RE: CEO's head in the Cloud
Date: Thu, 3 Jun 2010 04:28:47 -0500
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.
[mailto:oracle-l-bounce_at_freelists.org] On Behalf Of Jeremiah Wilton Sent: Wednesday, June 02, 2010 5:53 PM
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.
Blue Gecko, Inc.
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.