DBAs massively over-provision Oracle to protect themselves: Microsoft

Cloud migrations can therefore be cost-effective, even with Big Red’s nasty licenses


Microsoft thinks it has cracked the code for cost-effective Oracle-to-cloud migrations.

In a white paper released over the weekend, Microsoft argues that there are savings to be had because on-prem Oracle implementations usually over-provision hardware to leave overhead for growth.

Canny database administrators make matters worse, the paper argues, for the following reasons:

Knowing how budgets work, DBAs also expect that there is a considerable chance when the database comes up for a hardware refresh, it will not receive the funds in the budget, forcing the team to run for longer on the original hardware. As such, DBAs tend to pad the original numbers to prepare for this.

But in the cloud – including Azure, natch – users can instead scale only when needed. Microsoft also reckons that "around 85 per cent of Oracle workloads assessed will require a fraction of the vCPU allocated to the on-premises systems."

Which is not to say that moving Oracle to Azure – or any other cloud – will be a walk in the park. Indeed, the new white paper runs to 34 pages of explanation, analysis, and process.

On its fourth page, Microsoft points out that "Oracle does not appear to make it easy to migrate anywhere but Oracle Cloud" and notes that the first obstacle Big Red places in the path of would-be movers is a punitive licensing scheme that counts "two vCPUs as equivalent to one Oracle Processor license if multithreading of processor cores is enabled, and one vCPU as equivalent to one Oracle Processor license if multi-threading of processor cores is not enabled."

But as the paper unfurls, Microsoft suggests its memory-optimized D, E and M series instance types will get the job done – along with plenty of other Azure services.

Microsoft's even been decent enough to add a few caveats about items like Oracle's recovery manager – a popular Big Red backup tool – often stressing networks and CPUs, and the complexity of applications built around Oracle's database meaning a certain degree of difficulty is unavoidable. The Beast of Redmond has also admitted that Azure's vanilla solid state disks can't cut it – you'll need both the Premium SSD service at a bare minimum, plus Premium SSD with Ultra disk support for redo logs, and probably Azure NetApp Files once you scale.

Cheap, this is not.

One thing the paper omits is whether all the work it describes will see an Azure-based Oracle rig beat the price that Oracle can offer in its own cloud.

But by the time you've migrated, and tried to assess the costs avoided, would anyone be able to tell? ®

Bootnote We've saved a copy of the white paper here [PDF] in case Microsoft moves it.


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