Cloud First (again)

cloudDuring OpenWorld I wrote about my thoughts on Cloud First, an approach Oracle is taking for some of its products now. A discussion on Oracle-L has sparked this post.

One of things I hoped Cloud First would accomplish was to allow Oracle to fix more of the bugs before they dropped the on-premise release. Let’s look at the current 12.2 timeline.

  • 20th September (approx): The first 12.2 product was the Exadata Express, where you get a PDB in a fully managed cloud service, was released at OpenWorld. At least up until a few days ago this service was running was That doesn’t sound like an on-premise release number to me.
  • 4-5th November: At the end of last week the Database Cloud Service (DBaaS) on Oracle Public Cloud got an update to allow you to provision instances. That sounds kind-of like the version number of a first on-premise release to me. Also, the DBaaS offering is not automatically patched, so Oracle must have a reasonable level of confidence with this release if they are happy to put production DBaaS customers on it. 🙂 There is no installation media on this service, but there is a zip of the “app/oracle/product/12.2.0/dbhome_1” directory structure in the “/scratch/db/db12201_bits.tar.gz” file.
  • Currently the Database Cloud Service (Virtual Image), which builds a VM with installation media in the “/scratch” directory, does not allow yet. Either they’ve not had time to finish this yet, or they don’t want to make getting the installation media so easy. 🙂
  • 8th November: There has been some limited 12.2 documentation around since the release of Exadata Express, but the “proper” 12.2 documentation was released yesterday. There are still some missing bits, like the install/upgrade manuals, which is not surprising as they are not necessary for Exadata Express or DBaaS.

So as far as I’m concerned, we have only just got a product that resembles an on-premise release now. The meaning of Cloud First will be judged by how long it takes from *now* for the on-premise release to drop. If it happens soon I will be in the “Cloud First has worked out OK” camp. If there is an extended period between now and the on-premise release, I will be switching my allegiance to the conspiracy theory camp. 🙂



PS. It’s possible there is still some work to put together conventional installation media. I have no knowledge of the internal processed at Oracle.

Cloud First : What does it mean to me?

cloudThe announcement that several Oracle products will be released “Cloud First” from now on has been an interesting talking point for many of us. I think I first heard this message at last years OOW, but I can’t remember if it was public, or in a meeting covered by an NDA. There have been public statements about this since then, but at OOW16 we have the first example that directly affect me!

Oracle Database 12c Release 2 is here, kind-of. If you sign up for the “Oracle Database Exadata Express Cloud Service” you will get a PDB on Oracle 12.2. So what are my thoughts on Cloud First?

Conspiracy: “Oracle are forcing us on to their cloud. Won’t someone think of the children?” Come on. Let’s be real. I speak to people all the time who have yet to get all their systems to Oracle 11g. Making them wait a bit longer for 12.2 is not going to be a big deal for most businesses.

Bugs: The Oracle database is a big and complicated product. It is inevitable that new versions will contain bugs. The most important point is how long will it take to fix them? In the past we have had the, “wait for the second release”, and more recently the, “wait for the first patch set”, mindset. I can understand the later. The release was very buggy. The release felt solid. If it is done *properly*, Cloud First will allow Oracle to patch bugs really quickly, so most users never have to encounter them **. By the time we get an on-premise release, it should be solid. Hands up how many people were going to go live with soon after release date? None of you? Yeah. I guessed that. Perhaps when we get the first on-premise release of 12.2 it will actually be production ready!

Quicker release cycle? : For many of the products, the Cloud First approach means they will be able to do a quarterly release cycle, with a yearly on-premise release. I think that’s a good thing. Will it result in the same release cycle for the database? I highly doubt that, but it would be nice if we get releases a bit quicker. A new release every 3-4 years is getting out of hand…

Evangelism: This is one that hits me hard. I’ve not been on the 12.2 beta program. I’ve not had access to the product. Now 12.2 is available I can only get hold of it via a cloud subscription and even then it is fully managed, so I can’t practice many of the DBA tasks on it.

I’m guessing most of the beta testers who have prewritten articles waiting to go live can’t actually release them until the on-premise release appears. If they do, they are not based on the production release. If they are DBA articles, they definintely can’t be released as there is no way they can test DBA stuff on the current production release and releasing articles based on a beta product is doing you a disservice and may still be breaking their NDA.

Without wanting to sound overly dramatic, this means the 12.2 release is “dead to me” until there is an on-premise release. So Oracle should panic because Tim Hall isn’t happy about something right? Of course not. I think evangelists like myself will be affected, but so what? Those articles will still get written ***. They will just arrive a few weeks/months/years later. It’s annoying for me, but it’s not going to bring Oracle down. 🙂

Conclusion : Although the Cloud First approach to product delivery is extremely annoying to me personally, and will keep the conspiracy theorists busy, I can see some really positive sides to it if it’s done correctly. Time will tell!



Updates: Based on comments.

  • ** Of course, someone has to identify the bugs, which is why I said “most users never have to encounter them”. Many companies run with un-patched systems for a long time and encounter bugs that were fixed a long time ago. In an ideal scenario, one customer finds the bug, it gets fixed and everyone is patched preemptively. 🙂
  • *** What about consultants? Until the on-premise release is available, nobody has access to the on-premise product. As a result, you are in the same position as everyone else that was not on the beta. Early adopters, like consultants, will start their early adoption from the point where the on-premise release is available. Who is going to ask you to do DBA work on the version before that? The only access a customer can have is the fully managed system, so nobody. If you *must* be working with 12.2 from day one for fear of being left behind, pay your $170 per month… Judging by the typical adoption timescales, this is not an issue for the vast majority of consultants.