Oracle and Microsoft announced in June that Oracle would certify some of its products to run on Windows Azure, Microsoft's cloud platform. When I first heard the Oracle Microsoft news, I quickly rechecked the data to make sure it wasn't April 1.
I've fallen victim to some good pranks in the SQL Server community -- namely SQL Server running on Linux, which I'm still upset wasn't true, but this Oracle Microsoft deal was real. I checked my RSS reader and didn't see much reaction; it seemed like the IT industry just stretched, yawned and moved on. But I think this is an interesting announcement. Here are a couple reasons why.
Hyper-VSupport: Oracle will be supported running on Windows Server Hyper-V as well as the public Azure cloud as a first-class citizen. If you've chosen Hyper-V as your virtualization platform, you won't need to add another platform.
Oracle Linux preconfigured on Windows Azure: At the time of writing, I didn't see Oracle Linux available on Windows Azure, but Microsoft said it will offer pre-configured Oracle Linux instances so you don't have to run your Oracle database on Windows Server to use Windows Azure. Yes, you could have used SuSE Linux Enterprise Server, which is an Oracle-certified platform, but Oracle's own flavor of Linux offers some advantages over the other distributions, such as zero-downtime kernel updates with Ksplice and performance optimizations in Oracle's unbreakable enterprise kernel.
Who would want to migrate their Oracle database onto Windows Azure? Good question; probably anyone who's already using Windows Azure for something. Or maybe you are predominantly a "Microsoft shop" but have an Oracle database used for an application. I think this would be pretty attractive, especially around hardware-refresh time.
A lot of Microsoft shops have no doubt noticed Windows Azure and are likely taking a look at it if they are not already using it, so you are hopefully already familiar with the platform. Microsoft is driving this further by offering integration between SQL Server 2014 and Windows Azure. I suspect the integration will continue to be enhanced, so there's no doubt in my mind people will begin to adopt the platform more widely.
Then there's cost. The platform is cheap and the announcement included license mobility. If you already have infrastructure in Windows Azure, it makes sense to put any other infrastructure that's involved on the platform to speed up communication between the technologies.
Combine these factors with another element of the press release: "As part of this partnership, Oracle will certify and support Oracle software -- including Java, Oracle Database and Oracle WebLogic Server -- on Windows Server Hyper-V and in Windows. …"
Prior to this press release, if you were using a virtualized instance of Oracle and needed to work with Oracle Support, you may have had to reproduce the error on a physical server if the possible cause of the issue was an unsupported virtualization platform. If you sent trace files to Oracle Support, it would know the issue was on a virtualized environment. Support for production environments is important to me as a long-standing database administrator.
All combined, this is a very attractive alternative to Amazon Web Services, especially if you're already using Windows Azure. The announcement leaves me wondering, "Why now?" and "What's coming that we don't know about yet?"
What do you think about it?
About the author:
Chris Presley is a SQL Server consultant and manages the consulting division at Pythian, a data management consultancy. He has been a DBA for 15 years. His most recent blog posts can be found at http://www.pythian.com/blog/author/presley/.