They have officially certified Amazon EC2 as a supported platform on which to run their software, not only that, they appear to be embracing the cloud big time, providing pre-configured AMIs and management tools.
For someone like me who has Oracle in the blood (since Version 5 in the 1980’s) this is very good news. As I’ve said before….
As for using Oracle on EC2, yes please. Most of my datasmithing career has been spent behind the wheel of an Oracle database, the front-ends might have been Excel or some BI package, the end results might have been SAP master data take-ons or an Essbase cube, but the blood and guts were always Oracle. And this was before Oracle Apex – think what wonders could have been achieved if I had access to such a product in the past.
Although the licensing is not a pay-as-you-go model, it’s a start, who knows some enterprising firm of DBAs might purchase enterprise licences and repackage access for those wishing to use it for “cloud bursting” (adding utility resources to scale-out / scale-up). Also, there’s Oracle’s free XE edition for low-volume datasets and for developers who need access to the enterprise editions, the usual “free to develop on” OTN licenses apply, except now there’s no need to first source a suitable spare machine or download a multi-gigabyte install package and of course no more installation headaches, just fire up an Amazon EC2 AMI, easy peasy.
Oracle is also providing a Oracle Secure Backup Cloud tool which brings the power of Oracle backup and restore technology to S3. This, combined with Amazon’s Elastic Block Store, makes the EC2 platform an ideal home for many Oracle database applications.
The major attractions to me of Oracle as a datasmithing tool (besides my 20+ years experience of using same) are…
- Oracle Appliaction Express (aka APEX, previously known as HTML DB). For fast, robust data-centric web apps for deployment within the firewall (or via VPN), it’s hard to beat (but also see WaveMaker). In a micro ETL environment, it provides a quick and easy means of distributing data cleansing tasks such as adding additional attributes or assigning hierarchies to dimensional data.
- Oracle SQL engine/optimizer technology is fast, powerful and can handle anything you throw at it (as long as it’s valid SQL).
- PL/SQL, the best DSL for data handling and data cleansing.
- Oracle’s market position as a “safe and respectable” home for corporate data.
While I still have reservations about Oracle’s commitment to further develop (and patch) XE, at least its appearance at the heart of their cloud initiative reassures me that they are unlikely to abandon it totally.