Oracle’s Cloud Offering: DBaaS Part 2

posted February 6, 2015, 3:43 PM by

Jeff Stonacek, Principal Architect

Every major hardware and software vendor has a Cloud Computing offering nowadays.  Oracle Corporation is no different.  In part 1 of this series we provided a general overview of Cloud Computing.  In this segment, we will delve deeper into Database as a Service (DBaaS), specifically Oracle’s DBaaS model.

Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c – Cloud Services

Oracle’s DBaaS offering revolves around its Enterprise Manager suite of tools.  Oracle Enterprise Manager (OEM) has been around for a long time and Oracle has continued to improve and expand the functionality of the tooling.

OEM Packs
OEM is licensed by packs and each different pack does different things.  For DBaaS, the Oracle Cloud Management Pack is required.  The Cloud Management Pack requires licensing of the Database Lifecycle Management as well.

The OEM packs are licensed by the underlying hardware of any targets that are managed by OEM.  The calculation for number of licenses needed, in a CPU based licensing model, is number of processor cores of the target servers.

As of the time of this post, the costs for the DBaaS packs for OEM are as follows:

  • Lifecycle Management Pack – $12,000 per processor
  • Cloud Management Pack for Oracle Database – $5,000 per processor

As you can see, this is not a cheap solution.  So be sure to do your homework before embarking on the Oracle Cloud model.

OEM Cloud Services Hierarchy
Now that the bean counting is out of the way, let’s discuss the nuts and bolts of how Oracle implements DBaaS.

Zones
Anyone familiar with Solaris will recognize the term “zone”.  Oracle has reused this terminology with respect to DBaaS. From an OEM perspective, a zone is a way to segregate infrastructure resources for later consumption. This is conceptually similar to a Solaris Zone.   OEM refers to these as Platform as a Service (PaaS) infrastructure zones.  A zone can be a physical host, an Exadata compute node or an OVM virtual machine. Think of a zone as compute resources.

Pools
A pool is a specific resource that is assigned to a zone.  A pool resource is anything that allows for the running of a database – for example, the appropriate version and patch level of Oracle binaries.

A pool can be categorized in the following ways:

  • Pools for databases – resources needed to create a new database
  • Pools for a container database – used to plug in a tenant pluggable database (PDB)
  • Pools for a schema – old school database consolidation

 

Service Catalog Template
A service catalog template is a list of options available to the end consumer.  In this case, a service catalog could be:

  • DBCA Template for the building of a new database
  • RMAN backup of an existing database to be used for a clone
  • Schema level export to be used to clone a schema
  • Linked Clone operation to make a Change on Write clone of a database

 

These service catalog items are pre-defined and stored in OEM.  Consumers are granted access controls to zones and then are able to provision service catalog items.

Infrastructure as a Service
The main gap with regards to Cloud Computing in the Oracle model is lack of automation around Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS).  Oracle is pretty good at automating the provisioning of database resources once the infrastructure is up and running.  However, the process for standing up server resources is manual and typically requires substantial lead-time.  It is hard to imagine having spare Exadata capacity lying around waiting for future consumption.

By contrast, fully virtualized platforms like VMware have IaaS built in from the ground up.  VMware vSphere has full-featured template functionality built in as well as automated provisioning suites like vRealize to manage the Cloud Computing environment.

Conclusion

If you are fully committed to the Red Stack and are already invested heavily in OEM, then Oracle’s cloud service offering may be right for you.  If you have non-Oracle workloads to manage in your cloud environment, or are invested in non-Oracle infrastructure technologies, then it may be wise to look elsewhere.  Making the substantial financial investment into Oracle’s Cloud Management Suite will get you most of the way to automating your Red Stack, but not much else.

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