Oracle enters private cloud fray

Government agencies looking to set up private cloud infrastructures have another option now that Oracle has entered the fray, joining rivals Hewlett-Packard and IBM.

Government agencies looking to set up private cloud infrastructures have another option now that Oracle has entered the fray, joining rivals Hewlett-Packard and IBM.

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison unveiled his company's entry into the private cloud computing arena on Sept. 19, showcasing the Exalogic Elastic Cloud, as reported by Chris Kanaracus in Computerworld.

Exalogic Elastic Cloud contains 30 servers, each loaded with two six-core processors for a total of 360 processor cores. They are interconnected with each other and storage sewrvers via Infiniband connections.

The systems support Sun Microsystems’ Solaris and Linux operating systems and include all the middleware customers need to run applications, according to Kanaracus.

The Obama administration is pushing for agencies to adopt the cloud computing model when possible to achieve cost savings and information technology operational efficiencies. A private, or internal, cloud is a proprietary computing architecture that provides hosted services to a limited number of people behind a firewall.

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Lessons from the private cloud

Oracle is taking the right approach by offering a private cloud because that is what many agencies are considering, industry experts said.

Oracle’s move to provide a private cloud in a box is significant because it gives organizations another option. But it might be an expensive offering, affecting the return on investment and cost benefits agencies expect from cloud computing, David Linthicum, chief technology officer with Blue Mountain Labs, told GCN.

The system is proprietary, has 30 servers and Oracle software is not cheap, Linthicum noted.

“Oracle is a high-value product,” and there will always be organizations willing to pay for the level of functionality Oracle offers, said Shawn McCarthy, research director with IDC Government Insights. Others might not want all of that functionality and opt for other cloud providers who offer lower prices, he said.

Other private-cloud options include HP, IBM, the open-source Eucalyptus and public cloud providers such as Amazon, Linthicum said. As agencies move to set up private clouds, where much of the activity is taking place today, managers have to avoid swapping out one set of proprietary gear for another, creating new islands of IT infrastructures. Agencies have to develop comprehensive plans that aid them in better utilizing resources, Linthicum noted.

Oracle Exalogic is similar in scope to Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud, which lets users run applications on top of a virtualized pool of infrastructure components that can shift resources in response to demand, according to the ComputerWorld report. Unlike EC2, Exalogic runs behind a firewall.

Meanwhile, Amazon announced that a wide selection of Oracle enterprise software has been certified to run on Amazon EC2 using Oracle VM virtualization. As a result of running on Oracle VM, Oracle now fully certifies and supports the Oracle E-Business Suite, Oracle's PeopleSoft Enterprise, Oracle's Siebel CRM, Oracle Fusion Middleware, Oracle Database, and Oracle Linux on Amazon EC2, Amazon officials said.

HP also announced integrated private cloud solutions customized for Oracle applications that shorten and simplify the deployment process despite recent public tensions over Oracle’s hiring of former HP CEO Mark Hurd.

The HP hardware and software offerings ship together from HP Factory Express pre-optimized for PeopleSoft Enterprise, Oracle E-Business Suite and Oracle Fusion Middleware. Based on HP Converged Infrastructure, the turnkey solutions are designed to be easily installed and configured.