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Having your head in the clouds is generally considered a bad thing for business people.
Having your business operations in the clouds?
Well, that’s a different matter altogether.
In fact, 56% of business execs see cloud technologies as an excellent opportunity for innovation and growth. And they’re absolutely right, there are a lot of advantages to be had by moving lock, stock, and barrel to the cloud.
The explosive growth of the cloud services market demonstrates this, with a CAGR (Compound Annual Growth rate) of 16.4% expected between 2022 and 2027, to reach an estimated global value of $927.51 billion.
However, there are some potential obstacles along the way. For a start, migrating to the cloud may seem like a gargantuan and daunting task. But worry not – cloud migration needn’t be as bad as it seems, especially as there are plenty of options and solutions out there.
In this article, we’ll focus mainly on Oracle Cloud, as it is one of the biggest and most popular players in the industry at the moment. However, there are other cloud options out there that you may want to explore, including Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud.
To help you along on your journey into the clouds, our team of cloud tech experts have put their heads together to create this brief guide that will explain exactly what Oracle Cloud Infrastructure is, why you should consider migrating to it, and the potential pitfalls that may lie in wait.
What is Oracle Cloud?
It’s hard to believe, given how popular it has become, that Oracle Cloud was only founded towards the end of 2016. In a short space of time, Oracle Cloud has expanded to be a big player in the cloud infrastructure provider industry, with more than 70 services, available in more than 30 cloud regions around the world.
What is even more impressive is that Oracle Cloud has carved out a growing user base while up against several big competitors, including Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud (GCP) and Microsoft Azure.
What exactly does Oracle Cloud offer? To put it simply, Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) is a solution available through a single convenient platform. The platform provides cloud storage, database services, networking services, as well as other optional extras such as transaction processing, and ERP software.
Oracle Cloud Infrastructure is available on a variety of pricing models, including an Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) subscription which is paid monthly or annually, taking the form of a metered service (pay for usage) or non-metered whereby you pay for a specific number of users, which works out more economical for large businesses and organisations.
What Type of Businesses Use Oracle Cloud?
It is fair to say that different types of businesses tend to use different cloud service providers, depending on their offering and size of their operations.
When it comes to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, recent data shows that 52% of them are large businesses with more than 1000 employees, 26% are medium sized (between 50 and 1000 employees), and 17% are small businesses with less than 50 employees.
Most of the businesses are growth-focused which is the main driving factor behind their implementation of cloud services.
Applications of Oracle Cloud
In general, Oracle Cloud services are classified as either application services or platform services.
Individual application services fit into one of the following categories:
- Software as a Service (SaaS): The software service is licensed out on a subscription and is hosted on a central cloud server.
- Data as a Service (DaaS): Data is available to users on demand, wherever the data provider and user may be geographically.
Individual platform services fit into one of the following categories:
- Platform as a Service (PaaS): Users can develop, deploy, and control applications through a platform that assists with the building and maintaining of the infrastructure.
- Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS): Allows access to infrastructure resources such as virtual hardware and processing via Oracle Cloud.
Oracle Cloud offers dozens of different individual services and solutions for different purposes and use cases. It is beyond the scope of this article to list them all. Instead, we’ll concentrate on a few of the main service offerings and briefly describe what they do.
Oracle Cloud Database
Oracle Cloud offers several database options, including Exadata which is a platform that enables integration with online transaction processing (OLTP) applications. They also offer machine learning driven databases known as autonomous databases that can help to automate several processes including patching, optimisation, backups, and maintenance. However, the standard Oracle offering doesn’t provide as much support as a comprehensive database management solution. For instance, patching is carried out on Oracle’s schedule which may not suit your own needs.
Oracle Hybrid Solutions
One of the useful features of Oracle Cloud is that the services can be implemented as a hybrid solution, combining on-premise services with public and private cloud services. This helps organisations that need flexibility, especially when they have private or sensitive data assets that they cannot risk sharing through a public cloud. It offers the convenience and flexibility of public cloud technologies, while still enabling high-performance local computing.
Main Benefits of Using Oracle Cloud
Cloud technology is an important innovation that is revolutionising the business world right now. But what are the main benefits of cloud technology, and in particular, Oracle Cloud?
