AT ORACLE: Interview
Support for Cloud ComputingBy Caroline Kvitka
Oracle licenses database, middleware, and management software for deployment in the cloud.
With Oracle’s recent announcement that customers can license Oracle software to run on Amazon Web Services’ Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) environment, Oracle Magazine Senior Managing Editor Caroline Kvitka sat down with Sushil Kumar, senior director of database availability, manageability, and performance at Oracle, to learn more. The following is an excerpt from that interview. Download a podcast of the full interview at oracle.com/magcasts.
Oracle Magazine: What is cloud computing and how is it being used today?
Kumar: Cloud computing enables users to tap into a virtually infinitely scalable pool of computing resources that reside somewhere on the internet and that can be provisioned programmatically from within an application and consumed on a global basis. In the cloud, you provision resources typically using Web services APIs, and you simply pay for what you use, when you use it.
Today’s cloud users consist mostly of developers and Web startups. So far, enterprises have been mostly sitting on the sidelines trying to figure out how they can benefit from cloud computing. Unlike developers and Web startups, enterprises need a more-robust cloud infrastructure in terms of security and availability. They also need enterprise software, something that they’re already using in their data center, to be available on the cloud from a licensing and support perspective.
Oracle Magazine: What cloud computing solutions is Oracle offering?
Kumar: Customers can now use their existing licenses for Oracle Database, Oracle Fusion Middleware, and Oracle Enterprise Manager on Amazon EC2—or they can buy new licenses—and get support. EC2 allows users to license virtual machines by the hour, with the prices ranging from 10 to 80 cents.
Oracle is providing virtual machine images tailored for Amazon’s environment and preconfigured with our software. This allows our customers to provision new servers and get Oracle software deployed, configured, and ready to use within a matter of minutes.
Oracle Magazine: How can developers benefit from Oracle’s cloud offering?
Kumar: Enterprises have a lot of test, development, and QA operations that need to be performed, as well as short-term proof-of-concept projects. Such projects typically get bottlenecked in IT because those departments don’t necessarily have the flexibility to rapidly respond.
Enabling developers and departments to directly provision a fully configured Oracle server to the cloud within a matter of minutes will expedite the application development process.
Oracle Magazine: How can DBAs benefit from this offering?
Kumar: We have announced Oracle Secure Cloud Module, based on Oracle Secure Backup, which allows our customers to use Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) as their off-site backup destination. Users pay by gigabyte of storage on a monthly basis. There are no up-front capital expenditures.
There are a number of benefits to using the storage cloud for backup. First, when you store something in the storage cloud, it’s a lot more accessible than on the tape. DBAs can therefore use backups stored in the cloud to restore data anytime, anywhere, without having to call anyone to ship the tapes. In many cases, it could significantly speed up the restore process. The on-demand accessibility opens up avenues for a lot more things. If you have your backup stored in the cloud, you can restore it to an EC2 machine and quickly create your test or development environment. Your data is not locked behind an iron curtain—it’s actually usable. And because storage clouds are based on disks, the disk-based backups are a lot more reliable than tapes.
Oracle Magazine: What role will cloud computing play in the enterprise?
Kumar: I expect the cloud infrastructure to become more and more robust and to see more enterprise-ready solutions made available on the cloud.
Caroline Kvitka is senior managing editor of Oracle Magazine.