Oracle Database to the Private Cloud! (Really, it’s true this time!)

Traditional Oracle RAC DBOne of the biggest challenges with traditional RDBMS systems is how to make them move into the cloud (and not just into IaaS).  Amazon recently announced that they will be offering an Oracle service but the issue at hand is that ultimately, it’s a pure IaaS service.  Yes, I can either put up my licenses or pay-as-I-go for Oracle, but it’s not quite what I envisioned.  Cloud’s basic principals is to allow data to live everywhere and nowhere, computing can grow and shrink in an elastic nature transparently.

So why is Oracle RAC and DB so hard to move truely into the cloud?  The principal challenge lays in it’s dependence on it’s hard drives.  In a RAC (Real Application Cluster) configuration, the hard drives are shared among all active database servers.  This provides higher levels of performance and availability but the double edge sword is that the farthest we could push our RAC infrastructure is as far as we can serve those hard drives outs without the “latency” degrading the performance into submission.  This distance really has been 90 kilometers.

This of course is the challenge, how do we let an Oracle server 1000km away access that data like if it was physically sitting in the same data center?  Unfortunately, the limit is imposed by physics (speed of light).  Today has been an exciting day at EMC World as finally the V-Plex over a-synchronous distances in an active/active configuration was announced.  Not only was it announced, but in a breakout session (Storage Best Practices for Virtualized Oracle RAC), they drilled into the solution and discussed it’s benefits.

Now don’t go buying a V-Plex thinking that it’s the only part of the recipe, it’s just a key component to this recipe.  The next portion is the virtualization.  In November, Oracle announced that they would support their RAC 11.2.0 infrastucture on VMWare.  The fun part of this is that it works very well and the ease in which we can scale up and down a RAC infrastructure has been very impressive. Google “Oracle on VMWare” and the overwhelming the number of people who are sharing their experiences.  During that same berakout I mentioned, they went into the bowels of how the technologies intermingle to infact create higher levels of effeciency.

So, in the new reality, we now can acheive Oracle RAC servers that can be scaled up and down and “live everywhere and nowhere”.  Really, in short, the ability to create a neboulous Oracle data service that both is resilient, gives us high availability and disaster recovery, all in the same breath!  I thought about this  at the first V-Plex announcement but now the new a-sync active/active with Oracle’s support for VMWare really enables it.

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About ericgrav
Senior technologist specializing in information management and dabblings into cloud computing

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