Oracle OCI Compute, Storage, and Networking Tools Aim to Reduce Cloud Complexity

To create a more flexible and cost-effective infrastructure for businesses, Oracle has updated its IaaS offering, Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI), with 11 new tools for its compute, storage and networking services.

Most of the enhancements are designed to optimize costs and remove the complexity of managing modern IT environments with the goal of keeping on-premises users current with Oracle as they migrate to the cloud, and attracting new users away from cloud market leaders Microsoft, AWS and Google.

Excluding legacy hosting services, Oracle infrastructure cloud services revenue grew more than 60% last quarter, and the company wants to maintain that pace.

“The new features and tools are a step towards guaranteeing OCI as an elastic solution with the attributes of being scalable, simple to use and economical to run,” said Leo Leung, Vice President of OCI.

OCI features simplify container management

OCI Compute Services, which offers enterprise customers the ability to deploy workloads to run modern applications on bare metal or virtual machines, added three new features as part of the new update: Container Instances, AMD E4.Dense Compute Instances and Oracle Cloud VMware Solution on AMD.

Container Instances, a managed service, allows customers to use containers without directly managing the hosting VM (virtual machine) or requiring Kubernetes orchestration, because OCI creates the instance with an operating system image, a secure networking and storage, Leung said. This eliminates the complexity of creating an environment when most of the time companies don’t need a complete environment to test a workload, he added.

“Containers are an essential component of modern applications, but many organizations lack the in-house skills to install, configure and manage a container environment. Services such as Oracle Container Instances reduce the complexity of managing these environments because they eliminate the need to deploy directly to virtual machines,” said Dave McCarthy, research vice president for cloud and edge infrastructure services at IDC.

However, McCarthy said there are tradeoffs for these types of services. “Simplicity and convenience come at the expense of complex or custom setups. But most organizations are willing to accept this in order to accelerate their adoption of containers.”

Container Instances functionality is similar in nature to AWS Fargate and Azure Container Instances (ACI).

“Oracle has caught up with the other big cloud service providers, but introducing these new features could help it get a new set of workloads,” said Holger Mueller, principal analyst at Constellation Research.

Low-latency storage supports compute

To provide low latency storage with compute to support database workloads (including relational databases and NoSQL), OCI has introduced AMD E4.Dense compute instances.

“The new AMD-based instances, called dense instances, are machines that will have local storage for compute for low latency based on the NVMe (Non-Volatile Memory Express) specification,” Leung said, adding that Oracle added also a support. for AMD-based processing on its virtual machines. Called Oracle Cloud VMware Solution on AMD, this capability will allow enterprise customers to have the ability to run workloads on 32-, 64-, and 128-core AMD options, as well as the current capability to run Intel multi-core processors. , Oracle said.

As part of the 11 new features announced for OCI, the company has updated its storage service with two new features: flexible block volumes with performance-based auto-tuning and ZFS high availability.

The storage service offers automatic scaling

“Oracle already had a block storage service that could be scaled up or down online, based on performance or cost requirements without disrupting workloads. What’s new is the ability for OCI to automatically understand needs and adjust the storage service accordingly, which we call auto-tuning,” Leung said.

To illustrate how this would work, Leung gave the example of Cox Automotive, which organizes auctions.

“They run 70 auctions and for each auction there is a peak of a few hours. The back-end of this auction is a classic (ERP) application that has not been rewritten. they can automatically dial in the performance behind that cash register, if you want, for the auction, then immediately decline it and only pay for what they consume, without having to rewrite that app,” Leung said.

Analysts also believe that OCI Storage’s new capabilities will help reduce costs for businesses.

Flexible block function reduces costs

“Flexible Block Volumes will help businesses gain efficiencies (cost) and performance from Oracle’s Block Volumes,” said Andrew Smith, head of research within the Enterprise Infrastructure practice. from IDC. “This appeals to all businesses running high performance (I/O intensive) workloads that are prone to spikes due to demand or duty cycles. They won’t have to manually monitor these workloads to ensure performance/cost profiles are under control.”

Constellation’s Smith and Mueller said there are no other major IaaS vendors offering an automated capability that changes the performance characteristics of block volumes based on demand.

The storage update also includes the addition of High Availability ZFS. The data file manager, which also includes a volume manager, is made readily available by packaging it into an automated deployment stack that uses OCI Block Volumes for the underlying raw storage, Oracle said.

According to IDC’s Smith, High Availability ZFS will appeal to enterprises looking for a more fully managed ZFS service that can support the file storage performance (NFS and SMB) needed for workloads such as machine learning. and multimedia processing.

“Oracle already has a user base familiar with Oracle ZFS through its ZFS Storage Appliance. Extending potential points of integration or cloud migration through ZFS high availability can be an important part of the proposition. of value,” Smith said.

OCI Network Update Eases Move to Cloud

Oracle also updated its OCI Networking service with six new features that Smith and Muller say puts the company on par with leading IaaS vendors.

These features include Flexible Web Application Firewall (WAF), Web Application Acceleration (WAA), and Network Visualizer, as well as Content Delivery Network (CDN) Interconnect, CDN Service, and vTap.

“Most of these features allow OCI to catch up with its major IaaS competitors, particularly when it comes to adding WAF and web acceleration in conjunction with load balancing,” said Brad Casemore, vice president Researcher for Data Centers and Multicloud Networks at IDC. . “Network Visualizer provides the kind of visibility for troubleshooting and remediation that enterprise customers want when moving workloads to the cloud. Other major cloud providers offer similar offerings.”

While the WAF service allows customers to define a single WAF policy to protect applications against common exploits (e.g. OWASP Top 10) and enforce the policy on the load balancer or at the edge, the service WAA supports caching and compression of HTTP web responses while load balancing.

Content delivery updates reduce data movement costs

Oracle also introduced two new features related to the Content Delivery Network – CDN Interconnect and a CDN service.

While CDN Interconnect allows the customer to create direct peering connections with certain third-party CDN providers to offer free outbound bandwidth for OCI object storage, the CDN service allows customers to deliver digital content to users endpoints from a nearby location in a geographically distributed network. , the company said.

According to Leung, the two new features, which build on Oracle’s relationship with Cloudflare, help companies reduce costs because they no longer have to pay for streaming content from storage to edge CDN and vice-versa. poured.

In November last year, the company joined Cloudflare’s Broadband Alliance with the vision that its customers don’t have to pay to transfer data from their OCI storage to a third-party CDN, starting with Cloudflare.

Copyright © 2022 IDG Communications, Inc.

Sharon D. Cole