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Journey to the cloud

The Challenges You Face in your Journey to the Cloud

With demand for IT capacity and features outpacing budgets, cloud services offer a helpful alternative to expanding the on-premise data centre. As such, almost every business will be moving at least some of their workload into the cloud in the near future.

Although vendors expend a lot of time and effort to simplify this process, you will still encounter challenges along the journey to the cloud. Here are five to be aware of.

1. Realising new performance gains

Not all cloud services are the same – as evidenced by the increasingly complex platform choices and pricing structures. This means that you need to carefully define workload requirements and specify a cloud platform that is capable of delivering maximum performance – otherwise you will never realise the true value of your investment.

For workload specific operations, like Oracle databases, it makes sense to choose a platform provided by the software vendor wherever possible. Not only will you benefit from maximum compatibility, but the platform will have already been optimised for your workload to deliver maximum performance.

2. Controlling costs

For many organisations, initial migration involves little more than replicating their existing environment in the cloud. But there are two problems with the ‘lift n shift’ approach.

First, all of the existing limitations, bottlenecks and failures of your on-premise applications will be replicated in the cloud. You gain almost nothing tangible from the move.

Second, your systems are not optimised for the pay-as-you use billing model employed by cloud providers. Every CPU cycle and gigabyte of storage and RAM is billable, so you need to ensure you do not use more than you need. Otherwise you pay for resources you are not ‘using’, limiting the cost-saving potential of your cloud deployment.

To avoid over-paying, you may need to re-architect applications and services to adapt to the new cloud operating model.

3. Public, Private or Hybrid?

Cloud providers are keen to stress the security of their multi-tenant environments – but they may still be inappropriate for your most sensitive workloads. In some cases, this may mean moving towards a private cloud solution that offers the same resource flexibility as a public cloud platform.

Most commonly, businesses choose to split workload between their on-premise data centre and the cloud to build a hybrid solution. This offers the greatest control over sensitive data while allowing them to tap into the power and flexibility of the cloud for other workloads.

4. Legacy technologies

Mature businesses may be heavily reliant on legacy systems that were designed and deployed before the cloud was even a concept. As a result, they cannot easily be migrated to a cloud platform – if at all.

Rather than trying to force these old systems onto a hosted platform – and undertaking the required re-engineering work – businesses may be better advised to invest in building new APIs to interface with other cloud-based applications.

5. Compliance and sovereignty

Another issue to consider is the physical location where your data is being stored while hosted in the cloud. Industry regulations or legal requirements (like GDPR) may prohibit data being transferred to certain jurisdictions.

Because cloud services often rely on a global network of data centres to maintain performance and availability, it may be that your data is transferred automatically to an unauthorised location. As such you must confirm where a provider’s data centres are located and whether you may run into issues of sovereignty by using their service.

Conclusion

Like any major IT project, cloud adoption can be extremely complicated. The five issues outlined here are just some of the challenges you face in your journey to the cloud, so you should speak to a cloud expert before proceeding.

To learn more about how best to manage your Oracle databases and for hel; in your journey to the cloud, please give us a call.

Oracle Cloud Services Five Stars

Not all cloud services are equal – 5 reasons to choose Oracle

Billed as the ultimate flexible IT infrastructure, cloud services should be a completely vanilla platform. In theory, there should be almost nothing but price, service and data centre location to differentiate between services.

The truth is that not all cloud services are created equal. Amazon Web Services may be the industry leader in terms of sales volume, but that doesn’t make it the ideal choice for every application. This is particularly true for Oracle database users.

Here are five reasons why you should choose Oracle cloud for your next hosted infrastructure project.

1. Optimised for Oracle workloads

Your Oracle applications can (in theory) run on any of the available cloud services platforms. But unless you choose Oracle cloud, it will never run optimally. Oracle Cloud Infrastructure has been designed from the ground up for Oracle customers, ensuring that hardware, OS and software work together in harmony for maximum performance.

