Equinix and Oracle® Showcase Strategy to Optimize Cloud Performance for Digital Business at Oracle OpenWorld

Robert Blackburn

Oracle’s Larry Ellison focused his first keynote at last week’s Oracle OpenWorld on the company’s next generation of cloud computing. Source: Oracle.

Last week, Oracle made a bold promise to the business and IT professionals attending Oracle OpenWorld 2018 in San Francisco: Achieve tomorrow’s business goals today. Oracle Executive Chairman and CTO Larry Ellison outlined the company’s strategy for delivering on that promise, by highlighting its “self-driving” Oracle Autonomous Database and re-architected cloud platform, purpose-built for the enterprise (Oracle Gen 2 Cloud), along with its “Star Wars cyber defense.”

“I’m not talking about a few software changes here and a few software changes there,” Ellison said. “I’m talking about a completely new hardware configuration for the cloud.”

Walking the OpenWorld floor, it was clear that the enterprises and partner organizations gathered there were eager to realize Ellison’s vision. They are working to make digital transformations that will increase their operational efficiency, improve their customer experiences, grow their revenues and strengthen their competitive positions. But while emerging technologies like AI/ML, IoT, human interface and blockchain have the potential to reshape their businesses in many positive and lasting ways over time, in the near-term they are introducing a level of complexity that’s pushing traditional IT infrastructures and networks over the tipping point.

We’re excited to be working closely with Oracle and help enterprises tackle this major challenge by optimizing access to Oracle Cloud on our global interconnection platform. Why does this matter? Because it gives businesses the ability to rapidly deploy the scalable, resilient and secure hybrid cloud and multicloud infrastructures they need to help today’s reality catch up to tomorrow’s dreams.

Integrating hybrid and multicloud infrastructures in an more autonomous world

Oracle CEO Mark Hurd recapped his previous cloud predictions from two years ago in his opening keynote. He emphasized how cloud adoption is moving faster than expected, stating that by 2025 all enterprise data will be stored in the cloud. He also stressed how foundational cloud has become to modern business, predicting that by 2025 the number of corporate-owned data centers will have decreased by 80% as businesses shift their IT infrastructures to the cloud.

To advance toward this bright enterprise cloud future, it is important to tackle a core challenge: the new demands of integrating, securing and controlling multiple clouds along with on-premises systems and databases are well beyond the capabilities of most centralized legacy IT infrastructures, networks and security systems. And in a more autonomous world, where AI, ML and robotic machine-to-machine interactions will be core to every application, autonomous communications need to be instantaneous. Enterprises’ big data and latency-sensitive workload transfer requirements have outgrown the public internet’s unpredictable traffic congestion and transmission inconsistency. The fast, reliable and secure delivery of data traffic is critical to digital business success, and today’s enterprises need a more direct and integrated approach to interconnecting clouds with on-premises IT infrastructures and distributed intelligent devices.

How Equinix optimizes direct and secure, private interconnection to Oracle Cloud globally

At this year’s Oracle OpenWorld, we demonstrated how Equinix and Oracle work together to enable high-performance, reliable and secure cloud environments via our combined private interconnection solution: Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) FastConnect via Equinix Cloud Exchange Fabric™ (ECX Fabric™). This fast, scalable interconnection solution complements Oracle’s next-generation autonomous database and cloud platform services by delivering direct and secure low-latency, high-bandwidth connectivity to Oracle Cloud. The result is an optimized hybrid/multicloud infrastructure that can support growing amounts of data and workload traffic on a global scale.

This is all possible without compromising on security since data traffic flows over private, trusted endpoints. Whether you choose to connect to Oracle Cloud on-premises or in an Equinix International Business Exchange (IBX®) data center, with ECX Fabric you can reach your Oracle IaaS and PaaS solutions with the benefit of direct and secure interconnection.

Last week, Oracle announced new cloud regions coming online by the end of 2019 in Australia, Canada, Europe, Japan, South Korea, India, Brazil, the Middle East, and the United States. This expansion complements an existing edge network-much of which is hosted in Equinix IBX data centers. ECX Fabric makes OCI FastConnect available in 29 metros worldwide through an on-demand, software-defined network, billed on a per-day basis. It enables you to remotely access Oracle Cloud directly or via participating network service providers, even in metros with no local OCI FastConnect presence. For example, if you’re based in Dallas and physically connected to ECX Fabric, you can dynamically interconnect to Oracle Cloud in Ashburn, Virginia-within minutes at the click of a button. You can also connect to a variety of other cloud platforms using ECX Fabric APIs or the ECX Fabric Customer Portal to enable a hybrid/multicloud infrastructure.

