cloud based solutions birmingham

4 Questions you must answer when choosing Oracle infrastructure

Your organisation may have committed its IT operational future to Oracle – but that is just part of the challenge. Now you must select infrastructure that delivers optimal performance for your Oracle estate.

Here are four questions to answer that will help you make the smartest choice as you consider your options.

1. How will the infrastructure be deployed?

Oracle applications are often just as ‘at home’ in the cloud as they are on-premise – or in a hybrid combination of both. There are distinct benefits for each physical location and you need to choose the deployment option that best suits your goals.

Ultimate performance and control are found with on-premise deployments – scalability and provisioning simplicity in the cloud. Hybrid provides a little of both.

What you hope to achieve will determine where your Oracle infrastructure should be located.

2. Will the solution stimulate innovation?

Digital transformation is intended to help an organisation better apply data to their business challenges. But as the name implies, change empowered by innovation is critical.

Your Oracle infrastructure must enable and encourage innovation so that your business has a platform on which to build new services and processes. And it needs to be able to do so more quickly, efficiently and cost-effectively to head off your better-provisioned competitors.

3. Will the solution deliver a consistent customer experience?

An exceptional customer experience now sits at the heart of business success. The better the experience, the happier your customers are, and the more likely they are to return.

The experience has to be excellent every single time. And it’s not just external customers either – your employees also need timely access to information and applications to increase productivity and speed of business.

All of this means you need Oracle infrastructure that is performant, stable and reliable.

4. Will the solution make operations simpler (and cheaper)?

Infrastructure complexity creates technical debt as ‘keeping the lights’ on consumes more of your budget every year. Worse still, technical debt reduces the cash available for investment in strategic projects that will help your business grow.

As you plan for the future, choose Oracle infrastructure that simplifies operations to reduce the total cost of ownership. Making the right strategic choice now will provide more opportunities for growth and innovation in future. Not only will you free up more of your budget for strategic spending, but you will also release more of your people to focus on growth-related projects too.

As you consider the future of your Oracle infrastructure, answering these four questions will help you select the best platform for your needs. In our next article, we’ll look at some of the key reasons why choosing Oracle infrastructure matters for stimulating innovation.

Until then, feel free to contact the WTL team team for further guidance – we’re always happy to help!

Solaris Managed Service West Midlands

Running A SPARC/Solaris Environment? Then “Do Nothing” Isn’t An Option.

If your organisation is running a legacy SPARC/Solaris environment, it is tempted to leave things as they are. You know what the shortcomings of these systems are – and how to work around them.

But to simply ‘ignore’ issues is a false economy. Inefficient operations are a drain on financial and technical resources, adding to the cost of the legacy environment – a concept that Gartner calls ‘technical debt’.

Resolve the issues

Replacing a legacy operating environment is costly and disruptive – both good reasons for delaying a migration. But this is not to say that a legacy SPARC platform should remain entirely untouched.

If outright replacement is not yet an option, your business should be looking at ways to optimise the environment. This will ensure your systems (and processes) are running at their very best – and that bottlenecks and outages can be resolved to maximise efficiency and better contain costs.

Build a roadmap

Extended support for Solaris 10 will be withdrawn in January 2024. This creates a relatively narrow window for businesses to decide what happens next. At the most basic level are three choices:

1. Do nothing

2. Upgrade to Solaris 11, (possibly as a Solaris 10 Container running on the new OS)

3. Migrate to an alternative database/application

In reality, option 1 is not an option at all – particularly for mission-critical workloads. The increased risk presented by an unsupported OS is simply unacceptable. This means that your business needs to develop a SPARC/Solaris strategy – even if that is to permanently retire those systems.

A chance to get ahead

Developing a SPARC / Solaris 10 strategy offers you a chance to bring your overall IT estate back on track:

Optimising performance and operations to reduce running costs, freeing up the budget for investment in other strategic projects.

Planning an upgrade and migration path ensures you escape the technical debt trap, paying over the odds to maintain an officially unsupported operating environment.

Hardware resources can be redeployed for non-mission critical tasks, maximising return on investment without compromising your line of business operations.

Resources can be consolidated or retired, reducing costs of operations, licensing and support. Again, the money saved can be reinvested in strategic projects elsewhere.

With careful planning, you can realise a greater return from your ageing SPARC infrastructure – even if that is by simply retiring it.

Get help

It is not uncommon for a business to lack direction with their older SPARC / Solaris 10 systems. A major upgrade can be costly and risky – particularly if you lack the requisite skills in-house. Where this is the case, do not hesitate to seek external assistance – particularly as time is running out to define a workable strategy.

To learn more about your post-Solaris 10 options and what they mean for your SPARC/Solaris environment give the WTL team a team a call today.

IT server management Birmingham & West MIdlands

Oracle SPARC – not just another server

As we have discussed previously, Oracle SPARC servers are definitely not the lowest cost – but they do offer an exceptional return on investment . Here are three more factors to consider when planning the future of your Oracle operating environment.

