Data Warehousing in the Cloud - Part 2

In the last blog post (Data Warehousing in the Cloud - Part 1) I examined why you need to start thinking about and planning your move to the cloud: looking forward data warehousing in the cloud is seen as having the greatest potential for driving significant business impact through increased agility, better cost control and faster data integration via co-location.

In the last section I outlined the top 3 key benefits of moving your data warehouse to the Oracle cloud: it provides an opportunity to consolidate and rationalise your data warehouse environment, it opens up new opportunities to monetise the content within your warehouse, new data security requirements means require IT teams to start implementing robust data security systems alongside comprehensive audit reporting.

In this post I am going to review Oracle’s cloud solutions for data warehousing, how Oracle’s key technologies enable Data Warehousing in the cloud and why Oracle’s Cloud runs Oracle better than any other cloud environment.

Oracle Database enabling technologies supporting the cloud

Many of the leading analysts have recognized that more and more organizations are moving to the cloud as a fast and efficient way of deploying data warehouse environments. However, they all point out that, although clouds in general are very appealing in terms of flexibility and agility of deployment and pricing, clouds must deliver support for hybrid on-premises-and-cloud solutions. Oracle’s leadership in data warehousing and vision for the cloud is unique in being able to support this must-have hybrid model.

Oracle’s dominant position in the data warehouse market, through its delivery of engineered hardware to support data warehousing, and end to-end data integration services, is recognized by leading analysts as giving it a significant competitive advantage. Each release of the Oracle Database continues to add innovative new solutions for data warehousing. Oracle has taken these industry leading data warehouse innovations and made them available in the Cloud. Key technology areas include:
Multitenant - New architecture for DW consolidation and moving to cloud Oracle’s multitenant feature is the cornerstone for both consolidation and the transition to the cloud. Multitenant makes it quick and easy to consolidate multiple data marts into a single system using it’s pluggable database capabilities. This unique feature also enables seamless movement of a database, data mart and data warehouse from an on-premise environment to the cloud and, if needed, even back again to on-premise.

In-Memory - Immediate answers to any question with real-time analytics Oracle In-Memory option stores data in a highly optimised columnar format that is able to support the types of analytical queries that characterize data warehouse workloads. Oracle’s Cloud Services offer configurations that maximize the analytical potential of this feature making it easier for business teams to gain access to significantly faster analytical processing.

Analytical SQL - New SQL Innovations for data warehousing and big data Oracle as a foundation for data warehousing has always innovated in the area of SQL both as an analytical language and in ways to broaden the cope SQL to manage more types of data, such as JSON documents. These innovations allow SQL to do more types of operations such as pattern matching and delivering approximate results that directly support the new types of projects being launched in the cloud.

Why Oracle Runs Oracle Better in the Cloud

There several key things that Oracle is doing to ensure that the Oracle Database runs better in the Oracle Cloud.

Firstly, Oracle is providing integrated and optimized hardware, from disk-to-flash-to-memory, as part of its cloud infrastructure. Customers can now get the same extreme performance capabilities along with fully scalable storage and compute resources of the Exadata platform combined with the ease of use, scaling up and down in a few clicks, and cost effectiveness of Oracle’s cloud infrastructure. No other cloud vendor offers this level of optimization and integration between hardware and software.
Secondly, running the Oracle Database in the Oracle Cloud is exactly the same experience as running on-premise such that existing on-premise workloads are completely compatible with Oracle Cloud. Oracle provides easy to use tools and services to move data into the Cloud and out of the Cloud back to on-premise systems.

Lastly, no cloud solution should, or even can, act as a data silo - enterprise systems most definitely cannot function as data silos. Every organization has different applications. From an operational perspective this covers ERP, CRM, OLTP systems. From a data warehouse perspective it includes data preparation, data integration and business intelligence. Oracle provides all these solutions within its Cloud Services.

This means it is possible to put the data warehouse in the cloud alongside the source systems that push data into the warehouse and tools that analyze and visualize that data.

