation features, secure data and improve application performance. In short, Oracle databases, middleware and applications have been optimised to take full advantage of all the features of SPARC architecture and vice versa.

With cybersecurity being of the utmost importance, Oracle has built in advanced encryption for data at rest, in transit and in storage, with no degradation of performance. Oracle’s Silicon Secured Memory provides 24/7 intrusion protection.

Because Oracle SPARC servers perform more business transactions at a faster rate, customers need less of them, which keeps costs and software license complexities down.

Migration to SPARC servers is easy and we will help with migration using Oracle Migration Factory methodology and tools. Our engineers will plan, architect and implement customers’ migration to SPARC according to the specific environment and expectations, but will use standardised automation tools and scripts to migrate sources to the target destination, monitoring and reporting throughout and in real time.

Last year Gartner predicted that “In 2019, hybrid IT will be the standard. Technical professionals focused on cloud must continue to advance cloud-first strategies, embrace multicloud and maintain on-premises environments, with a focus on integration and brokering”.

By taking a cloud-first approach to technology infrastructure development, Oracle has built its cloud solutions using the same SPARC technology that it uses in its servers allowing customers a clear path to the cloud. Unlike IBM Power customers moving to IBM Cloud services, customers using SPARC on premises can easily move to cloud services without migration costs, and without the need to change applications. The same advanced encryption features and same fast performance are present in Oracle cloud solutions, meaning customers can simply extend their SPARC/Solaris environments into the cloud using familiar SPARC/Solaris tools and without buying additional hardware.

For businesses using Oracle databases, applications or middleware and requiring enhanced security and performance at a good price point, SPARC should be a clear contender.

Useful Links

Gartner Research: Planning Guide

Oracle Migration Factory

Oracle Corporate Fact Sheet

Modernise your data centre with Oracle SPARC

Five reasons to modernise your data centre with Oracle SPARC

It’s clear that technology is advancing at a rapid rate, expectations are growing and business processes are changing. CIOs need to modernise their infrastructure if they are going to keep up with the demands of a modern business. Modern apps and workloads need fast, agile, secure and scalable infrastructure if they are to run at an optimal rate.

But a modernisation project involves consideration and planning, for today, but also with a long-term path towards the cloud. Only by moving towards cloud services can businesses keep pace.

Oracle SPARC and Solaris infrastructure is secure, efficient and highly performing, both on premises and in the cloud. By implementing Oracle SPARC customers can meet the demands of their business today and into the future, when they inevitably move towards the cloud.

For Oracle database and application customers, Oracle SPARC infrastructure is absolutely optimised to get the best out of the software. Databases and applications run at maximum efficiency and performance levels, with enhanced security features that are not found with other infrastructure vendors.

All businesses have legacy systems somewhere in their organisation and most cannot afford to scrap these to buy new. By implementing a modern infrastructure platform in increments with Oracle SPARC servers you can support legacy applications and new applications at the same time, upgrading as and when budgets and timescales allow.

When Oracle SPARC servers and Oracle Solaris run together, they enable multiple layers of advanced security features to improve security levels across the whole infrastructure stack. Encryption for data at rest, in transit and in storage, application protection, access controls, automatic patching and compliance auditing are inherent in an integrated Oracle infrastructure stack. A recent research report by Thales Security and IDC: The Changing Face of Data Security 2019 Thales Data Threat Report, which surveyed 1,200 executives globally, with responsibility for IT and data security found that only 30% of its survey respondents are using encryption technology in their transformation projects. Oracle SPARC and Solaris builds that into its technology, making it ideal for businesses embarking on transformation projects.

Performance is a key driver in most business modernisation and transformation projects, and this is where an Oracle SPARC infrastructure comes into its own. Core and processor performance is high, but also specific features like Software in Silicon ensure faster enterprise apps too.

We talked about ensuring a clear path to the cloud, and Oracle SPARC does just that. The same infrastructure that can be deployed on premises now in SPARC servers is used in the Oracle Cloud, meaning any investment made now will not need to be made again when moving to the cloud. Moving a legacy infrastructure to the Oracle cloud is easy, by upgrading first to SPARC then seamlessly to the cloud, with no need to change applications again, no database downtime, no gaps in security, and no new management skills to learn.

Don’t let a fear of modernisation hold you back. Oracle SPARC can ease the transition from legacy to transformational and beyond, without huge investments and without compromising on performance or security.

Useful Links

The Changing Face of Data Security 2019 Thales Data Threat Report

5 Five Reasons to Modernise your Data Centre with Oracle SPARC

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