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Why the arrival of Oracle Cloud Infrastructure is a big deal

Published by in CLOUD, ORACLE on December 13th, 2017

There have been some big announcements around the Oracle Cloud recently, not least the availability of a new European region in Frankfurt. We’re really excited about this, because it expands Oracle’s second-generation of cloud infrastructure (known as Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, or OCI) beyond North America for the first time. A London-based OCI region is due to open in early 2018.

What’s more, the recent improvements to OCI have made it an even more compelling proposition, unlocking the door to new use cases for the cloud in your business.

Let’s briefly recap on the key enhancements to the Oracle Cloud, focusing primarily on the OCI Infrastructure as a Service offering. We’ll then look at what the new European OCI facility could mean for your organization.

Better performance and other IaaS improvements

Firstly, performance has been beefed up significantly, thanks to the new X7 processors, based on Intel’s latest Skylake chips. Pleasingly for customers, the price per core of the X7 remains the same as the previous-generation X5.

(While we’re on the topic of CPUs, incidentally, my colleague Justin Bennett has put together a blog on the differences between Oracle’s OCPU measure and the vCPU metric used by most other cloud providers. It’s a key difference you need to understand if you’re comparing cloud platforms.)

Back to OCI improvements, and there’s now also the option of using one of NVIDIA’s Pascal-generation GPUs, to deliver high performance for those really demanding workloads (think artificial intelligence and the like). Again, these offer a very good price-to-performance ratio, if you need them.

Other key OCI IaaS improvements include:

  • The ability to run Oracle Database and Real Application Clusters (RAC) on virtual machines in the Oracle Cloud
  • Two-node RAC for Oracle Database, available in the Frankfurt and Phoenix regions
  • Enhancements to Block Volume storage, boosting volume sizes to 16TB
  • Support for a new version of Ravello, boosting performance and scalability for VMware- and KVM-based apps on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure
  • Launch of Cloud Infrastructure Archive Storage, a low-cost tier for data you need to keep, but don’t require fast or frequent access to new 25Gb network capability
  • Launch of the Data Transfer Appliance, which will enable you to shift large amounts of data from your on-premises data center to Oracle Cloud Object Storage, without sending it over the internet
  • Launch of OCI DNS (aiming to improve the user experiences of online apps), Oracle Cloud Infrastructure Email Delivery, Cloud Infrastructure Tagging and the Managed Cloud-Native Development Service

High-availability, without the high cost

The other big benefit of having OCI available in Europe is around availability and resilience. Where Oracle’s Classic cloud data centers were individual facilities, the OCI centers have three so-called ‘availability domains’. This means the facility is made up of three physically separate locations, linked by very fast networking. Consequently, you can replicate your data across more than one location for disaster recovery purposes, without needing to pay for third-party network provision between them, as you would previously have needed to if you required a guaranteed high level of performance.

It means you can create extremely reliable and highly available systems in the Oracle Cloud in an affordable way.

In summary

The arrival (and soon to be expansion) of Oracle Cloud Infrastructure in Europe is big news for any organization that has wanted access to high-performance cloud for their Oracle workloads, but can’t have its data in North America.

The region in Frankfurt means you can now architect extremely fast, reliable and highly available platforms for your business-critical Oracle Databases and the applications that use them.

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