Cloud, cloud and more cloud. We hear it every day. In fact, it has become the thrust of information technology acumen. I’ve been in the technology industry for several years, and I am not surprised that the world is rapidly moving toward the cloud and away from traditional IT systems. Face it: the cloud revolution is here and it’s here to stay.
So, as an Oracle applications user, is cloud a part of your strategy? Are you considering migrating your E-Business Suite, PeopleSoft, JD Edwards or Hyperion applications to the cloud?
Oracle Cloud applications are viable replacements for on-premise suites. The company has developed complete cloud application suites with best practices and data-driven intelligence built into the applications. Oracle's enterprise applications support all types of cloud scenarios, allowing users to connect to other cloud services and integrate with existing systems.
Companies who have deployed Oracle enterprise applications, whether its enterprise resource planning, enterprise performance management, supply chain management, human capital management or any other enterprise application on-premise must consider and make informed decisions about whether to move Oracle applications to the cloud.
To effectively leverage innovative technologies such as AI and IoT, a cloud platform must be a part of your infrastructure. If your business is not part of the 80 per cent of businesses using the cloud, your strategy could be impeding company growth and cost savings.
Companies in various industries are reluctant to consider a cloud platform for fear of loss of control. Fortunately, integrating the cloud does not mean losing transparency and control of your IT environment or losing your on-premise systems, it is simply adding cloud to your IT strategy, where you can create a hybrid infrastructure that preserves investments in on premise resources while adding cloud capabilities.
But, what do CIOs responsible for ERP need to know to make informed decisions about whether to move Oracle enterprise applications to the cloud? The first order of business must be to determine business challenges and opportunities, what cloud platform is best for the business, and when to make the move.
Oracle applications business challenges
Today, CIOs of companies who have deployed on-premise Oracle applications face the following challenges:
- How do I move my most critical Oracle applications to a cloud environment and minimise risk?
- What clouds platforms can meet my compliance requirements?
- How do I prepare for a cloud migration?
- How do I keep up with the rapid pace of technology innovation, change and pressure to reduce cost?
- How do I increase application performance now, before I migrate to the cloud?
- How do I ensure data security in the cloud?
Cloud hosting platforms
There are several ways to manage Oracle applications in the cloud: Private, Public, Hybrid or Managed Cloud.
Public cloud hosting is a multi-tenant environment, where organisations purchase a “server slice” in a cloud computing environment that is shared with other clients or tenants. A public cloud is one based on the standard cloud computing model, in which a service provider makes resources, such as applications and storage, available to the public over the Internet.
Private cloud hosting is computing that delivers similar advantages to public cloud, including scalability and self-service, but through a proprietary architecture. Unlike public clouds, which deliver services to multiple organisations, a private cloud is dedicated to a single organisation. It may be owned, managed and operated by the organisation, a third party, or a combination of the two and may exist on or off premise.
A Hybrid Cloud is a computing environment that uses a mix of on-premises, private cloud and third-party, public cloud services with orchestration between the two platforms.
Private cloud is the right choice if:
- You need sovereignty over your data. This means you want total control over your environment, especially data.
- You need a computing and data management system that follows specific guidelines to be in compliance with local, state and federal rules.
Public cloud is the right choice if:
- You need consistency across all services. If a third party hosts your environment, you will receive a service level agreement (SLA) that helps you meet all of our requirements.
- You need to take advantage of server virtualisation for greater efficiency.
- You need reliable backup services along with a solid Disaster Recovery plan.
- You need predictable IT costs and to lower your TCO.
- You need to upgrade your hardware/software to optimise the overall performance of your IT environment.
Hybrid Cloud is the right choice if:
- You need to run your integral data on a private cloud and other data or services in a public cloud.
On-premise or external hosting?
The decision to manage a cloud platform on-premise or with a third-party hosting/service provider is an integral part of a cloud strategy. The more common option is a public cloud externally hosted in an enterprise-class data centre. It is important to note that companies who deploy public clouds share the same infrastructure pool with limited configurations and security protections, as these factors are managed and supported by the service provider. Private clouds can be hosted either on-premise or externally by a service provider.
On-premise private cloud is hosted within the organisation's data centre, whereas, an externally hosted private cloud environment is hosted by a third-party cloud service provider. Cloud service providers facilitate an exclusive cloud environment with minimised security risk. This format is recommended for organisations that prefer not to use a public cloud infrastructure due to the risks associated with sharing physical resources.
The benefits of a private cloud environment and utilising a managed services provider (MSP) include: flexibility, strong security, regulatory compliance, team augmentation, guaranteed resource availability and cost savings.
Comparing managed cloud providers
A third-party cloud hosting and services provider, that is properly equipped can provide either a private, public or multi-cloud, but if you are seeking a private cloud, the number one item on your list of essential criteria is data sovereignty. You will also want complete operational control of your systems with enhanced security. The following are considerations when selecting a third-party provider:
- Does the vendor offer application virtualisation in addition to desktop virtualisation and the tools to manage everything?
- Can the vendor minimise your costs by leveraging your existing technology investments?
- Does the vendor help you with architectural assistance, deployment guidance and other best practices that apply to your cloud?
- Is the vendor’s infrastructure scalable and flexible to accommodate your needs to ramp up or down?
Most organisations that consider the journey into cloud computing are seeking: predictable IT costs, assistance with data centre consolidation efforts, 24 x 7 x 365 technical support, or the ability to leverage a more efficient, high-performing technical platform. Either a public, private or hybrid cloud are a major step in realising these objectives.
There's obviously a lot to consider when moving your Oracle applications to the cloud. But, is it the right option for your organisation? And, if it is, what are the next steps? Going blindly into a cloud project can have serious ramifications, but there's a solution.
Developing a strategy is the best route to take, from identifying specific business and technology needs to choosing an implementation partner. Migrating to the cloud successfully may mean using outside resources who have years of experience in Oracle cloud migrations.
Richard DeVore is the Director, Oracle Applications at Secure-24
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