Saturday, November 8, 2014

PeopleSoft's paths to the Cloud - Part III

In my previous posts on this series, I have covered how cloud computing could be used to reduce costs and maximize the flexibility of PeopleSoft Development and Production environments. In both cases, I focused on one specific area of cloud computing, Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS).

Today I will explain what kind of benefits can be expected by using another important area: Database as a Service (DBaaS). Instead of using an IaaS provisioned server to install and maintain your database, DBaaS providers take responsibility for installing and maintaining the database.

There are many players in this market, including Amazon, Microsoft and Oracle. The service features may differ, but in a nutshell, they normally offer these capabilities:

  • Backups: the database backups are automated, and you can decide to restore point-in-time backups at any moment. You can also decide when to take a snapshot of your database, which may be eventually be used to create another database instance (for example, to copy your Production database into the User Acceptance environment).
  • High Availability: while some IaaS provider do not support high-availability database solutions such as Oracle RAC (for instance, it is not supported by Amazon EC2), many DBaaS providers include high availability by default.
  • Contingency: some providers maintain a standby copy of your database in another data center. This allows you to quickly restore your system in the case the original data center's services are lost.
  • Patching: although you can decide when to apply a database patch, the DBaaS will do that for you. In many case, you can turn on automatic patching, in order to make sure your database engine is always up to date.
  • Monitoring: providers give the system administrators access to a management console, in which they can monitor the database behavior and add or remove resources as needed.
  • Notifications: in order to simplify the monitoring effort, you normally have the possibility of setting up notifications to be received by email and/or SMS upon a list of events, which may include CPU usage, storage availability, etc.

Under my point of view, these services offer significant advantages for PeopleSoft customers, particularly if your current architecture does not support all the previously mentioned services or you do not have the right DBA skills in-house. Even if your organization does not fall in these categories, the scalability and elasticity of DBaaS providers is very difficult to match by most internal IT organizations.

In any case, if you are interested in using Database as a Service for your PeopleSoft installation, make sure you correctly evaluate what each provider can give you.



4 comments:

Santosh Tripathi said...
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Santosh Tripathi said...
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Daniel Kibler said...

Javier

Thanks for this series. We long been interested in moving our many PeopleSoft instances to the cloud - specifically AWS - but have been daunted by the prospect of trying to automate application installation, update and maintenance. Another issue is replicating large databases from on-premises to the cloud. Perhaps you can address these issues in the future.

I would take issue with your statement about high availability DBaaS on AWS. While it is true that you cannot run RAC on AWS RDS, it is simple to set up multi-AZ replication and transparent failover.

Dan

Javier Delgado said...

Hi Daniel

Thanks for your valuable feedback.

I'm not sure what you mean by being daunted by automating the application installation, update and maintenance. From what we have seen, these tasks are not very different to what you need to do when using on premise facilities. Actually by using AMIs, the duplication of environments could be even easier. Also, you may want to look at my article about using Docker for PeopleSoft. That may also help in simplifying these tasks.

The replication of large database from on-premises to the cloud is certainly a point to consider. Amazon offers a service called Direct Connect, which delivers a much better transfer rate than doing the synchronisation over the internet. Personally, I've never used this service, but I think it could be useful to replicate large databases. In any case, are you looking to a point in time replication to move the on premise infrastructure to the cloud, or is it something you would like to do frequently (i.e.: for setting up a contingency environment on AWS but continuing to use the on premise environments)?

Regarding your comment about RAC, I agree, and that's what I tried to say. Let me rephrase just to make sure I got it right. AWS is not able to host Oracle RAC. However, AWS RDS does provide multi-node capabilities which sets high availability and transparent failover. It's true that in my article I didn't mention RDS specifically, but that's what I wanted to say (in a more generical way) with: "many DBaaS providers include high availability by default.". In any case, your clarification is perfectly right.

Thanks a lot.