Oracles cloud based solutions in Birmingham & the West MIdlands

Next Generation Cloud – Why you should be looking at Oracle

There is no doubt that the use of cloud technology is no longer just about cost and capacity, or cheap servers and storage. Analysts Forrester said it’s about using the best platform to turn innovative ideas into software quickly. Taking innovation to market fast is what sets businesses apart from their competitors, and the cloud is the best way to do that. It’s no longer a destination, it is an operating model. Public cloud usage is growing in 2019, while private cloud use declined, according to Flexera’s annual State of the Cloud* report, the largest survey on the use of cloud infrastructure which focuses on cloud buyers and users. In addition to the public cloud adoption rates rising, enterprise organisations are planning on spending more on public cloud, 24% more than in 2018 and 50% of enterprises surveyed are already spending around £1m annually. Whilst there may still be concerns around the flexibility and performance capabilities of the public cloud for enterprise grade applications, there are emerging public cloud providers that are building clouds which has been specifically designed for enterprise applications and databases. These next-generation public clouds have the tools and utilities needed by developers to build new cloud native and mobile apps, on a single, unified platform and networking fabric.

Oracle’s next-generation public cloud infrastructure offers the flexibility and performance levels that can rival those found in high performance computing environments on premises, alongside support for Oracle applications and developer tools that allow new applications to be created.

Oracle Cloud Infrastructure is ideal for any workload, whether that is DevTesting in the cloud, of new applications or customisations, validating patches, or testing technologies like containers or methodologies like continuous integration and continuous delivery.

Oracle Cloud is not just for testing however, enterprises can run production environments here with confidence. Bare metal options enable exceptional levels of performance and Real Application Clusters and load balancing can ensure high availability.

For customers that just want to use the cloud for backup and DR purposes, Oracle’s next-generation public cloud is ideal, with its resilient, secure and highly available storage and integration with virtual machines and automation features.

Businesses that aren’t planning on replacing their on-premises infrastructure with cloud infrastructure can seamlessly extend into the Oracle Cloud using a VPN or FastConnect. A great way of maximising investment into on-premises infrastructure.

But why would businesses choose Oracle Cloud over platforms like AWS or Azure? In a research paper by DAO Research, findings showed that businesses prioritised the support and breadth of solutions offered by a cloud vendor, often over the technology features found in each tier. Oracle ranks highly with its comprehensive offering across all tiers, coupled with strong expertise and support offerings.

At the same time customers are looking for simply priced and transparent solutions with no hidden costs, which minimise complexity. Oracle meets the brief, with a transparent, straightforward pricing and service structure which allows for charge-backs. This is often a necessity for global organisations.

Oracle provides enterprise grade performance and resilience, ideal for the large volume, production environment database-driven workloads and applications that are prevalent in larger organisations. The familiar tools and interfaces of Oracle databases and applications are a big draw for customers.

The DevOps capabilities and cloud native design of Oracle Cloud is designed to support advanced  capabilities such as microservices, containers, mobile, analytics and low code development, alongside traditional enterprise applications. This versatility sets Oracle apart from the main competitors and its integrated developer tools remove the DIY element of developing in the public cloud.

For customers looking at hybrid cloud strategies, and it is worth noting that Flexra reports an increase from 51% in 2018 to 58% in 2019 of enterprises with a hybrid cloud strategy, Oracle is well placed to support businesses with the same technology, standards, skillsets and tooling for Oracle Cloud that is used with on-premises Oracle deployments.

Oracle itself predicts that businesses are moving towards a 100% cloud deployment model, and that only cloud providers that can enable highly complex workloads and mission critical applications, with the utmost levels of security, control and continuity will be suitable platforms for 100% data centre replacement projects.