Oracle Cloud Solutions

This section provides an overview of the various Oracle Cloud Services that support data warehousing and the use cases for each service. In general terms, Oracle Cloud provides a broad spectrum of data management offerings that can be offered both on-premise and in the Oracle Public Cloud:

LiveSQL - Free Service

The free cloud service is a great place to quickly, easily and safely road-test new database features. Entry into this service is via Oracle Live SQL, which provides an simple way to test and share SQL and PL/SQL application development concepts. LiveSQL offers:
  • Browser based SQL worksheet access to an Oracle database schema
  • Ability to save and share SQL scripts
  • Schema browser to view and extend database objects
  • Interactive educational tutorials
  • Customized data access examples for PL/SQL, Java, PHP, C
All that is needed to access this service is an account Oracle Technology Network – which itself is a free online service.

Exadata Express Cloud Service

Most organizations focus 80% of their valuable resources on creating on-premise development and test environments. This is because setting up both software and hardware even for these types of systems is time consuming. There are all sorts of procedures that need to be followed to buy licenses, configure servers, connect up networks, configure DB tools etc. However, it’s very rare that these systems match the eventual production environment of the data warehouse and this creates significant challenges around testing and QA processes.

In general, the majority of IT teams want to develop and test in a cloud environment where scaling up for testing and then scaling back once the tests and QA procedures are complete is simply a few clicks.

Use Cases for Exadata Express Cloud Service

Exadata Express Cloud Service is ideally suited to supporting development, test, small-scale marts and data discovery sandboxes up to 50GB in size. From a development and test perspective it provides the option, once a project is production-ready, to move the data warehouse schema back on-premise if regulatory requirements mandate the relocation of data within a specific geographic boundary. Using Oracle Multitenant it is a simple process to unplug from the Cloud and then plug-in and run on-premise.

Database-as-a-Service

Delivers all the same functionality and power of Oracle Database 12c running on-premise. Oracle’s Database-as-a-Service configurations provide access to large numbers of both CPUs and memory to match workload requirements and take full advantage of advanced database features such as Oracle In-Memory and in-database advanced analytical capabilities (advanced data mining, spatial graph and multidimensional analytics). All the typical cloud attributes are part of this service: the ability to quickly and easily create new databases, manage databases from a single cloud console, tools to migrate existing data from on-premise into Database 12c running in the cloud.

Use Cases for Database-as-a-Service

Oracle Database Cloud Service is designed to be a production-ready cloud environment that supports medium sized deployments beyond the size limits of the Exadata Express Cloud Service. This makes it ideal for managing larger scale enterprise level development systems as well as departmental marts and warehouses.

It supports situations where data scientists need large-scale sandboxes to support data mining projects that require access to large amounts of historical data integrated with raw data streams from IoT devices and other big data related subject areas. The plug-and-play features of multitenant combined with Big Data SQL make it possible to minimize data movement when deploying these types of sandboxes. The scale-up and scale-down capabilities of the cloud make it very easy to deploy production-realistic quality assurance environments for final testing and end user acceptance operations.

Exadata Cloud Service

This is Oracle’s flagship solution for data warehousing. It offers the highest levels of performance and scalability and is optimized for data warehouse workloads. It delivers fully integrated and preconfigured software and infrastructure providing extreme performance for all types of data warehouses workloads.

The Exadata Cloud Service bundles all the comprehensive and rich set of data management and analytics features of Oracle Database 12c as standard, such as:
  • Partitioning, Multitenant, advanced compression features, advanced security and the complete range of Enterprise Manager packs
  • In-memory, Advanced Analytics (Data Mining and R Enterprise), Spatial and Graph and OLAP

Use Cases for Exadata Cloud Service

Oracle’s comprehensive Exadata Cloud Service is designed to support enterprise-level, multi-petabyte data warehouse deployments where these environments (typically based around warehouses linked to multiple marts and large-scale plug-and-play sandboxes) typically have high levels of concurrency along with a wide variety of workloads.
The extreme performance characteristics of Exadata Cloud Service make it the perfect consolidation environment for running multiple departmental marts, warehouses and data discovery sandboxes all within a single robust cloud environment.

