Oracle Cloud & Microsoft Azure: the use cases behind the historic agreement
In June 2019, the announcement surprised . Oracle and Microsoft forged an unexpected alliance in the cloud, creating interconnections between their respective data centers. First in the United States, then in the United Kingdom in September .
Everything else ? If from a strategic point of view the alliance made sense, from a practical point of view it seemed less clear. Because even in the case of a classic architecture (on-site development with Microsoft technologies on an Oracle on-site base that we migrate to the cloud), the issues of multicloud , latency, version upgrades and Updates on different cycles on two different platforms remained pending.
Of course, Microsoft and Oracle have a lot of common customers. Certainly both are present in large accounts. And of course they have AWS as their common “enemy”. But the real use cases that led to this merger therefore deserved to be specified.
This is what Applications & Data (LeMagIT) did during the visit to Europe (more precisely in London) of Clive D’Souza , the very courteous “Head of Product Management & Business Strategy, VMware & Azure Interconnect at Oracle Cloud Infrastructure ”from Oracle.
Three use cases for a wedding
For Clive D’Souza three main use cases emerged from common customers.
Use case 1 – This is the most obvious, mentioned above. “One of the most popular use cases is an application developed in .NET on top of an Oracle database that a company wants to migrate to the cloud. It can now modernize it and port it while keeping the code on Azure and the data on Oracle Cloud, ”explains Clive D’Souza (see below).
Use case 2 – Companies may want to make new developments using Azure services (Cognitive or others) on data in Oracle Cloud DB.
As opposed to the previous one, “this case is essentially ‘cloud native’, with customers wanting to leverage what Azure really does well – like Power BI , analytics, and the dashboard. They want to develop on top of that. But if there is critical data – corporate data – they can separate it and put it in an Oracle database ”. A configuration that confirms the analysis of Holger Mueller from Constellation Research.
Why, in this configuration, not instead choose the analytical or cognitive services of Oracle Cloud – which Oracle also extensively highlighted in London in February? “The choice to put such or such part of the application stack in such or such cloud depends a lot on the application and the proximity of the customer [with Oracle and Microsoft]”, answers Clive D’Souza.
Use case 3 – Companies would also have requested the possibility of having an Oracle development stack (Full Stack Oracle Enterprise Apps Development) – like JDE, Hyperion, EBS, etc. – on OCI, but with middleware triggering triggers and alerts, from and to a SQL Server database on Azure.
3 questions to Clive D’Souza (Oracle) and a “Cloud Center of Excellence”
These three use cases do not, however, make us forget that multicloud – even with direct interconnection between infrastructures – is not trivial. Clive D’Souza does not hide it in any way.
On the contrary, he speaks of a long-term transformation project, throughout the company, around a “Cloud Center of Excellence”.
A&D / LeMagIT: For use case # 1, a big problem is that the code of an application is particularly sensitive to the version of the underlying database. An ERP is clearly very sensitive to this. So when you change the base version, there is a good chance that you will also have to rework the code.
If I have my code on Azure and the database updates itself regularly – because that’s what your standalone database does on OCI – how do I handle this?
Clive D’Souza : Between the Autonomous Database and the application, there is a management and orchestration layer (a “control plan” or a “data plan”). And in this layer, there are “triggers”. Whenever a change occurs – whether on the code side or the base side, with a patch for example – an alert is sent from both sides [Editor’s note: to developers and DBAs ].
But what you’re talking about is a broader discussion of how you come to a form of excellence – a “Cloud Center of Excellence” – and how you sustain that.
A&D / LeMagIT: But in conclusion, will I have to regularly touch the code?
Clive D’Souza : Yes… but again: it’s not just a matter of database or application. We are entering a more modern cloud operating model (“modern cloud operating model”). This is the “Cloud Center of Excellence”.
And when you reach these levels of deployments and this very extensive management of operations, it’s not to do a single application. It flows through the entire organization, in the form of microservices in a DevOps model (you can think of this as very fine piping).
A&D / LeMagIT: Are there many companies in Europe that have reached this level of maturity or are we still only at the very beginning?
Clive D’Souza : Those on the move are some of the biggest names in the business. Unfortunately, I am not yet allowed to give them to you. But Suzanne Holliday [Editor’s note: present during interview] oversees my team’s efforts for Europe and you should soon have public examples.
But yes, there are different maturities of PoC and deployments.
That said, obviously, the interconnection in Amsterdam [Editor’s note: which Oracle announced at the start of the year] was a “must have” [to get the hybrid cloud between Azure and OCI off the ground] in Europe. And the more regions and interconnections there are, the more customers we will see doing this.