Oracle is, as it’s fond of saying, the world’s largest enterprise software vendor, with about $24 billion in revenue. It made Larry Ellison the third richest American.23 In late 2009, Mr. Ellison was ranting at the “absurdity” of the idea of cloud computing and the “nitwit” venture capitalists trying to invent a new industry by simply coming up with a new term:
My objection is the absurdity--the absurdity!—it’s not that I don’t like the idea—it’s this [he sneers] NONSENSE—I mean, the guys say, “Oh, it’s in the CLOUD!” Well, what is that? And then [to interviewer] you say, “Are we dead?” Uh, yeah, we’re dead—if there’s no hardware or software in the cloud we are so [big sneer] screwed. . .
But it’s NOT water vapor! All it is is a computer attached to a NETWORK— what are you TALKING about?? [crowd roars with laughter] I mean, whadda you think Google RUNS on? Do they run on WATER VAPOR? I mean, cloud—it’s DATABASES, and OPERATING SYSTEMS, and MEMORY, and MICROPROCESSORS, and THE INTERNET!! [big applause from crowd] And all of a sudden, “NO, IT’S NONE OF THAT—IT’S THE CLOUD!!” What are you TALKING ABOUT?? Now—and the VCs—I love the VCs: “We only fund—oh, is that cloud?” Whoa, whoa—Microsoft Word—change “Internet” to “cloud”—mass change—and give it back to these NITWITS on Sand Hill Road!
Strong words. But you can’t grow a business to a $24 billion and ignore the fastest growing aspect of computing. By January, 2010, he was weaving the terms and concepts of cloud computing into this public comments, as he did later on a quarterly earnings call when he described his vision for the Oracle-Sun systems business:
And those clusters are now called private clouds—that’s the more-fashionable term for clusters—and we’re using our software, our operating system—both Solaris and Oracle Linux—and our virtualization—the ability to dynamically allocate and reallocate resources, which is essential for cloud computing—as well as integrated networking and integrated storage to deliver a complete private cloud to our customers.
However, Oracle has been moving cautiously into the clouds nonetheless. Since about half of their total revenue is partner-generated or -influenced, and many of those partners sell equipment, they are careful not to poison the well. As a result, Oracle has focused primarily on “the Enterprise Private Cloud.” Oracle sees cloud computing as SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS. In Oracle’s view, the private cloud offers greater control, is easier to integrate, and has lower overall costs (capital expenditure and operating expense combined).
They believe that the high efficiency, high availability, and elasticity that characterize cloud computing are approximately equal in public and private clouds. Oracle is not a provider of PaaS or IaaS. However, it is committed to providing customers the ability to deploy Oracle technologies in either private clouds or public IaaS clouds. Their objectives are to ensure that cloud computing is “fully enterprise grade” and that customers have a choice. It shows the components of Oracle Fusion Middleware, the foundation of Oracle’s Enterprise Private Cloud.
The Oracle Platform for SaaS includes Oracle Database, Oracle Fusion Middleware, Oracle Enterprise Manager, and Oracle VM, a comprehensive, open and integrated set of technologies that allow independent software vendors (ISVs) to build, deploy and manage SaaS and cloud-based applications.
The Oracle Platform for SaaS provides ISVs with a single, integrated platform for both on-premise and cloud-based deployments, allowing ISVs to offer their customers a choice in where to run their software. Additionally, the Oracle SaaS program provides business and technology support to ISVs, hosting service providers and system integrators.
Oracle customers can now use their existing Oracle licenses or acquire new licenses to deploy Oracle software on Amazon’s EC2. Oracle has also announced its intention to license others as well. However, it views public cloud as appropriate for rapid experimentation. Oracle is also making available a set of pre-installed, preconfigured virtual machine images for Amazon EC2 environment—Amazon Machine Images (AMIs)—to allow users to easily provision a fully functional Oracle environment in a matter of minutes.
Amazon AWS can be used to back up Oracle databases. Using the newly introduced Oracle Secure Backup Cloud module, it is now possible to move database backups to the Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) for offsite storage.
Oracle Fusion Middleware. (Courtesy Oracle, Inc.)
Oracle offers two SaaS applications:
Oracle intends to make additional “Oracle on Demand” (Oracle’s data centers providing outsourcing services) resources offerings available in an SaaS environment.
Oracle and Sun
Oracle outbid IBM to acquire Sun Microsystems. In January 2010, after a lengthy government review, Oracle completed its acquisition of Sun in a deal valued in excess of $7 billion. Sun was not only an equipment provider, but also developed and controlled key open source Internet technologies including MySQL and Java. It was an early proponent of cloud technologies based on OpenSolaris
Oracle Fusion Middleware. (Courtesy Oracle, Inc.)
The VeriScale architecture is designed to optimize load balancing by implementing the networking logic locally in the service instance’s containers and treating the networking logic as part of the application. This enhanced approach.
While Sun had created a public cloud, it was shut down by Oracle after it completed its acquisition of Sun. It may take some time before Oracle’s cloud strategy is refined to include all of the work that had been done by Sun.
Sun Veriscale load balancing. (Courtesy Oracle, Inc.)
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