With support for Oracle databases of up to 40 terabytes, you can recognise the full potential of cloud scalability. Using 51.2TB NVMe instances (the largest available from any provider), you can support millions of I/O operations per second for the most demanding applications. And Oracle Cloud Infrastructure clustering enables near-instantaneous fail-over for high availability operations.

2. A completely integrated technology stack

Oracle remains the only provider to offer a complete technology stack that includes IaaS, PaaS and SaaS. Bare metal servers, operating systems and enterprise-class databases and applications work in sync to deliver a true Oracle experience.

By adopting what they call a “second-generation” approach to cloud services, Oracle cloud is faster and more predictable. And because your team is already familiar with the Oracle technology stack, you’ll find it easier to control your costs too.

3. Oracle technology for an Oracle future

“First-generation” cloud platforms are marked by the piecemeal way in which services are developed and integrated. Most began as a vanilla platform, only adding security functionality and migration tools as the need arose. This means that customers using first-generation services often need to re-engineer their systems as the underlying platform evolves.

Oracle’s second-generation design approach means that core-to-edge security, governance and performance have all been built-in from the start. Oracle customers have everything they need to build future-ready applications now – and avoid additional re-engineering overheads.

4. Security by design

Oracle Cloud Infrastructure addresses many of the challenges associated with multi-tenant platforms with core-to-edge protections including customer isolation, data security, internal-threat detection, and highly automated threat remediation. Your data is completely isolated from other Oracle customers to ensure you meet your regulatory and moral obligations to customers and employees.

External attacks are mitigated with layers of defence including built-in firewalls, DDoS and encryption to detect and block incoming threats. You also have the option to overlay adaptive and/or multi-factor authentication to protect trusted user credentials.

5. Simplified migration

Optimising your applications for the cloud may require significant redevelopment to avoid spiralling pay-as-you-use costs. But because Oracle Cloud Infrastructure uses an almost identical code base and technology to your existing on-premises systems, there is virtually no re-coding or re-engineering required at all.

This offers several benefits. First, your DevOps team are already familiar with the environment, helping to reduce and shorten the learning curve. Second, the time to deployment is reduced, allowing you to make the move to the cloud more quickly. Third, you can begin cloud-based operations more quickly, reducing time to ROI.

Saving time and money

For existing Oracle database customers, choosing Oracle cloud is a no-brainer. Reduced deployment costs, optimised application and database performance and a future-ready platform will help your business reach its strategic goals faster.

These are just 5 reasons to choose Oracle Cloud. In our next blog, we focus on five more reasons why if you are running Oracle – Oracle Cloud should be your platform of choice.

Oracle Solaris Operating System

Why Oracle Solaris is the ideal operating system for your Oracle Database

The adoption of SaaS and subscription-based systems has helped many firms reduce costs by building vendor-agnostic best-of-breed solutions tailored to their specific operational needs. This development has certainly helped to increase IT flexibility, but it may have come at a cost to performance.

Yes, cloud-based platforms offer unrestricted growth and scalable resource assignment – but they are not typically tuned to the demands of specific workloads. Technologies like AI and IoT and 5G rely on real-time processing – the faster the better. With Oracle Solaris running your Oracle Database, you’ll have the agility to take advantage of these technological innovations. Benefiting from a flexible infrastructure that can easily scale as demand increases and allow you to set your own pace for moving to a multi-cloud environment.

So, as you plan for a more agile, faster future, it may be time to re-evaluate your Oracle set-up.

Operating systems still matter

Without an up-to-date, modern operating system, your infrastructure could be prone to system outages and potential data loss. Creating extra work for your IT team firefighting problems when they should be focusing on other business-critical tasks.

