Recently I had a great opportunity to test Exadata Exacloud service for a 3 month period.

Although I had already tested various Oracle’s Cloud services, this is probably the crown in the Cloud offering.

Here I don’t want to write about what is already known. Instead I want to share my own experience with the Exacloud service.

Let’s start.

To control all your cloud services you’ll have to use Oracle Cloud Portal.

It’s pretty intuitive Web interface so I don’t expect anyone will have to spend a much time for learning.

In my case, there are some issues when creating database instance but second attempt went fine.

In general I have a feeling that Oracle need to add extra effort to stabilize Cloud service offering, as you can still easily find bugs that need to be fixed.

Additionally, during the 3 month period, there were several times partial downtime for patching. As everything is HA, I didn’t noticed any issues, besides receiving e-mail notifications about scheduled maintenance activities.

By using Oracle Cloud Portal, you can also manage network, ports other services etc.

To do the same tasks in on-premise machine would required knowledge. Besides it’s time consuming and error prone.

By using Oracle Cloud Portal, you can do complex stuff easily and fast.

I would give 5 stars if all actions were fine, but due to some issues (failures for Db creation), I found there are still places for improvement and stabilization.

Probably the most interesting part is Enterprise Manager console, from where you can monitor you Db Exadata instances.

Basically this is the same product as regular Enterprise Manager Grid/Cloud control and everything was working as expected so I won’t waste a lot of space to describe it.

Now let’s move on parts that I don’t like.

First you have limited number of options when choosing Exacloud service.

There are Full Rack, Half Rack and Quarter Rack. Each option differs by the number of compute nodes, number of enabled CPUs, memory capacity, number of Exadata Storage Servers, Flash and Disk storage capacity.

Here you have less flexibility comparing with on-premise configuration.

While this is great for smaller companies that do not have senior or expert DBA on disposal, for large companies this is not ideal.

In addition, you can choose only limited number of database versions (like 12.1.0.2, 11.2.0.4 and 12.2), so if you, for some reason (for example compatibility Matrix with your Enterprise SW) need some other version, you can’t get it.

Database (in case of 12c) is using ASM (Automatic Storage Manager), so if you want to use regular file system, you can’t.

You also get Multitenant option by default, so you’ll have to use it.

All RAC infrastructure is already installed, meaning you can’t create Db without Cluster Services, although you can create single instance Db (Pluggable in 12c).

You also have to count that usable storage is several times smaller than raw storage, as ASM (due to the HA requirement by Exadata) is configured with high redundancy ASM option.

With Exacloud service, you have ssh access to Db nodes, but you won’t get the same access for storage nodes, which is additional limitation.

Those are just some points where you can see what I mean by lacking the configuration flexibility.

Maybe this is better for some smaller companies without senior DBA support, but as I expect to see expert DBAs to work with Exadata (it’s expensive machine to let anyone to administer it), lack of configuration option is IMHO negative.

Oracle has other options like buying on-premise Exadata, or borrowing Exadata machine in your DC, but that is different theme.

The last topic will be Network latency.

This is not only related to Oracle Cloud offering, but in general Cloud computing and the current state of network speed.

From my host to Exacloud Db Node address, by using the

mtr -rw

command, I get the 72,2 response time (this is highly dependable of the distance between your location and Oracle data center which is in my case about 1.300 Km).

When I performed the same test from my PC to production Db server in the same LAN, response time was 20,3 which is almost 4 times better result.

Until the network speed will make the latency difference within 50%, in this stage Cloud in general cannot be the solution for larger companies, especially if you have a lot of integration, ETL etc.

To summarize, this is how I see current state of Oracle Exacloud service.

Pros:
– simplified management of all services (including network, ports etc.) through the use of Oracle Cloud Portal
– Oracle stuff are responsible for maintenance partly, but you are still responsible for your own servies like database backup
– Enterprise Management console installed and configured with Db by default
– Oracle setup and configure Database during the creation optimally
– ideal for smaller companies without senior DBA support

Cons:
– bugs in Oracle Cloud Portal
– limited number of options in Exacloud service (quarter, half or full rack, only a couple of Db version supported…)
– lack of Database/service configuration flexibility (only ASM, high-redundancy disks, RAC ready…)
– not for large companies and large databases, especially where the majority of data are out of Oracle Cloud (like ETL loading from external sources, production systems with lot of integration left out of Oracle Data Center…)

– Network latency due to the several reasons:
– if Company doesn’t have enough uplink
– due to the use of secure VPN (the only option as your data has to travel through the Internet)
– if Data Center is far away from your company DC

– not for environments with lot of customizations
– not for environments where applications require (in certification matrix) some particular version of database (like eBS, SAP, Oracle Retail…)


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