The Exadata Cloud Service is the foundation for a complete data warehouse solution due its tight integration with Oracle’s other cloud services such as Compute Cloud Service (for managing 3rd party tools), Big Data Preparation Services, Big Data Cloud Service and Backup and Recovery Cloud Service.

Big Data Cloud Service

Just like the Exadata Cloud Service, the Big Data Cloud Service, is based on Oracle’s engineered system for Big Data, which delivers fully integrated and preconfigured software and infrastructure providing extreme performance and scalability.

Today’s enterprise data warehouse extends beyond the management of just structured, relational, data to encompass new data streams from areas such as Internet of Things and concepts such as data reservoirs based on unstructured and semi-structured data sets. In many cases the data reservoir is hosted on a Hadoop or on a Big Data platform. Oracle’s Big Data Cloud Service is the ideal service to support these complimentary services that are being built around the enterprise data warehouse.

The co-location of big data reservoirs in the cloud alongside the Exadata Cloud Service opens up the ability to run SQL over both structured and unstructured data by using Oracle Big Data SQL, minimizing data movement and reducing the time taken to monetize new data streams.

Use Cases for Big Data Cloud Service

Oracle Big Data Cloud Service is the platform of choice for data-reservoir projects and IoT projects because the service leverages Cloudera’s industry’s leading distribution of Apache Hadoop. Many customers are using their data reservoirs as part of a wider information lifecycle management framework where historical, “cold”, data is pushed from the enterprise data warehouse to the data reservoir, which then sits alongside other operational information stored using NoSQL technologies, such as Oracle NoSQL Database.

Using Big Data SQL, Data scientists and business users can easily incorporate data from all these different data management engines into their data models and analysis. This opens up the opportunity to extend existing analysis by incorporating broader data sets and explore new areas of opportunity using newly acquired data sets.

For data scientists the Big Data Cloud Service combined with Exadata Cloud Service offers fast deployment and teardown of sandboxes environments. These data discovery sandboxes provide access to sophisticated analytical tools such as Oracle’s Enterprise R and Oracle Big Data Spatial and Graph analytics. These tools include extensive libraries of built-in functions that speed up the process of discovering relationships and making recommendations using big data.

Compute Cloud Service

On-premise data warehouse systems always rely on supporting systems to deliver data into the warehouse, visualize data via executive dashboards or analyze data using specialized processing engines. An enterprise cloud environment needs to also incorporate these solutions as well.

Oracle supports this key requirement using its Compute Cloud Service, which allows customers to install and manage any non-Oracle software tools and components. As with Oracle’s various data warehouse cloud services, this means that 3rd party products can benefit from the advantages of co-location, such as lower latency, by running alongside the data warehouse in the same data center.

Summary

Oracle’s Cloud Services for data warehousing are based around engineered systems running the industry’s #1 database for data warehousing, fully optimized for data warehousing workloads and providing 100% compatibility with existing workloads. The unique aspect of Oracle’s Cloud service is the “same experience” guarantee. Customers running data warehouse services on-premise, in the Cloud or using hybrid Cloud will use the same management and business tools.

Oracle’s Cloud Services for data warehousing are designed to simplify the process of integrating a data warehouse with cutting edge business processes around big data. A complete range of big data services are available to speed up the monetization of data sets: Oracle Big Data Cloud Service, Big Data Preparation Cloud, Big Data Discovery, IoT Cloud. 

In the next post I will discuss Oracle’s cloud architecture for supporting data warehousing projects.
Feel free to contact me (keith.laker@oracle.com)if you have any questions about Oracle’s Cloud Services for data warehousing.

Part 1 of this series is posts is available here: Data Warehousing in the Cloud - Part 1

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