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A Quick Guide for DBAs: Oracle, the Cloud and All-Flash Storage

One of the important considerations for database administrators (DBAs) in today’s environment is how to leverage cloud models. For a wide range of applications, the cloud delivers better economics, greater agility and simpler scalability. Oracle databases, however, are a critical area that organizations are reluctant to turn over to a public cloud environment.

According to one research report, 82% of enterprises expect the number of database instances to increase over a one-year period, and 73% of enterprises are engaged in on-premises database consolidation efforts. Yet only 17% of these enterprises are considering the public cloud as the primary deployment model going forward.1

For DBAs, this makes sense. Using an on-premises solution gives IT much greater control over their databases and enables them to deploy solutions that deliver the reliability, security and performance they require. The last thing DBAs want is a line-of-business manager going to a public cloud provider and setting up a database that is not controlled by the IT department. As a viable and attractive alternative, DBAs can bring elements of the public cloud—such as self-service delivery models and automated chargebacks—to their database environment.

All-flash storage is one of the important technologies that is enabling DBAs to keep their Oracle databases on-premises as opposed to taking the huge risk of the public cloud. With all-flash storage, IT can accelerate database performance, simplify manageability and deliver self-service models that ensure that applications are developed and delivered more rapidly.

   

The reality is that the right all-flash storage solution will address the most important challenges keeping DBAs awake at night, while also delivering the types of benefits IT might be considering in moving their Oracle databases to a public cloud. These are:

  • Complexity: An all-flash solution can be deployed in minutes as a simple plug-and-play device without the need for a storage specialist. DBAs can move their Oracle databases as is—there is no disk-based complexity affiliated with traditional RAID configurations, no performance tuning, no complex LUN management, no storage tiering and no block alignment issues. When it is time to upgrade, DBAs can leverage new models, specifically Evergreen Storage, to eliminate the need for forklift upgrades or data migrations.
  • Performance: Public clouds can’t guarantee the performance levels—or the consistency—of an on-premises solution using all-flash storage. With a Pure Storage FlashArray, the Oracle database can execute 400,000 IOPS at a latency that is less than one millisecond. The performance is also predictable, with virtually no spikes or anomalies. DBAs can also take advantage of advanced compression and deduplication technologies that are only available in all-flash arrays, reducing the storage footprint by ratios of 3:1 or better. This helps to accelerate application performance and reduce the time required to do backups.
  • Costs: One of the misperceptions about cloud storage is that it is cheap. Perhaps it is if you are using it for an archive or backup. But for a primary, tier-one application such as an Oracle database, the public cloud can be an extremely expensive proposition. Moreover, once you’ve made the commitment to move to the cloud, you are stuck with it and if prices go up rapidly you will have no choice but to pay them. All-flash solutions, on the other hand, have been coming down in price and are now comparable to traditional spinning disk arrays—and in many ways are less expensive. Plus, with new deployment models such as Evergreen Storage, DBAs can further reduce total cost of ownership through extended product lifecycles, reduced software licensing fees, lower maintenance and other benefits.

One more important point about using flash storage for your on-premises Oracle database versus moving to the cloud: Pure Storage flash arrays have been designed from the ground up to support cloud models, so you can use them to support cloud-like services such as self-service delivery, resource pooling and automated chargebacks. You get the benefits of the public cloud without the risks.

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1How to Make Oracle Databases Faster and More Efficient With Pure Storage,” Enterprise Strategy Group, November 2015.

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