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image The last half of this year is being completely focused on cloud computing. Microsoft is focusing a lot of attention in this space and are focusing on setting up development centers around the world to assist customers in hosting logic and data centrally in the cloud to make use of for your global applications. It really is the next step in expansion of the Internet and is something that will be greatly adopted by organizations all over the world. There are some tricky areas that still have to be addressed. Especially in the area of private content and getting past the idea of allowing private content to be hosted by a third party. This is a scary thing for organizations to handle. Think about all the credit card numbers stolen from 3rd party web sites every year (this just happened to my card this week). The reason for this is quite simple - data is king. Data is the life blood of an organization and the thing that companies like to keep close to their chest. What is the point where companies will feel comfortable in moving this precious asset to a 3rd party to be hosted in the cloud? It will take some serious convincing and time for this to occur.

There will be trivial applications put forward first in cloud computing and their successes in the areas of responsiveness and security will hopefully pave the way for more fundamental applications to venture forward in this space.

I am at the Oracle conference in San Francisco and they are also touting cloud computing. They are not setting up something on their own and nothing as grandiose as Microsoft is doing, so they are partnering with Amazon and using the infrastructure that Amazon is providing. Amazon is really the first major player in cloud computing and Oracle is simply jumping on the boat to help them offer more enterprise-level offerings for cloud computing. They call this Oracle on EC2.

Oracle software can now be licensed for the cloud. You will be able to transfer your license to your cloud instance. They will do this in the following manner:

  • 0-4 virtual cores will equal 1 processor license (1 socket)
  • 4 virtual cores will equal 1 cpu

Some other notes with their operation with Amazon:

  • They will offer pre-configured virtual machine images
  • It consists of Oracle Enterprise Linux and Oracle DB and APEX applications
  • They will provide the fully configured hardware and Oracle environment in less than 30 minutes
  • They allow you to backup your database in the cloud
    • Oracle has created a secure backup cloud module that compresses and encrypts the backup and the backup is then on disc in the cloud. This is something that you have to license yourself for and you are licensed based on the the number of concurrent parallel streams (RMAN channels).

A lot of the tools that Oracle showed that you would use in configuring your cloud Oracle databases was non-Oracle tools - such as Putty Configuration. This is something that I found surprising. It seems that their focus was a lot more on the back-end integration with Amazon rather than a full blown out solution with a lot of investment from Oracle. It made me wonder how much they are investing in this. Do they see this as something that is good for the company and something they should dedicate a lot of attention to? Or is this something that they needed to answer in that all these other organizations are moving forward with and are making quite strategic in their immediate plans?

Backing up in the cloud and not being able to pull the data out of the cloud seems a big problem to me. Most enterprise organizations are going to want to get their physical hands on their own backups. It seems a way to trap an organization into a specific cloud vendor if you are locked into putting your disc-based cloud db backups in the same Amazon infrastructure. This won't fly with most organizations.

One thing that all this cloud computer discussions will bring forward is it will make many enterprise architects question the needs of cloud computing and also bring forth questions (for large organizations) of whether they should implement cloud computing within their own organizations rather than going to a third party to take care of the cloud computing implementation.

UPDATE (SEPT 26 2008): It seems that it is true that Oracle isn't putting much thought behind cloud computing. The Wall Street Journal's blog site has a post on Larry Ellison going on a 10 minute "rant" about cloud computing. Read the details here:

  • WSJ Blog - Larry Ellison’s Brilliant Anti-Cloud Computing Rant
  • ValleyWag - Larry Ellison on cloud computing buzzword: "Complete gibberish"
  • Aware 11 - Larry Ellison: Someone Explain To Me This “Cloud Computing” Thing My Company Is Committing To
Posted on Wednesday, September 24, 2008 3:35 PM | Back to top

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