Over the past year, I’ve been assuming the mantle of “Subject Matter Expert” for all things Oracle on behalf of my colleagues at ViON Corporation. During this time, I’ve had numerous opportunities to talk at length with C-level executives, as well as the “boots on the ground” folks, including Oracle DBAs and application developers, about the promise of transforming their IT organizations by migrating at least some of their Oracle Databases and corresponding computing infrastructure to the Cloud.
As expected, there is still a lot of confusion around the advantages and drawbacks of a Cloud migration strategy. Most organization’s objections revolve around four broad areas:
1.) We want to move to Cloud, but we’re not sure if it makes sense for our IT organization. When I hear this concern, here’s what it often portends:
- We haven’t fully developed our strategy to migrate our infrastructure to the Cloud yet.
- We’re still waiting for the dust to settle from the ongoing battle between AWS, Microsoft, Oracle and Google.
- Our competition hasn’t moved to the Cloud yet… but when it does, then by golly, we’ll jump in with both feet!
When I hear these concerns, it’s usually because the IT organization is under-staffed, under pressure from on high to transition to Cloud, or simply nervous about making the wrong decision. That’s where a trusted advisor like ViON can make an incredible difference, since we’ve essentially been doing Cloud for almost two solid decades (before it was even called Cloud!).
2.) We aren’t sure we’ll save money if we move to a Cloud environment. This concern usually foreshadows several reservations:
- We’re not sure our development and testing environments could immediately benefit from Cloud technology.
- We may not be able to transform our CAPEX (our current hardware and licensed software, especially our Oracle database licensing!) to an OPEX model without intense research that I am not equipped to handle.
- We can’t easily reduce the corresponding head count in our data centers due to human capital restrictions (a realistic concern, especially in public-sector environments).
My favorite response to this comment is, “Yes, you’re probably right. Overall, you may not save a tremendous amount of funds by transitioning to Cloud. But that’s not important, because the real point of Cloud is gaining flexibility and better control over the data center. The bottom line is I want to get out of the data center business.”
3.) We’re not 100% certain that our data will be secure in a Cloud environment. Thank goodness, this comment is frequently made! The good news here is that from almost every perspective, the Cloud is more secure. Oracle Cloud uses Transparent Data Encryption to seamlessly encrypt all data stored within its environment. In fact, as I like to say, you can’t avoid encrypting your data. (It’s not unusual to encounter shops that haven’t implemented database encryption unless absolutely forced to because of regulatory constraints.) Another advantage of shifting your Oracle databases to the Cloud is that you’ve now intrinsically limited the number of people who can physically affect your data center to a small number of trusted resources.
4.) We’re not ready to move to Cloud anytime soon because our applications aren’t ready for Cloud. This is a realistic concern as well, but in reality, IT organizations today are more likely to support financial and reporting applications that are already heavily engineered for efficient migration to the Cloud. For example, Oracle Corporation has already been running its own Oracle Business Intelligence (OBIEE) and Enterprise Business Suite (EBS) applications within their own Cloud for several years now. So, with the exception of “home-grown” applications or overly-customized versions of application software, the transition to Cloud is likely to be much less painful than expected.