Oracle Bare Metal Cloud: Top Considerations and Use-Cases

Welcome to a new type of cloud experience: The Oracle Bare Metal Cloud. Now, learn about some unique data base offerings, Oracle's approach to cloud, the power of bare metal, and some cautions to be aware of.

Bill Kleyman

November 28, 2016

7 Min Read
Oracle Bare Metal Cloud: Top Considerations and Use-Cases

In keeping with the modern trends of cloud – get ready for yet another public cloud provider: The Oracle Bare Metal Cloud. Now, before you start saying “not another cloud vendor …” we really should take a look at this market and see where there are real opportunities.

First of all, there are some very real opportunities that Oracle is going after. Let’s start with where Oracle is leading – databases. A recent Gartner post noted that overall, the DBMS space continued to grow in high single digits, coming in at $35.9 billion in constant currency – an 8.7 percent growth over the prior year’s $33.1 billion. When it comes to market share – the top five vendors still hold about 90 percent of the market share. The top three can be broken down as follows:

  • Oracle: 41.6 percent

  • Microsoft: 19.4 percent

  • IBM: 16.5 percent

So, we know that Oracle certainly has a market to go after. A lot of customers still utilize a powerful Oracle backbone for quite a bit of their compute requirements. But what about public cloud in general? Is it a bit late in the game to be entering the market, or is there still hope?

A recent Gartner report shows that the worldwide public cloud services market is projected to grow 16.5 percent in 2016 to total $204 billion, up from $175 billion in 2015. The highest growth will come from cloud system infrastructure services (infrastructure as a service [IaaS]), which is projected to grow 38.4 percent in 2016.

"The market for public cloud services is continuing to demonstrate high rates of growth across all markets and Gartner expects this to continue through 2017," said Sid Nag, research director at Gartner. "This strong growth continues to reflect a shift away from legacy IT services to cloud-based services, due to increased trend of organizations pursuing a digital business strategy."

Given these trends, we begin to see that there is a market for public cloud consumption and the utilization of cloud services. But how tight is the market itself? A recent report from the Cloud Security Alliance finds that Microsoft is quickly catching up with industry leader Amazon in the race to tap this growing market. Amazon, Google, and Microsoft currently own 82 percent of the IaaS market today. According to the report, Amazon remains the dominant IaaS provider, for now. We’re seeing that Microsoft is closing their gap in market share. Furthermore, IT professionals at 37.1 percent of companies indicated that Amazon AWS is the primary IaaS platform at their organization. Microsoft Azure is a close second, at 28.4 percent followed by Google Cloud Platform at 16.5 percent.

There’s an important hurdle that Oracle will have to overcome here; and that is the market share currently owned by Amazon, Google and Microsoft. However, owning about half of the data base market can actually help with that.

Oracle Bare Metal Cloud – Quick Look Inside

At a very high level, the Oracle Bare Metal cloud is a collection of cloud services designed to allow the user to build an environment capable of handling apps, services, databases, and more in a highly-available cloud ecosystem. Their architecture revolves around a high-performance compute environment which gives users the ability to provision storage, compute (physical hardware as needed), and integrate flexible virtual network overlays into the cloud platform. This gives users easy control access from on-premise networks.

Remember, bare metal servers are non-virtualized physical compute nodes. This means there is no hypervisor running to create virtual machines. This gives tenants access to the physical machine and can be very helpful for high performance (and high I/O and memory) applications, such as database, or Hadoop, for example.

We’ve seen others deploy a bare metal cloud offering – think IBM and SoftLayer. However, Oracle says its bare metal will be faster-provisioning because of its software-defined network underlying it.

Within the Oracle Cloud, you can leverage a few key services. Per Oracle:

  • Use the Oracle Bare Metal Cloud Compute Service to provision and manage bare metal compute instances. You can launch an Oracle bare metal compute resource in minutes. Provision instances as needed to deploy and run your applications, just as you would in your on-premise data center.

  • Use the Oracle Bare Metal Cloud Networking Service to create and manage the network components for your cloud resources. You can configure your virtual cloud network (VCN) with access rules and gateways to support routing of public and private internet traffic.

