Why should anyone look at Oracle’s cloud solutions? That is the question that should most often be asked about Oracle’s IaaS and PaaS offerings.
Ignoring Oracle’s broad SaaS portfolio that is obviously sold on the features of the application itself, Oracle has been selling IaaS and PaaS solutions for over 5 years. Oracle now has a broad range of offerings that compete with the far more mature offerings of Amazon and Microsoft. So again, why consider Oracle IaaS and PaaS that would appear to be the new kids on the block, when you can just look at the competition?
This is the question that we are going to explore.
Oracle’s executive chairman and chief technology officer, Larry Ellison, famously quoted that Oracle’s IaaS was ‘twice as fast and half the cost’. However, what is the truth? Surely if that was a fact, then everyone would be shooting over to Oracle, wouldn’t they? And let’s be honest, Oracle are renowned for their high prices.
Well, let’s put that to the test. Purely looking at the list prices on Oracle and AWS’s websites and compare a dummy solution (all pricing as of June 2018):
As an example, we looked at 4 Linux based instances with 8 core each of pure infrastructure, each instance coming with 60GB RAM and coupled with 2,000 GB of storage. Also, to make this a level playing field we are purely looking at a pay as you go cost, with no upfront fee, and no commitment. How did they compare?
Oracle Price: £1,358.00/month
AWS Price: £2,938.75/month
So, it’s possible that Larry’s statement is at least somewhat true. Oracle does appear to be cheaper. However, there are some things to then consider. Say that you needed to upload 2,000 GB per month into this setup. What does that cost? Actually, both companies include this in the price of the base product. So no scares there. And what if you were taking 2,000GB out per month? Well, Oracle would allow that as well, at no extra cost. Amazon however would want another £140 per month for you to remove your own data. Now this isn’t saying that Oracle doesn’t charge for outbound data, they do, but you would have to remove more. So let’s turn up the dial. Say you download 1,000GB per day each week day. And for mathematical simplicity let’s use February (on a none leap year). That’s 4 x 5 x 1,000GB or 20,000GB per month. Now Oracle want £60 per month for the privilege. This seems quite reasonable in comparison to Amazon who now want well over £1,000 (£1,328.99).
So price may well be a reason to move, and it is certainly not a reason to not go to Oracle. If you are running Oracle technologies however price is not the most impressive reason to move.
Platform as a Service
The differentiator for me is Oracle’s PaaS offering.
While it is totally possible for Oracle technologies to be run on Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure, it’s the platform services and integration that really make all the difference. What do I mean by that? What is the difference?
Again, let’s look at a possible solution and what the differences are. The solution that I have in mind is one that I have personally worked on, which is a simple deployment of Oracle database to be used as a DR solution. The application used Oracle Enterprise Edition database. How do the platforms differ?
With Amazon Web Services, the solution offered is a pure IaaS solution. It comes without an Oracle licence, but that is not really an issue. You just purchase an on-premise licence ensuring that you follow the rules that appear in the Oracle document: “Licensing Oracle Software in the Cloud Computing Environment” So what do you get? And the answer is a virtual Linux server. You then log into this server, upload the Oracle binaries and install the database. It’s then managed in exactly the same way as any on premise server, in that you log onto the OS and apply patches as you would have normally, ensuring that all patches are in line with the OS patches that are in existence.
What is the difference with Oracle? Oracle is a PaaS solution. It can come with a database licence or you can supply your own as per the Amazon model. The real difference is in how you deploy and manage the database. You actually deploy a database from the cloud portal. The binaries are pre-installed and setup. It goes further though, Oracle releases quarterly patch clusters for both the Linux and database. These are pre-tested solutions, which you can apply by clicking a button and scheduling the downtime. This takes significant load from your valuable DBAs, freeing them up to do more complex, rewarding and business beneficial work. That is not all, backups, cloning databases, etc., can all be managed through the portal rather than done manually.
And what does this all cost? Oracle is surely going to be making their money out of this, right?
Again, let’s take an example. The DR server in the case I was working on was a 4 core solution, with 30GB RAM and 200GB storage.
The cost in Amazon Web Services was as follows:
AWS Costs: £261.30/month
However, we also have to take the cost of the Oracle licence into consideration. So what is that? The cost of the database licence (from the Oracle Online Store) would be £116,990.60 with an annual support cost of £25,737.92. Now if we roll that into a single month that wouldn’t be realistic, so let’s assume that the customer uses this solution for 5 years, and for simplicity, that there is no change in the cost of the services. Now the overall 5 year costs are as follows:
AWS IaaS Cost: £15,678.00
Oracle Licence Cost: £116,990.60
Oracle Support Cost: £128,689.60
Total 5 year cost: £261,358.20
The comparable Oracle costs over 5 years would be as follows:
Oracle PaaS (inc licences): £104,700
That would be for a solution that was always on. In this example that was not the case, which is where Oracle’s inclusive licence really comes into its own. The customer used DR by rolling last night’s backup onto the DR solution each morning. This took them a little over an hour, so let’s call that 2 hours for simple maths again. We will make the assumption that the instance is only up and running for 2 hours per day, but the storage is persistent. This makes an impact to the AWS solution in that the new costs look as follows:
AWS IaaS Cost: £1,233.59
Oracle Licence Cost: £116,990.60
Oracle Support Cost: £128,689.60
Total 5 year cost: £246,913.79
It makes a far more dramatic difference to the Oracle solution however. Now the comparable Oracle costs over 5 years would be as follows:
Oracle PaaS (inc licences): £9,060
This really highlights the value that an embedded cloud licence can bring.
If your business is looking for a pure IaaS offering, Oracle Cloud may well be worth a look. Certainly it shouldn’t be disregarded without at least looking at the cost options. If, however, you are running Oracle technology in your cloud deployments, especially if those solutions are not running 24 hours per day, Oracle cloud could be the only sensible answer.
Talk to your account manager at Grey Matter for a more in-depth discussion around the value that Oracle Cloud could bring to your business, +44 (0)1364 654100.