When using Oracle Database, it makes sense to use the full Oracle technology stack – including the Solaris operating system. Even before Oracle acquired Sun, resources were being allocated to ensure maximum performance from SPARC-based hardware running Solaris. The result of these efforts is several significant benefits:

Maximised hardware returns

The latest Solaris offers superior virtualisation functionality over generic alternatives. Oracle Solaris Containers are optimised for SPARC hardware, allowing you to operate several Solaris 11 virtual machines on a single physical server for maximum resource utilisation – and return on investment.

The Containers also offer a future for your legacy systems if required. Applications and workloads can be migrated onto the newest Solaris hardware to improve performance and increase resilience.

Granular OS analysis

Optimising code and application configurations help to provide a performance gain – as does tweaking the underlying operating system. But unlike most OSs, Solaris does away with the trial-and-error approach by delivering actionable insights direct to your systems administrators.

Oracle Solaris StatsStore automatically monitors the full technology stack, generating valuable performance statistics and isolating potential issues early. These granular insights dramatically shorten the troubleshooting process and can also be used to better direct your efforts to optimise the performance of your Oracle databases.

Automation goes beyond analysis too. Solaris ships with all the tools you need to manage the full software lifecycle – including a stack diagnosis facility. This automatically checks for software faults – including the database engine – and suggests potential fixes.

Improved security

Solaris 11 has been designed to boost security at every point of the IT lifecycle, from design to build, test and ongoing maintenance. The OS also offers a built-in framework to ensure that your database operations are fully logged to assist with proving compliance with security standards like PCI DSS and HIPAA.

Defence-in-depth technologies further protect your Oracle databases by preventing cybercriminals from attacking your systems. Without the ability to establish command and control, accessing data becomes almost impossible for unauthorised users.

Enhanced data management functionality

As well as being resilient, Solaris has been built to protect the integrity of your data. The native ZFS file system offers near-zero administration to reduce the burden on sysadmins and DBAs. Advanced file system and volume management capabilities give even greater control of your technology stack – and the overall performance of your Oracle databases.

Oracles Commitment to The Future

To reduce the complexities and cost of systems upgrades Oracle Solaris now follows a continues delivery model. So, since the launch of Oracle Solaris 11 customers no longer have to go through time-consuming upgrades to gain the latest features and capabilities. Instead, you get them as a simple update, included in your Solaris subscription. Which means less work for you, less disruption to your business, and constant reassurance that you have the latest features and security coverage.

Oracle are also committed to offering support for Solaris 11 until at least 2031 under Oracle Premier Support. And if you get Oracle Extended Support, you’re covered until 2034. This all means that you can count on the latest system enhancements for years to come, and your investment is fully protected.

WTL are Solaris and Linux specialist, with the skills and knowledge required to support customers’ heterogeneous environments, both on and off premises.

We offer a Solaris Heath Check that is designed identify and address configuration, updates, security, and performance problems you might be experiencing.

Ready to get more from your Oracle Databases with Oracle Solaris. Give us a call today.

Oracle on Oracle Maximises Database Performance

Oracle on Oracle, the solution to ultimate database performance

Designing a future-ready infrastructure will require a careful balance of hardware, infrastructure and connectivity. This is particularly true when dealing with the increased volume of data generated by IoT, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, social media and other sources.

To ensure optimal database performance – and to reduce management overheads – it may be preferable to consolidate around a specific technology stack. Oracle has created a range of products that automate database, storage and network component provisioning but even this functionality is unlikely to fully cope with the future of your data.

Increasing database autonomy

Databases sit at the heart of digital transformation efforts, so they must perform optimally. This is particularly true as you move towards real-time computing and processes that require split-second access to information.

With the advent of cloud technologies, the issue of “infinite” capacity has been resolved. But the choice of technology will define whether your database can take full advantage of that capability.

Using Oracle systems on Oracle cloud introduces a high degree of autonomy into your environment. As well as scaling in line with data growth, the system using machine learning to automate many common administrative tasks. The database engine can apply security patches, address node failures (self-healing) and assign additional compute resources when required.