Useful Links

Oracle Cloud Predictions 2019

Oracle Cloud Infrastructure – Cloud Essentials

ODAO Research White Paper – Next Generation Cloud Delivers Enterprise Scale

Flexera 2019 State of the Cloud Survey

Oracle's Cloud Based Solution for applications in Birmingham and the West Midlands

An Enterprise Cloud for any Application

As you probably know, cloud adoption rates are high, with public cloud adoption rates higher than private cloud and many organisations planning a multi cloud strategy. Rightscale’s 2019 State of the Cloud Report found 94% of respondents were using cloud services, 91% have adopted public cloud and 72% private cloud. 69% use at least one public and one private cloud.

But what are the main use cases for cloud and how can businesses find the right cloud for their requirements?

Many businesses use the cloud for a specific application or workload first, then gradually move more. Application development and testing is well suited, as is big data analytics, because of the cloud’s burstable nature. Backup, archiving, DR and high availability can be run simply and reliably. For businesses that need to refresh infrastructure or consolidate multiple applications, the cloud offers a flexible and viable option. Data warehousing requires capacity and scalability, making the cloud an obvious choice.

For most businesses, flexibility, security, performance, availability, cost and simplicity are high on the list of requirements of any cloud deployment, so how do they find all of these?

Oracle Cloud has all the answers.

Flexibility: Oracle Cloud provides customers with an end to end cloud offering, spanning infrastructure, platform and application layers, with integrated consumption models and centralised management. It is flexible and can be deployed as a private cloud, hybrid cloud or public cloud model, which are interchangeable. In fact, Oracle actively encourages a hybrid cloud approach, with pre-packaged applications and tools for rapid provisioning, migration, centralised management and integration.

With Oracle Cloud, applications run identically, whether deployed in the cloud or on premises. As a truly flexible cloud option, Oracle Cloud can run different operating systems and any application, not just Oracle applications. In addition, open standards mean IT teams can develop the integrations they need.

Security: Oracle Cloud is secure, with physical data centre access controls, data encryption, and a multi-layered security strategy which covers all layers of the technology stack. If public cloud really is a no-go for security or regulatory reasons, then Oracle Cloud at Customer is a truly unique option which allows customers to deploy an instance of Oracle Cloud Machine or Oracle Database Exadata Cloud on site. As a subscription model, the deployment is behind the customer’s firewall and Oracle handle installation, configuration, patching, lifecycle management, upgrades and monitoring. This fully managed cloud is secure, flexible, fast and cost effective, with options for offsetting on-premises licenses against the costs.

Performance: Oracle Cloud is an enterprise grade cloud, which offers bare metal options which allow applications to be configured to run on dedicated resources. For mission critical applications, Exadata cloud option ensures extreme performance.

Availability: Oracle offers a Maximum Availability Architecture which includes backup, Oracle Real Application Clusters and DR.

Cost: Cost reductions come from moving entire workloads to the cloud and retiring data centres, and from the elastic capacity offered by Oracle Cloud which facilitates cloud bursts without the need to over-provision. Oracle Cloud also provides the tools needed to migrate applications without the need to rewrite.

Simplicity: As you would expect, moving Oracle applications, such as E-Business Suite, JD Edwards, PeopleSoft, Siebel, Oracle Database and Oracle WebLogic Server from premises to cloud is straightforward. They can simply be repackaged for a seamless move to the cloud. Oracle also provides the tools to allow VMware and KVM workloads to be lifted and shifted to the cloud with no changes.

However, non-Oracle applications such as Microsoft Windows, IBM WebSphere, Tomcat, JBoss, SQL Server, DB2, Mongo DB, Cassandra, Postgres and Sybase can also be migrated to the cloud with ease.

Before any migration takes place, Oracle offers all the tools needed to estimate the resources organisations will need to maintain current SLAs. Performance management tools will identify and fix issues which could affect performance.

When it comes to the actual migration, Oracle offers cloning tools to seamlessly copy applications to the cloud. For businesses with zero tolerance for downtime, migration is possible with Oracle GoldenGate Cloud service, which uses real time data replication feature to move data in large quantities.

For new deployments, Oracle Enterprise Cloud allows organisations to reduce the steps involved in multitier application deployments, from an average 14 steps on premises, to just 6 steps. Oracle Cloud Marketplace also offers a set of pre-packaged applications for turnkey deployments.

