Thursday, January 12, 2012

What’s in the Forecast for the Oracle Cloud?

One of the big announcements at Oracle Open World 2011 was the release of the Oracle Cloud. Today we seemed to get a little closer to that release with the announcement of the Preview Availability Phase. I've been added to a queue waiting for an account which is just torturous. It's like seeing the presents under the tree but knowing you can't open them till Christmas. I’m obviously really excited about the Oracle Cloud. I’m curious to see how Oracle’s offering will affect the cloud landscape and compete with the likes of Amazon and Salesforce in that space!

Larry’s introduction of the Oracle Cloud seemed rather all encompassing, offering both application and platform services. On the application services side, you’ll find services like Fusion CRM, Fusion HCM, and Oracle Social Network. On the platform services side you will find offerings like Java and Database services.

For those of you that don’t know me very well, I’m an Oracle database developer and Application Express (APEX) aficionado. Thus, my interests in the Oracle Cloud are focused more on the platform/database services. Since the announcement of these services I've had list of questions and concerns that has continued to grow.

Ultimately, even if I had the answers to these questions now, things could change rapidly making those answers obsolete in an instant. In fact, that probably will happen and I welcome it! Oracle has an amazing team of people working for it and it will be interesting to see how they tackle various issues with innovative solutions.

Even still, if only for reflection later, I'd like to share some of the questions and concerns I'm still pondering. Let's hope we have the answers soon!

Database vs. Schema

From what I can tell thus far, the  Database Cloud Service will operate a little like apex.oracle.com currently does where everyone gets their own schema. While a single schema can be very powerful, I'm curious as to whether a full database offering will be made available, and if so, when? Also, will multiple Database Cloud Service instances be able to see each other?

Dev/Test/Prod

Most developers I know like to test deployments against a test system prior to going to production. Will each Database Cloud Service instance include a development and/or test instance which can be used for deployment purposes?

Database Packages

What if I want to schedule a job with DBMS_SCHEDULE or encrypt some data with DBMS_CRYPTO? These, and many other important packages, are locked down by default - arguably for good reason. But I want them! Will use of these packages be allowed?

Upgrade Strategies

If the  Database Cloud Service is offered as a multi-tenant, schema based solution, how will database and APEX upgrades be handled? Of course we all know that upgrades always run the risk of breaking applications so I’m interested to know how potential risks will be mitigated.

SSL

I believe that most people should be running their applications and websites on SSL. Will applications using SSL be supported? I have to believe that eventually SSL will be supported, but it's an important question. I hope the answer is yes, sooner rather than later.

Email

On apex.oracle.com we are able to send emails via SMTP. However, that's not a production system. Will the production system include SMTP or a similar solution like Amazon's Simple Email Service? If so what kind of limits will be imposed?

OS/FTP/File System Access

Although the Shared Components in APEX provides us with a convenient means of using external files in our applications, there are many reason one might prefer a standard file system with FTP access. Will this be a supported option?

Pricing

What will the pricing model look like? Of course I saved this one for last. This is a huge, make it or break it type question. I really hope that Oracle enters the cloud space with a pricing model that's geared more toward gaining market share than profits - like Google does with many of its cloud services.



So what's in the forecast for the Oracle Cloud? I can't wait to find out!

Post a Comment