RE: CEO's head in the Cloud

Sentrigo had a nice introductory presentation on the cloud by Jeremiah
Wilson last week:

Best Practices When Deploying Databases in the Cloud (go to
http://www.sentrigo.com/resources/events-webcasts, you will have to
register to download, but I have found them delightfully light on the
marketing of their products).

If you know little about the cloud, this may be a good place to start. 

Sarah

-----Original Message-----
From: oracle-l-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
[mailto:oracle-l-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Jeremiah Wilton
Sent: Wednesday, June 02, 2010 5:53 PM
To: moabrivers@xxxxxxxxx
Cc: oracle-l
Subject: Re: CEO's head in the Cloud

This sounds frustrating.

I will say that we work with many of our customers to deploy Oracle,  
including 11gR2 as well as E-business Suite on Amazon EC2.

The rationale your CEO gave (network speed) is probably based on two  
things:  Amazon has EC2 regions with physical presence in Northern  
California (US West), Northern Virginia (US East), Ireland (EU-West),  
and Singapore (APAC).  In addition, Amazon has a web CDN called  
CloudFront, with edge cache locations in many metropolitan areas  
around the world.

Of course the whole idea that you need to locate services close to  
users is predicated on: 1) There being a performance problem to begin  
with, 2) Network latency being the cause of the performance problem,  
and 3) The performance problem for these few users costing the company  
revenue or reputation in excess of the cost of the proposed fix.

The VM support issue is a bit of a red herring.  Oracle supports  
Oracle databases running on EC2. They just are not the support for  
EC2.  This is the same as for databases running on VMware or any other  
non-Oracle hypervisor.  In fact, if you want Oracle VM support from  
Oracle, I think you have to pay for that separately too. See
http://www.oracle.com/technology/tech/cloud/faq.html#support

The issue with EC2 not having an 11gR2 AMI is also not of importance.   
Those community AMIs are built by Oracle, and for production use, you  
would never use a community AMI (an OS build by someone you don't  
know).  You would build your own AMI, which is really simple to do.  
Oracle doesn't even need to be installed on the AMI. You can install  
Oracle on a, EBS block volume, create a snapshot and use the same  
install over and over again.

Usually the VP-level cloud-fetishism is driven by cost, not  
performance.  The CEO's performance assertion should be really easy to  
verify or disprove. All you have to do is run an EC2 instance wherever  
the CEO thinks the databases will run, then do some ping tests to the  
places he thinks the cloud will provide better network speeds.  This  
doesn't give bandwidth and latency numbers, but it sounds like  
empiricism doesn't really matter with this person.

The real objections to running Oracle on EC2 are mainly security  
concerns (mostly non-issues, but hard to satisfy auditors), and I/O  
performance (essentially all database I/O is over the single network  
interface on the instance to virtualized iSCSI-like storage volumes).   
These volumes do provide good performance, but there is a hard  
ceiling.  If your IOPS needs are greater than what is possible on  
striped EBS volumes, it is a nonstarter.

We generally start customers off with their test/dev system on EC2,  
since it represents a huge savings.  Prod is more challenging, but not  
out of the question.  You really just need to have a compelling cost/ 
benefit rationale and proof that Amazon can provide sufficient  
security, performance and availability characteristics.

Oh, and you cannot yet run RAC on EC2 (EBS volumes cannot be shared  
disk yet and there is only one NIC per instance).  There is a way to  
run RAC as a science-project on EC2, but it is not supported.

Don't write EC2 off, at peril of your own obsolescence.  On the other  
hand, don't just drink the cloud kool-aid.  Test, test, test. Good luck.

Regards,

Jeremiah Wilton
Blue Gecko, Inc.
http://www.bluegecko.net

On Jun 2, 2010, at 2:12 PM, LB wrote:

> My CEO just came back from a technology conference where his head  
> became filled with lots of ideas including the idea that we should  
> abandon our hosted datacenters and push everything into the Cloud,  
> specifically Amazon's.  A cursory review of the offerings for this  
> show that the databases are hosted on Amazon virtual machines that  
> aren't officially supported by Oracle and thus require a premium  
> support contract from Amazon.
>
> Aside from my personal feelings on the matter (that I'd much rather  
> have a tangible set of servers that are under direct control), what  
> are your pros/cons for pushing or not Production level OLTP  
> databases into the cloud.  I notice right now that they currently  
> only offer 11g1 on 64-bit an not 10g 64-bit or 11g2 64-bit so it  
> would appear they arent covering all of their bases.  Presently  
> we're RAC on 10.2.0.4 64 bit and use dataguard to a different  
> datacenter for geographic redundancy.  I note also that Amazon  
> doesnt support RAC instances at present.
>
> His driving push is that somehow Amazon's cloud will mean better  
> performance throughout the world as somehow the network throughput  
> will be magically enhanced so someone in Iraq will get the same  
> speed hitting the application as someone in California.  I don't  
> agree with that either but I dont have empirical proof.  Our  
> databases presently are highly available, highly optimized, and  
> highly redundant.  But, they aren't buzz word stamped "Cloud."  Sigh.

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