Whilst it might not be as well known as AWS or Azure, Oracle Cloud has been built for the enterprise, with enterprise applications and workloads front and centre. It meets the needs of businesses and should not be overlooked.

Useful Links

Rightscale, 2019 State of the Cloud

Oracle Cloud – everything you need to know

Why Cloud?

It’s a well-publicised fact that cloud adoption is rising at a speedy rate, but why? Essentially, there are three main reasons customers adopt cloud. Firstly, they are looking at ways of reducing the cost and complexity of their on-premises infrastructure. Secondly they would like to accelerate IT delivery by using the cloud for specific projects and finally, they want to create versatile business models to gain a competition edge or disrupt the market.

We’ve all heard of the main public cloud providers, but Oracle Cloud is gaining popularity amongst enterprise customers for a number of reasons.

Why Oracle Cloud?

Oracle Cloud is a next-generation public cloud architected that has been designed specifically to run enterprise applications and databases. It is as elastic and flexible as the first-generation public clouds, but allows additional control, security, performance and predictability which rival those of an on premises deployment. In fact, alongside public cloud and hybrid cloud deployments, Oracle also offers an option called Oracle Cloud at Customer which allows customers to deploy Oracle cloud as a private cloud behind their own firewall.

Oracle’s native toolset enables developers to build their own next-generation, cloud native and mobile apps in the cloud, and allow them to run traditional enterprise apps alongside cloud native apps. Oracle cloud users can strip right back to the bare metal infrastructure to install the exact operating systems, middleware and databases they need.

The toolset includes migration tools to move existing apps to the cloud without the need to rearchitect the apps, even those that have been customised. With any migration we perform though, skilled consultants from WTL and Oracle are on hand for trickier applications.

High Performance

Customers with high performance computing workloads like crash tests, real time analytics, modelling insurance risks or testing new manufacturing materials can rest easy that Oracle cloud can handle the workloads. It offers powerful CPU options, massive memory capabilities and dense storage capacity.

High bandwidth, low latency networks connect servers to file, block and object storage resources making Oracle ideal for customers who need the highest levels of performance. In fact, it can perform up to 5 million I/O operations per second for the most demanding tasks.

But where could Oracle cloud be used to best effect? For customers looking for a DevTest cloud environment, Oracle cloud allows them to test new app versions, validate security patches and test cloud native architectures and features.

For customers using the cloud for production applications, the single tenant, high performance bare metal servers are ideal for high performance computing and are highly available because of the load balancing, real application clustering and multiple availability domains.

Some customers use Oracle cloud for their backup and DR processes, because of its built-in storage resiliency, availability and security and automated backup features.

Finally, Oracle is ideal for extending a serviceable on premises environment to the cloud, without decommissioning the legacy equipment. On premises infrastructure can be connect to the new cloud infrastructure with a VPN or FastConnect, for seamless movement between the two.

Security

With the use of cloud in enterprise computing comes much concern about security, so this is a key area of concern for Oracle. Users access Oracle cloud resources via Oracle Identity and Access Management technology which allows role-based access controls and granular allocation and auditing features. Access to specific cloud compartments can be granted per person, per project or per group, as needed for additional security.

The whole cloud infrastructure is built with security embedded at every level, and the whole environment is monitored and protected by a 24/7 network operation centre staffed by skilled security professionals.

All great features, but how is it different to first generation cloud vendor solutions? Oracle Cloud moves the virtualisation layer to the physical network, utilising what’s known as off box virtualisation and creating single tenant servers. Customers use a virtual cloud network which is isolated from other customers for added security.

Oracle cloud is not just great for Oracle applications, although of course it IS fully optimised to run Oracle enterprise databases and applications, it is ideal for any business running any mixed workloads, regardless of throughput or security requirements.

Useful Links

Oracle Cloud Infrastructure Purpose-Built for the Enterprise

Next-Generation Cloud Delivers Enterprise Scale

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.