Oracle continues to invest in public cloud, adding no fewer than eleven cloud services and features to OCI, across the breadth of its offerings.
Flexibility is one of Oracle’s magic words these days when it comes to OCI, or Oracle Cloud Infrastructure. That has quite a few implications for the offering. For example, it is important with flexibility in mind that there are enough cloud regions for customers to choose from. The company has addressed this with the announcement that it will open no fewer than 14 new cloud regions before the end of 2022. Oracle also wants to use its Cloud@Customer offering to make it possible to bring the public cloud within the walls of your own organization.
To stimulate the transition to its cloud environment, Oracle is also very keen to help organizations make the switch. To this end, it offers a free cloud migration service, Cloud Lift. In addition, last year it decided to offer OCI training courses and exams for OCI certifications (temporarily) free of charge. And these are just a few of the many steps Oracle took last year to entice more organizations to make the move to OCI, and its cloud applications. Consider also updates to Fusion Cloud Procurement, the introduction of Roving Edge for hybrid environments and the brand new Exadata X9M platform.
OCI gets eleven new cloud services and features
In addition to more flexibility within the big picture above, it is of course also important to be able to offer this in terms of the services and features Oracle offers within OCI. Today, the company released many updates to tackle this part of the move towards more flexibility. We list the most important ones for you below. In doing so, we will work through the three components of OCI. We will first discuss the updates in the area of compute, then networking and finally storage.
Updates to OCI Compute
Within OCI Compute you already had the option as a customer to choose between bare metal, VMs or containers. Which one to choose of course depends on your workloads. So you can go for bare metal if you want the best performance. VMs give you more control over spending, because you can better match workloads with available resources. You can scale within instances as needed, for example.
A first new service Oracle is announcing within compute is Container Instances. Until now you actually had to set up a complete Kubernetes environment to work with containers within OCI. That’s no longer necessary. With Container Instances, you can purchase a handful or even a single container, for example, to quickly develop or test an application.
AMD E4 Dense Compute Instances
The second new service is related to bare metal compute. Oracle has announced the AMD E4 Dense Compute Instances. According to Oracle, these are specifically intended for workloads that need the added value of the low latency that NVMe drives can offer. Oracle itself lists database workloads, virtualized direct-storage, caching and data warehousing as use cases.
Oracle Cloud VMware Solution on AMD
To conclude this section, Oracle has another AMD flavored update. That is, it is announcing the Oracle Cloud VMware Solution on AMD. Until now, this service was limited to Intel-based environments. Now you can also use AMD-based systems. In doing so, you have the choice of 32-, 64- and 128-core options. According to Oracle, this also involves a high density of VMs per SDDC host. Oracle claims about 2.5 times the amount of memory and CPUs per host, compared to other players in the market.
Updates to OCI Networking
Most of the new announcements Oracle is making are within its OCI Networking offering. These updates deal with things like CDN, load-balancers, WAFs and various tools to get a better understanding of the traffic in the network.
On the OCI Networking front, there is a lot of emphasis on the offerings in the area of CDN, or Content Delivery Networks. First, there is the announcement of CDN Interconnect. This is a direct peering connection to CDN providers, such as CloudFlare. In itself, that’s not particularly exciting, of course. However, what is interesting is that there is no cost associated with moving Object Storage from OCI to the CDN. These costs are often a significant part of the total CDN costs. For our region, this service is not yet available, unfortunately. For the time being it is only for customers in North America, in combination with CloudFlare.
In addition to the CDN Interconnect we mentioned above, Oracle has another CDN news. It also introduces its own native CDN. If you are a customer and do not yet use a CDN, you can now use one from Oracle. Again, you obviously have the advantage of lowering of costs. That is, both storage and CDN can be obtained from the same supplier, in this case Oracle. Mind you, Oracle does use an existing CDN provider for this new service. That’s a good thing, by the way, because in this way its availability is not limited to Oracle’s own zones and regions.
Flexible Web Application Firewall
Last year, Oracle already integrated a Web Application Firewall (WAF) into OCI’s load-balancer. Today, some features are added. For example, more DoS capabilities have been built in and customers can easily apply a single WAF policy for all applications. This should better protect applications against common exploits. In addition, the WAF gets the ability to cache common issues. This in turn should lead to better performance. Finally, it is also possible to apply a policy not only on the load-balancer, but also to push it towards the edge. The latter could therefore be an added value for hybrid environments.
Network Visualizer and vTAP
When it comes to the network, it’s not just about new features that improve performance. It is also important to be able to keep a close eye on network traffic. Oracle has news on that front today as well. With Network Visualizer you can, as the name suggests, visualize your entire network. The idea is that this will enable you to solve common issues that occur in virtual networks more quickly.
With vTAP Oracle also introduces a tool with which you can inspect the packets going through your network. This takes place completely Out-Of-Band by means of port mirroring, so it has no effect on the performance of the network itself. This allows you to troubleshoot, as well as optimize and make cybersecurity improvements. This part reminded us of how the solution of a security company like Noname Security inspects network traffic to detect issues around API security.
Updates to OCI Storage
The last component we will discuss updates for is OCI Storage. About this component, Oracle has two pieces of news to report, both surrounding block storage.
Auto-tuning and HA ZFS
First, there is a feature that Oracle calls ‘Flexible Block Volumes with Performance-based Auto-tuning’ in its press release. That’s quite a mouthful. It allows you to automatically scale up and down the performance of your block storage based on the demand towards an application. In this way, you should be able to both maintain performance under heavy load, but save costs when demand is relatively low.
The last piece of news we bring here based on a briefing we received from Oracle is the announcement of High Availability ZFS. Oracle has made the ZFS file server part of the OCI stack, so to speak, and uses OCI Block Storage for the underlying raw storage. The fact that ZFS is now part of OCI, so to speak, should ensure its high availability.
So all in all, Oracle has taken some big strides again in further developing OCI. We would be surprised if we have to wait very long for the next additions to the company’s public cloud offering, at the rate the company has been going in the past twelve months. In any case, Oracle will undoubtedly have been bolstered by the recent quarterly results, which for the cloud portfolio were once again in triple digits in terms of growth. This indicates that there is still a lot more growth to come (as is the case with the competition, of course) and that more investments can and should therefore be made in this direction.