- Reduced Costs – Compared to traditional or legacy systems, Oracle Cloud services and apps dramatically reduce overheads and expenses related to IT networks and systems, hardware, and upgrading and maintenance. For instance, a recent report estimated that banks that move to cloud services can save 5 to 10% on software costs, 15 to 20% on IT support costs, and 15% on hardware costs.
- High Scalability – Oracle Cloud gives you the potential to scale up easily as your business grows without the risk and expense of outgrowing existing technology.
- Flexibility & Agility – Oracle Cloud is perfect for agile working practices as it can be adapted quickly and easily to meet changing needs, industry demands, and to accommodate emerging technology.
- Achieve Compliance – Oracle Cloud Infrastructure’s zero-trust model helps businesses to meet common industry standards such as the UK National Cyber Security Centre’s 14 Principles.
- Accuracy – Oracle Cloud services and applications are all designed to build layers of IT autonomy and automation to reduce human error.
- Reduce Pressure on Resources – For data-heavy businesses, cloud services help to release the pressure on your resources and free up your on-premise DBAs to focus on the more high-value functions, such as assisting app developers and business analysts.
Potential Pitfalls of Transitioning to the Cloud
While there are not many disadvantages of using Oracle Cloud, there are risks and obstacles on the road to any cloud implementation (not just Oracle), such as:
- Unrealistic expectations – At first glance, the benefits may seem so compelling that companies believe they can ditch their on-premise autonomous databases (ADB). However, many businesses quickly discover that it doesn’t quite work like that. The self-tuning aspects of cloud ADBs are not as robust as they need to be and large amounts of resources are used to avoid performance issues, which can translate into pay-as-you-go costs (see the point below about cost monitoring).
- Potential security issues – Cloud systems are often sold as self-securing, but this actually means that data needs to be encrypted at rest and in transit, something that businesses don’t want to do in case they lose the encryption key. In other words, you could end up with a situation that is similar to a ransomware attack, but without the possibility of paying a ransom!
- Poorly defined scope and strategy – A common mistake is to not spend enough time deciding what you actually want from your cloud services and the best options to choose. Fortunately, you can opt for an expert managed service solution such as WellData to help you create and implement your Oracle Cloud strategy.
- Poor cost monitoring – As with any major new implementation or system change, businesses are well advised to monitor costs very carefully. Using Oracle’s Cloud Cost Estimator tool will help to get an idea of the outlay, but once implemented businesses should keep a track of costs to make sure they don’t spiral out of control, especially if intensive resources are needed.
- Difficulty transitioning from on-premise to cloud – Moving from Oracle on-premise to Oracle Cloud can take a bit of effort. Everything needs to be in place and synchronised before switching over. However, Oracle’s flexible architecture and APIs can help to make things smoother, but the database will still require monitoring by a team that is trained in Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, such as WellData.
- Migrating data challenges – Migrating data to Oracle Cloud involves extracting the data from existing systems, remedying inconsistencies, removing duplicates, and fitting it into the new data templates – an undertaking that can easily be underestimated.
- Lack of acceptance or buy-in – It can be difficult to persuade people at various levels of the business that cloud technology is worth the investment, especially if some of the management team is more traditional in their thinking. Therefore, it is important to communicate the benefits clearly, as well as the potential challenges, at all levels.
- Insufficient database management – Many businesses transition to cloud services under the belief that it will significantly reduce the amount of database management they need to do. However, this is incorrect, and the database will still need constant monitoring and support. Also, when Oracle go ahead and apply a patch, there is a chance that your application will stop working properly. Oracle Cloud specialists such as WellData will ensure that any patches are thoroughly tested before applying them.
Oracle Cloud offers a wide range of services and applications to assist with business processes, data storage, and automation.
The main benefits of transitioning or migrating to Oracle Cloud are reduced cost, improved flexibility, and easier scaling up or down.
The main pitfalls are lack of a well-defined strategy and the challenges associated with data migration. Also, databases always require extra hands-on monitoring and support, as not every task can be automatically managed in the cloud.
Overall, Oracle Cloud offer a service that is well worth investigating to see whether it is a good fit for your business. However, set your expectations at a realistic level and be conscious of the fact that cloud services will not solve all your problems.
To find out more about Oracle Cloud services and how WellData can help you to smoothly transition to cloud technology, get in touch today.
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