  • The Oracle Bare Metal Cloud Block Volume Service provides high-performance network storage capacity that supports a broad range of I/O intensive workloads. You can use block volumes to expand the storage capacity of your compute instances, to provide durable and persistent data storage that can be migrated across compute instances, and to host large databases.

  • The Oracle Bare Metal Cloud Object Storage Service provides high throughput storage for unstructured data. Object storage enables near infinite storage capacity for large amounts of analytic data, or rich content like images and videos. Block volumes can be backed up to the highly durable Object Storage Service for added durability.

  • You can control access to Oracle Bare Metal Cloud Services using the Oracle Bare Metal Cloud Identity and Access Management Service to create and manage compartments, users, groups, and the policies that define permissions on resources.

As you take this in, you might be wondering what really sets Oracle apart from other competitors. Well, aside from the above services, Oracle is definitely aiming their sites at their own core market; Oracle users. Currently “In Preview”, Oracle Bare Metal Cloud users can actually provision Oracle Database instances on-demand. In this scenario, Oracle databases can be requested on-demand with dedicated hardware performance, in-depth security, and granular management controls. All of this delivered via cloud.

There are some key benefits here too. When it comes to use-cases, organizations may very well be looking for new ways to re-design their consumption models when it comes to database and services deployment. With an Oracle database-on-demand ecosystem, you can have the option for a dedicated database instance and version, you can package your own database, integrate DevOps into your data base deployment, and even integrate REST APIs and SDKs into the instance. Furthermore, you can leverage local NVMe storage and even utilize a dedicated server. Finally, security is built-in with various options around VPNs, security lists, utilizing secure virtual cloud networking, and even utilizing data base security and encryption at rest.

Here’s the other cool part – containers, lots of them. Oracle Container Cloud Service provides organizations with a Docker-compatible way to deploy application stacks with a single click. Registry integration capabilities, enterprise-grade application orchestration, and application scheduling and service scaling capabilities make the Oracle Container Cloud Service a uniquely compelling option for cloud developers.

Deploying and Using the Oracle Bare Metal Cloud

It goes without saying that if you’re a big Oracle customer, you should check out this new Oracle Bare Metal Cloud offering. Oracle stated at its announcement that the platform will be more than 11 times faster and 20 percent cheaper than the fastest solution offered by the competition. With compute priced by the hour and storage and networking by the month, Oracle makes it easy to understand the costs. Traffic within or between availability domains is free. Outbound bandwidth is only charged after the first 10TB.

There are a lot of compelling reasons to try out the new Oracle Bare Metal offering. However, there are some “first version” challenges. The database-on-demand offering is still in preview. And, if you’re looking for global data center availability, you’re going to have to wait. For now, Phoenix, is up. A second region is due to come online in Ashburn, Virginia in a few months, says Don Johnson, Oracle’s vice president of IaaS product engineering.

The other challenge is that other vendors have had quite a bit of time to mature. Remember, Oracle is building an IaaS cloud from scratch, so the company some catching up to do. Just last year at OpenWorld, Oracle launched its IaaS cloud; about nine years after AWS introduced its Elastic Compute Cloud.

Nevertheless, Oracle customers are excited at the prospect of a new way to deploy their critical workloads and instances. Oracle has taken a lot of time and investment to create a platform that can definitely go after its existing market base. Through it all, it definitely feels like this platform is a version 1, minimally viable market product.

For now, test the Oracle waters with one foot to make sure it fits your specific use-case. However, if you’re trying to offload a massive amount of infrastructure (especially around Oracle) – leveraging the Oracle Bare Metal Cloud might make sense. Just make sure to carefully understand the use-case and current limitations of the platform.

About the Author(s)

Bill Kleyman

Bill Kleyman has more than 15 years of experience in enterprise technology. He also enjoys writing, blogging, and educating colleagues about tech. His published and referenced work can be found on Data Center Knowledge, AFCOM, ITPro Today, InformationWeek, NetworkComputing, TechTarget, DarkReading, Forbes, CBS Interactive, Slashdot, and more.

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