Transformational autonomy

With the Oracle database platform carrying out administrative tasks unattended, your business has an opportunity to divert resources and funds into other strategic processes. Using a single technology stack – Oracle – means that the platform can self-optimise and deliver better performance and cost control than similar database engines running on vanilla AWS cloud.

As operations accelerate, the role of DBA will also change. Rather than simply maintaining the database, responsibilities will become more closely aligned with wider business strategy.

What does Oracle on Oracle offer?

Oracle is unique in that they are the only provider to offer IaaS, PaaS and SaaS in a second-generation cloud platform. This means that complex enterprise-class applications can be deployed in a single technology stack, immediately reducing the latency inherent in multi-platform systems.

Importantly, Oracle cloud is optimised specifically for Oracle workloads. Existing Oracle users can take advantage of the bundled tools to simplify migration from on-premise installations to the cloud.

These modest performance gains will help to accelerate processes, reduce costs – and even deliver advantages over competitors who do not use the same Oracle on Oracle stack. And by avoiding AWS, firms running Oracle databases will realise a 66% cost reduction, freeing funds for investment in other strategic projects.

Every detail of the Oracle cloud platform is fully optimised for Oracle database operations – and the use of autonomous technologies throughout ensures that systems continue to deliver ongoing performance improvements.

Edge Computing is neeeded to copy with the amount of data generated

Life on The Edge – The Benefits of Edge Computing

In the first of the “Living on the Edge” blog series we discussed the challenges faced by organisations embracing IoT and similar technologies. These barriers are not insurmountable – and the benefits for doing so are considerable. In this second instalment we outline some of the reasons why your business should be investing in edge computing.

Facilitate true autonomy

Automating production lines has been instrumental in helping to reduce costs and maximise output. But most systems are only capable of operating according to a narrow set of pre-defined rules.

Industry 4.0 demands that automation is not only quicker, but also smarter. By moving data processing capabilities to the edge, it becomes possible to implement real-time autonomy.

Autonomous systems are not only faster, but with the application of machine learning can be trained to make “intelligent” decision.

Improve production quality

By removing humans from the equation, autonomous systems are not only faster, but also more consistent. There is far less potential for human error to affect output.

This is nothing new; consider automation of production lines which was a hallmark of the original Industrial Revolution. What has changed is the introduction of autonomy using computing at the edge.

Consistently high-quality output, increased efficiency and faster decision making will help to reduce costs and increase margins.

Better manage data growth

IoT sensors generate enormous amounts of data, placing additional pressure on your network and storage infrastructure. Processing incoming data at the edge allows you to not only action information in real time, but also to better manage what happens next.

With edge computing you can decide whether data is passed back into back-end systems for further processing analysis, archived to the cloud or discarded entirely. Managing data at the edge will help to constrain data growth by ensuring information is moved to the most appropriate location.

Avoid downtime and production bottlenecks

Sensors provide real time insights into system health – but the data they generate can also be analysed to reveal trends over the longer term. Edge computing provides a mechanism to identify the early warning signs of an impending system failure for instance.

These insights can then be used to proactively schedule maintenance cycles for instance. Rather than delaying repairs and inspections until it is too late, you can carry out a maintenance routine that prevents a full system failure and actually improves operations and out in advance.

Realise your data-driven ambitions

Digital transformation is fully reliant on the way that your business handles and actions data. Edge computing provides real-time autonomy at the very point where your products are being produced or customers engaged.

Edge computing will also instrumental in helping you apply insights generated from other activities. Without the necessary systems at key interfaces, you will be unable to properly action the findings of your big data analytics efforts. With the right edge computing infrastructure in place, these benefits (and more) become available to almost any business.

Useful Links

Seagate optimizes manufacturing with edge computing and AI analytics

Refinery of the future: Texmark Chemicals transforms the way it does business

CenterPoint Energy: Smart energy, fuelled by data

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