Database as a Service (DBaaS) is arguably the next big thing in IT. Indeed, the market analysis firm 451 Research projects an astounding 86% cumulative annual growth rate, with annual revenues from DBaaS providers rising from $150 million in 2012 to $1.8 billion by 2016.
The reason is simple. DBaaS is gaining converts because it enables businesses to deploy new databases quickly, securely, and cheaply. If that sounds too facile to be true, then try this somewhat heftier description from a blog by Javier Puerta, Oracle’s director of core-technology partner programs in EMEA:
Hey, isn’t that what I just said? But wait; as we dive deeper, it gets better.
- DBaaS reduces database sprawl. DBaaS lets you shift your organization from administering a complex collection of silos—each requiring their own care, feeding, and patching—to a business powered by an agile and flexible database cloud.
- DBaaS supports rapid provisioning. Need to spin up a new database real quick? No problem. In fact, if you happen to be using Oracle Database 12c, you can clone an existing database in minutes.
- DBaaS enhances security. Maintaining each database in a separate container creates a kind of virtual moat, which is an impediment for the bad guys.
- Automation enables centralized management of all your databases. This is a key feature that isn’t universally available in the DBaaS world. But you get it as part of the package if you’re using Oracle Database 12c. (More about this later.)
In many ways, DBaaS exemplifies the benefits of the “as a Service” philosophy that’s arisen alongside cloud computing. (Notice I didn’t employ a three-letter acronym there, because that would make a you-know-what out of both of us.) Interestingly, those advantages—nearly all of which fall under the broad heading of an IT culture that’s more responsive to business needs—are achievable whether you’re accessing your DBaaS through a cloud provider, or implementing it in your datacenter on a purpose-built system such as an Exadata Database Machine.
I like to sum up the flexibility inherent in the DBaaS model by apply the “Burger King” analogy: DBaaS lets you have it your way. (Substitute “it” with the acronym “IT” and this comparison makes even more sense.) Let’s say you’re a typical mid- to large-sized organization running vast estates of databases. Perhaps you’re hosting a couple of dozen variations, each of which require special expertise, care, and feeding.
Wouldn’t it be easier to consolidate all those instances? That’d certainly facilitate their management. Easier still, your cloud provider could co-manage the software, or even take on most of the operational heavy lifting.
This logically leads us to the ne plus ultra of DBaaS products (in terms of features, but not price). I’m referring of course to Oracle Database 12c, and more particularly to the Oracle Multitenant option available with 12c’s enterprise edition.
Multitenant is a canonical win-win in that it’s both a consolidation and a simplification play. In this architectural model, a multitenant container database can hold multiple, individual—we call the “pluggable”—databases. The line marketing uses is “managing many databases as one.”
Here’s an illustration which ably telegraphs how the multitenant model obviates a whole lotta messing with all those individual DB instances. (It sidesteps a significant amount of virtual-machine management, too.)
It just so happens that multitenancy aligns beautifully with Oracle’s database cloud model. As I alluded to earlier, if you have the typical IT environment, you’re running numerous databases. Every one of them much constantly be patched, upgraded, indexed and backed up. The more databases instances you’ve got, the more onerous and labor intensive these tasks become. But enlist Oracle Database12c, with its “containers” that allow you to plug in all your databases and manage them as one, and it’s problem solved.
Did I munge too much together? Here are some bullets to clarify the advantages:
- Oracle Multitenant allows you to rapidly provision “tenants” (pluggable databases) from a single database container.
- Using Multitenant gives you the agility to clone copies of databases in minutes.
- Allows true isolation between database tenants.
- Built-in solid high availability, disaster recovery and security for each tenant database.
- Enables significant reduction in database sprawl.
- Innovative container approach facilitates not only deployment, but testing, too.
Sitting atop that big database container in the cloud is what you might call our chief shipping manager. (Containers, shipping; get it?) That would be the new Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c, which handles the automation portion of our DBaaS cloud solution. Think of it as an “IT person in a box”—it’s a controller to handle setup and testing anytime you want deploy a new database instance in your cloud. It also keeps an eye on the mundane but important tasks of monitoring, metering, and chargeback.
The bullet-point boilerplate for Enterprise Manager 12c surfaces some key specifics:
- Accelerate pluggable database as a service provisioning for greater agility and cost savings.
- Consolidate onto Oracle Database 12c’s multitenant architecture to optimize resources.
- Automate many as one through Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c’s unique automation feature.
Perhaps the best explanation comes from Anand Akela, Oracle Senior Principal Product Marketing Director, who wrote in his blog post, “Delivering Database-as-a-Service (DBaaS) with Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c,”:
“One of the reasons why DBaaS works so well and why so many IT organizations are finding it very cost effective is manageability. With the release of Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c, Oracle now delivers deep management and automation capabilities that span the entire Database cloud lifecycle—from configuration and change management to performance diagnostics and tuning. It lets administrators identify and consolidate pooled resources, setup role-based access, define the service catalog, and related chargeback plans for compliance and reporting purposes.”
Suffice to say all are coherent elements of the Oracle approach. That’s part of a crystal clear mission to help customers simplify their enterprises by reducing complexity and cutting costs, the better to be able to allocate more of their IT dollars towards innovation and business acceleration. Oracle Database in the Cloud is an important driver towards those objectives.
Now that you’re down with DBaaS, how do you get started? Check out this video, in which IT administrator “Tim” (not “Wayne” from the Verizon tablet commercial) easily clones an existing database so he can test a patch offline before it’s deployed into his organizations production environment.