1. Security on chip

Given that security is now a strategic priority, the CTO is under increasing pressure to ensure data is secured at every touchpoint. Oracle SPARC CPUs use the unique Software in Silicon technology to accelerate cryptography, reducing latency and overheads when dealing with encrypted data.

SPARC processors also offer Silicon Secured Memory, a capability for detecting and preventing invalid operations. The CPU monitors software access to memory, automatically identifying and blocking buffer overflows and similar malware attacks designed to exploit application vulnerabilities.

Operating at the very core of your server, SPARC CPUs will strengthen your overall security posture.

2.  More scalability, less complexity

Oracle SPARC servers offer exceptional potential for expansion as your computing loads increase. With support for up to 384 CPU cores and 48TB of memory, you can scale capacity without carrying out a full upgrade or replacement program.

By consolidating servers and workloads, you can also reduce the overall complexity of your data centre. Fewer physical units mean lower maintenance overheads and staffing requirements, offering long-term savings without compromising on the performance of your databases and applications.

At a time when the speed of operations is a competitive advantage, reducing complexity offers distinct benefits.

3. Guaranteed legacy application support

Even in the age of the cloud, legacy applications remain fundamental to operations. As such, they are an important factor in strategic infrastructure planning.

Oracle SPARC servers can help to reduce some of that uncertainty with the Oracle Solaris Binary Guarantee Program . This long-running commitment from Oracle ensures that current applications will run unchanged on new SPARC systems. You can be sure that upgrading your server hardware will not break your legacy applications – and you should realise a performance boost too.

Importantly, this guarantee means that software does not need to be redeveloped or recompiled; if it ran on a previous version of Solaris, it will run on the latest version too. If you do encounter problems with a legacy application on a new SPARC server, help is available.

Planning for a performant, secure, backwards-compatible future

Upgrading to the newest Oracle SPARC server family is an intelligent investment for the future. Fully optimised for Oracle workloads, SPARC systems offer unbeatable performance, particularly for Oracle database applications.

And with security integrated at the chip level, your operations are more resistant to hacking and malware. In this way, SPARC systems improve the overall resilience of your operations.

The value of the Application Binary Guarantee should not be underestimated either. Although the CTO would prefer to retire legacy applications entirely, this is not feasible in most cases. So being able to guarantee full compatibility with new hardware is an extremely valuable strategic benefit.

To learn more about the latest family of Oracle SPARC servers and how they will help your business achieve more, please get in touch.

Why Oracle SPARC for your Data Centre

Why Oracle SPARC still has a place in your data centre

Despite the general trend towards cloud computing, there will almost always be a need for onsite data storage and processing. Given that hardware ages at the same time as stakeholders become increasingly demanding, you will inevitably need to refresh your data centre hardware periodically.

So why should you choose Oralce SPARC systems instead of cheaper, generic servers?

A perfectly optimised technology stack

Oracle SPARC servers are admittedly not suitable (or necessary) for every IT environment. But when it comes to running Oracle databases, it would be a serious investment mistake not to choose SPARC.

Every SPARC system has been designed and optimised for Oracle workloads. The M7 processor has been tuned to handle transactional workloads and data analytic workloads simultaneously – in real-time – for maximum performance. In addition to superior speed, SPARC systems offer seamless security that protects the entire stack, from bare metal through OS and applications.

Meeting the challenge of legacy applications

For well-established businesses, legacy applications are essential to operations – otherwise, they would have been replaced. These applications pre-date the cloud and may rely on now-redundant technologies. To stay in operation may normally require a rebuilding infrastructure from scratch at a significant cost.

Oracle SPARC servers provide a platform capable of supporting legacy applications and delivers a much-needed performance/security boost. The performance gains are complemented by lower cost of deployment and an increase in overall security thanks to the close integration of hardware and software.

Easing your transition to the cloud

Even as you refresh your data centre, you will also be planning the future of your data operations. As mentioned earlier, the cloud will almost certainly factor in your strategy, so it makes sense to consider how to smooth the transition when you are ready to begin the migration.

The Oracle SPARC Cloud Service is built using the same technology as SPARC servers deployed in on-premise data centres. Which means that any systems you build now will be fully compatible with Oracle Cloud. Future migration projects will be both quicker and cheaper because code will not require significant re-engineering to take advantage of the hosted platform.

In fact, SPARC users can simply extend their environment into Oracle Cloud using the dedicated compute service that has been built for precisely this purpose.

Investing in on-premise SPARC servers is an investment in the future

With the prevalence of “cloud-first” strategies, it seems that the era of the on-premise data centre is in decline. But as demand for exceptional computing speed and real-time processing accelerates, your choice of local servers becomes even more important.

Thanks to the full-stack optimisation of SPARC servers and the seamless workload cloud transitioning functionality, investment in an Oracle environment will deliver more benefits for longer. If nothing else, your business buys time to solidify its future cloud strategy and enjoys superior performance and security in the interim.

To learn more about your SPARC server options SPARC and the advantages available to your business. If you are looking to define a long-term strategy for your SPARC enviroment our  latest infographic  looks at some of the opitons and questions you should be asking.

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