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Oracle Databases in the Cloud

This article presents an overview of options for deploying Oracle databases in the cloud.

Related articles.


Some common terms used in this article.

A Word about Pricing

I've avoided mentioning pricing in this article for the following reasons.

General Oracle Licensing for Cloud Providers

For certified cloud providers (Oracle, AWS, Microsoft Azure) Oracle products are licensed based on a physical core on the cloud. The relationship used to be a physical core in the cloud was the equivalent of a physical Intel core.

Physical Cores = vCPUs

How the physical cores are presented in the cloud depends on the cloud provider.

The licensing multiplier for Intel cores is “0.5”. Prior to the update on the 23-Jan-2017 the cloud licensing policy could be described as follows.

Type        vCPUs    Physical Cores    Licenses
========    =====    ==============    ========
AWS            16                 8    8 * 0.5 = 4
Azure           8                 8    8 * 0.5 = 4
Physical      N/A                 8    8 * 0.5 = 4

The cloud licensing policy document changed on 23-Jan-2017 to say that, "When counting Oracle Processor license requirements in Authorized Cloud Environments, the Oracle Processor Core Factor Table is not applicable." This suggests the following licensing approach.

Type        vCPUs    Physical Cores    Licenses
========    =====    ==============    ========
AWS            16                 8           8
Azure           8                 8           8 
Physical      N/A                 8    8 * 0.5 = 4

All features/options are licensed in the normal way, based on the above formula. Licensing for Standard Edition is based on sockets. The relationship between physical cores and sockets is described in the document linked below. This licensing policy is described in the following document.

You should always confirm your licensing requirements with Oracle Licensing Management Services (LMS) or an official licensing partner before embarking on any work with Oracle products in the cloud. It is important you have a contract specifying what you will be using and what you will pay to use it!

Oracle Cloud Offerings

The Oracle Cloud Database offerings and pricing structure are described in the following places.

Oracle currently offer four distinct cloud database services, plus a proposed service that is not currently available. Of these services, only the Database Schema Service is generally available, with the other two available by invite.

There are addition cloud services, like Exadata Cloud Service and Bare Metal, but they are not the normal Oracle Public cloud offerings.

You can see examples of using schema and database as a service here.

Amazon AWS and RDS

Amazon’s cloud platform is called Amazon Web Services (AWS), which amongst many other services allows Oracle databases to be run in two distinct ways.

Both methods allow SQL*Net access to the database, so existing applications can connect without modification to the technology stack.

You can see examples of using EC2 and RDS here.

Microsoft Azure

Oracle certifies and supports many of their products on Microsoft’s hypervisor (Hyper-V) and their cloud services called Azure.

There is no DBaaS offering for Oracle, so if you want to use Azure, you would be responsible for the management of the operating systems and database in the virtual machines.

Microsoft provides ready built images of Oracle database and WebLogic installations on Windows operating systems, but there are currently no pre-built images for Oracle products on Oracle Linux. Microsoft support Oracle Linux running inside an Azure VM, so the lack of pre-built images is not a road block.

You can see an example of using Azure here.

VMware vCloud Air

There is currently nothing to indicate the level of support and certification for Oracle products running under VMware vCloud Air. Also, since VMware vCloud Air is not listed as a certified cloud provider for Oracle products, the cloud licensing rules do not apply to them, so get confirmation of licensing before using this service.

Assuming the previous issues are resolved in future, you will be literally a button press away from migrating your existing VMs to this cloud service.

VMware recently announced a new “Hybrid Cloud” service called VMware vCloud Air.

This is quite an attractive proposition for people already using VMware as the cloud servers are managed using your existing tools and appear to be part of your on-premise (private) cloud, so services can be live-migrated between your local VMware clusters to the cloud service and back again.

As you would expect, management of the operating system and database will be no different to what you do at the moment.

Quick Tips

Using X emulation from most cloud providers is incredibly slow and painful, but it's easy to avoid it.

Get used to doing silent installations! Build a response file on a client using the Oracle Universal Installer (OUI).

$ ./runInstaller -record -destinationFile /tmp/11gR2.rsp

Use the response file on the cloud server to perform a silent installation.

$ ./runInstaller -silent -ignoreSysPrereqs -responseFile /tmp/11gR2.rsp

In a similar way, you should get used to using the Database Configuration Assistant (DBCA) in silent mode. You can either specify all parameters on the command line, or use a response file.

$ dbca -silent -createDatabase \
 -templateName General_Purpose.dbc \
 -gdbname cdb1 -sid cdb1 -responseFile NO_VALUE \
 -characterSet AL32UTF8 \
 -sysPassword OraPasswd1 \
 -systemPassword OraPasswd1 \
 -createAsContainerDatabase true \
 -numberOfPDBs 1 \
 -pdbName pdb1 \
 -pdbAdminPassword OraPasswd1 \
 -databaseType MULTIPURPOSE \
 -automaticMemoryManagement false \
 -storageType FS \

Connections to cloud services are over public networks (the internet), so you need to make sure all connections are encrypted. This is easy to do with Oracle using Native Network Encryption or TCP/IP with SSL/TLS.


There are a number of concerns associated with moving any service to the cloud. These have to be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Middle Tier in the Cloud

One of the concerns about moving a database to the cloud relates to the latency and data transfers between the application servers and databases. All the cloud providers listed above would allow you to run WebLogic, Apache and Tomcat in the cloud, thereby minimizing any latency issues between them.

The impact of possible separation of the between the database and application server must be assessed on a case by case basis.

For more information see:

Hope this helps. Regards Tim...

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