Cloud. What a wonderful word. Wonderful and gray.
If you are involved in the Oracle Community, blogs and conferences, you certainly care about it and have perhaps your own conception of it or ideas about how to implement it.
My Collaborate 2015 RAC SIG experience
During the last Collaborate Conference, I’ve “tried” to animate the traditional RAC SIG Round-Table with this topic:
In the last few years, cloud computing and infrastructure optimization have been the leading topics that guided the IT innovation. What’s the role of Oracle RAC in this context?
During this meeting leading RAC specialists, product managers, RAC SIG representatives and RAC Attack Ninjas will come together and discuss with you about the new Oracle RAC 12c features for the private cloud and the manageability of RAC environments.
Join us for the great discussion. This is your chance to have a great networking session!
Because it’s the RAC SIG meeting, most of the participants DO HAVE a RAC environment to manage, and are looking for best practices and ideas to improve it, or maybe they want to share their experiences.
I’ve started the session by asking how many people are currently operating a private cloud and how many would like to implement it.
With my biggest surprise (so big that I felt immediately uncomfortable), except one single person, nobody raised the hand.
I’ve spent a very bad minute, I was almost speechless. I was actually asking myself: “is my conception of private cloud wrong?”. Then my good friend Yury came in help and we started the discussion about the RAC features that enable private cloud capabilities. During those 30 minutes, almost no users intervened. Then Oracle Product Managers (RAC, ASM, QoS, Cloud) started explaining their point of view, and I suddenly realized that
when talking about Private Cloud, there is a huge gap between the Oracle Private Cloud implementation best practices and the small customers skills and budgets.
When Oracle product managers talk about Private Cloud, they target big companies and advice to plan the infrastructure using:
- Full-pack of options for a total of 131k per CPU:
- Enterprise Edition (47.5k)
- Multitenant (17.5k)
- Real Application Clusters (23k)
- Partitioning (11.5k)
- Diagnostic Pack (7.5k)
- Tuning Pack (5k)
- Lifecycle Management Pack (12k)
- Cloud Management Pack (7.5k)
- Flex Cluster
- Policy Managed Databases
- Quality of Services Management
- Rapid Home provisioning
- Enterprise Manager and DBaaS Self Service portal
The CapEx needed for such a stack is definitely a show stopper for most small-medium companies. And it’s not only about the cost. When I gave my presentation about Policy Managed Databases at Collaborate in 2014, and later about Multitenant and MAA at Open World, it was clear that “almost” nobody (let’s say less than 5%, just to give an idea) uses these new technologies. Many of them are new and, in some cases, not stable. Notably, Multitenant and QoS are not working together as of now. Qos will work with the new resource manager at PDB level only in release 12.2 (and still not guaranteed).
For the average company (or the average DBA), there is more than enough to be scared about, so private cloud is not seen as easy to implement.
So there’s no private cloud solution for SMBs?
It really depends on what you want to achieve, and at which level.
Based on my experience at Trivadis, I can say that you can achieve Private Cloud for less. Much less.
What a Private Cloud should guarantee? According to its NIST definition,
five four things:
- On-demand self-service.
Broad network access.
- Resource pooling.
- Rapid elasticity.
- Measured service.
Number 5 is a clear field of EM, and AWR Warehouse new feature may be of great help, for free (but still, you can do a lot on your own with Statspack and some scripting if you are crazy enough to do it without Diagnostic pack).
Numbers 3 and 4 are a peculiarity of RAC, and they are included in the EE+RAC license. By leveraging OVM, there are very good opportunities of savings if the initial sizing of the solution is a problem. With OVM you can start as small as you want.
Number 1 depends on standards and automation already in place at your company. Generally speaking, nowadays scripting automatic provisioning with DBCA and APEX is very simple. If you’re not comfortable with coding, tools like the Trivadis Toolbox make this task easier. Moreover, nobody said that the self-service provisioning must be done through a web interface by the final user. It might be (and usually is) triggered by an event, like the creation of a service request, so you can keep web development outside of your cloud.
Putting all together
You can create a basic Private Cloud that fits perfectly your needs without spending or changing too much in your RAC environment.
Automation doesn’t mean cost, you can do it on your own and keep it simple. If you need an advice, ideas or some help, just drop me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org), it would be great to discuss about your need for private cloud!
Things can be less complex than what we often think. Our imagination is the new limit!