By Cameron Bahar, Senior Vice President, Data Storage and Management, Oracle
As the world now knows, cloud computing – with its scalable resources and pay-as-you-go model – is a soft and a cost effective way to deploy IT infrastructure, databases and applications, especially given the high fixed costs and complexity of operating your own data center. Despite these obvious advantages, the architectures of Gen 1 clouds left a lot to be desired.
Take block storage, for example. As better performing block storage options have appeared on cloud platforms, most clouds have introduced new types of disparate volumes, tiers, and pricing models. This trend among these vendors still applies today as they continue to offer and scale a complex set of volume types and tiers that require heavy and careful planning and conversion processes to properly provision storage. or to move from one level to another. It is certainly not Easy and is the antithesis of the value an elastic cloud service should deliver.
We’ve learned from this trend and avoided this complexity with Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) Gen2 Block volume service since its creation. We offer a flexible volume type with a simple slider to control its performance. Customers can configure and adjust dynamically volume performance on demand for existing or new volumes without impacting their applications.
True to the promise of the cloud, they can start anywhere on the performance slider and change it anytime and as often as needed. There is no need to carefully study, understand, optimize, plan and select performance levels and prices, freeing our customers from this complexity. All application workloads enjoy the same predictable and stable performance, supported by a Performance SLA which is offered only by Oracle; from read-heavy workloads such as streaming applications, write-heavy IOT applications, sensory and log data collection, to mixed read / write workloads typical of enterprise transactional database systems .
Retail customers, for example, would greatly benefit from such a simple and flexible block storage infrastructure. During high holiday seasons, when site traffic and transactions increase, the performance slider for the OCI Block Volume service allows these peaks to be managed dynamically without impacting applications. This agility allows our customers to pay only for the performance they use when they need it.
Additionally, when volumes are detached and unused, their cost can be automatically adjusted to a lower cost option for additional savings. And there is more to come, as Oracle plans to add a performance-based auto-tuning feature that will automatically adjust volume performance and cost as needed without human intervention.
In tech, there’s always a lot of talk about the first player advantage. But sometimes there are great advantages to entering a market later. OCI joined the cloud fray after big cloud rivals, but because it did, it was able to apply lessons learned from those attempts – as well as Oracle’s earlier cloud efforts – and could deploy newer technology from the start.
OCI’s block and file storage systems, for example, were built using only NVMe (Solid State Drives) SSDs from day one. Its timing allowed OCI to skip a whole generation of slower spinning hard drives that still store important customer data on legacy cloud platforms. Other cloud providers have added optional SSDs, but still make plenty of hard drives available to customers. OCI Block Volume service today offers high performance NVMe SSD Storage at prices other vendors typically offer for hard drive options.
Naturally, OCI uses hard drives for some storage offerings such as object storage where access speed is not a top priority, but for critical live data most businesses want fast access and OCI is fully NVMe SSD.
Unlike early cloud entrants, who built their respective infrastructure with small business customers in mind, Oracle focused on large Fortune 1000-type businesses, as businesses made up the bulk of its existing customer base. The company knew it needed to build a public cloud first to meet the unique demands of organizations already running Oracle databases and applications in-house.
For example, a primary characteristic of object storage is its ability to provide high availability and durability through replication across multiple availability domains (ADs), also known as zones. There is a difficult tradeoff between response time and consistency when designing such distributed systems. Some cloud object stores have opted for “forward consistency” and have chosen to sometimes return inconsistent data between ADs in order to be able to provide satisfactory response times. Enterprise customers are used to and demand “strong consistency,” which means that each update is committed synchronously to the ADs and read after the write semantics are met.
Our engineers took on this challenge and found a way to achieve both high consistency and excellent response times and set the bar higher in the industry. This in turn forced competitors to reconsider their designs and follow suit. The first task of the OCI engineers was to create a solution that reduced the impedance mismatch between on-premises business systems and our cloud solutions.
Businesses also need to be able to run the same services on-premises as they do in the cloud. Thus, all storage services offered in OCI public regions are also available in a smaller format that can run in customer-controlled data centers, which legacy cloud providers were not designed for. .
Especially for companies in financial services, healthcare and other industries, the ability to keep key data under their own control remains a key requirement for regulatory and privacy reasons.
This flexibility is offered to them through Oracle Dedicated Region Cloud @ Customer (DRCC). DRCC includes all the services and capacities available in the OIC public regions. Because the same technology runs both the DRCC and OCI public regions, DRCC customers can rest assured that if certain workloads need to run in the public cloud, they can do so, while other data remains separate.
Considering what I said about OCI services, that they use the latest hardware and highly optimized software, you might think they wouldn’t be competitive against old public clouds. But, in fact, our use of the most modern hardware and software, written to make the most of available resources, also means that the resulting services perform extremely well. and that we can offer them at a surprisingly low price.
For example, the highly reliable tools of OCI high performance block storage service offers a whopping 300,000 IOPS (Input / Output Operations Per Second) per volume with sub-millisecond latencies at a small fraction of the price of competing clouds. High performance is prohibitive on other clouds, but not on OCI. OCI block storage, depending on volume size and performance levels, can be 15 to 25 times cheaper than the most comparable block storage option offered by a public cloud giant, for example.
But this is not the case with a provider offering services at cost or below cost to gain ground. Our technological choices, our system architecture and our distributed software optimizations allow us to be efficient and pass these savings on to our customers.
The cloud promises many advantages, flexibility and cost-effectiveness dominating among them. But it also offers the promise of continued innovation and a reduction in corporate technical debt. Oracle Cloud Infrastructure has benefited from this continuous innovation, and instead of passing on technical debt, it is delivering innovation to its customers in the form of lucrative technical legacy as well as thought leadership in the cloud.