Fortifying a “Star Wars cyber defense”

In Mark Hurd’s keynote “The Role of Security and Privacy in a Globalized Society-Threats, Implications and Opportunities,” he discussed the current security landscape and threats with former leaders from U.S. and U.K. intelligence and security agencies. They described the current state of global cybersecurity as increasingly complex, immediate and persistent, and called cyberspace the “new battlefield” in which both the private and public sectors are engaged.

This underscores the need for what Ellison dubbed “Star Wars cyber defense” in Oracle’s next-gen enterprise cloud. He explained that the next generation of enterprise cloud is protected by impenetrable barriers that block threats from getting into the cloud and autonomous robots that find those threats and “kill ’em.” The barriers refer to a new network of dedicated, independent cloud control computers that basically surround the perimeter of Oracle Cloud to fight off cyberattacks. Given that many cyberattacks are automated, Oracle is fighting fire with fire with these autonomous security features, leveraging AI/ML for greater resiliency and more immediate response and recovery.

In our Oracle OpenWorld presentation “Architecting the Enterprise Digital Transformation,” we described how a private interconnection platform such as Equinix makes hybrid/multicloud infrastructures more secure by enabling the segmentation and control of sensitive data traffic. This is accomplished by using Interconnection Oriented Architecture (IOA®) best practices at the edge, where most data is created, processed, analyzed and stored either on-premises or in the cloud. An IOA strategy also enables direct and secure, private access to valuable security platforms, such as those offered with Oracle’s next-gen enterprise cloud, to better fortify cloud security.

Managing hybrid and multicloud security via HSM as a service

Throughout OpenWorld, Oracle presenters emphasized security as a key building block of its next-generation cloud platform. Data privacy and security are critical to optimizing the cloud for today’s businesses, especially for highly regulated sectors like healthcare, financial services, and government agencies. Yet we see these kinds of extremely security-conscious organizations struggle to manage encryption keys and data across different clouds in different places. Add to the mix multiple security policies and changing government regulations, and it’s clear that legacy hardware security module (HSM) systems can’t deliver the agile, consistent and cost-effective security that can be delivered as a cloud service.

Companies need the flexibility to use whatever cloud infrastructure they choose while protecting their data no matter where they store it. For Oracle customers who want to store their encryption keys at a neutral third-party location, separate from their data, Equinix SmartKeyTM is the ideal hybrid/multicloud, HSM as a service solution. With Equinix SmartKey, you can remotely store encryption keys across your application portfolio with the flexibility, scalability and cost-effectiveness that only a cloud neutral, SaaS-based solution can provide. Equinix SmartKey is available to all enterprises, including those that are not in Equinix data centers. An Equinix SmartKey demo is available on Oracle Marketplace.

Equinix and Oracle Cloud interconnection enterprise use cases

We typically see our enterprise customers leveraging the Equinix global interconnection platform and OCI FastConnect in several different ways. These are a few examples of common use cases:

  • Remote Hybrid Cloud: Customers interconnect to Oracle Cloud directly from their on-premises data centers or their infrastructure within Equinix.
  • Cloud Adjacent: A subset of hybrid cloud where a customer deploys application and database servers in close proximity to the Oracle Cloud to achieve the lowest-possible, single-digit latency within Equinix.
  • Multicloud: Customers access multiple public clouds in conjunction with Oracle Cloud across Equinix IBX data centers via an open, vendor-neutral interconnection platform. Equinix SmartKey also provides businesses an open solution to multicloud encryption key management.

OCI FastConnect with ECX Fabric make up a fundamental building block that enables all of these use cases with consistent ultra-fast, low-latency interconnection.

For example, in a hybrid/multicloud scenario, one of our joint enterprise customers was running its entire IT with an Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) provider. However, it wanted to move its Oracle workloads, specifically the database, to Oracle Cloud to gain the best performance at the lowest cost. The customer leveraged the Equinix interconnection platform as a hub to connect both cloud environments via OCI FastConnect with ECX Fabric, benchmarking less than 2 milliseconds (MS) network latency between Oracle Cloud and the other IaaS provider in the Equinix Washington, D.C. campus.

Think about the huge difference these kinds of performance boosts could make for companies seeking a consistent, high-speed route between Oracle databases and Oracle cloud services to access their mission-critical applications. At Oracle OpenWorld, we described this very scenario in our fireside chat with our joint customer, the HAVI Group (HAVI). HAVI shared a perfect cloud adjacent use case and their incredible story and results are detailed below.

HAVI use case: Hybrid Exadata and OCI disaster recovery (DR) solution with Equinix

HAVI is a global, privately owned company focused on innovating, optimizing and managing the supply chains of leading brands, with a focus on food service and convenience. Offering services in marketing analytics, packaging, supply chain management and logistics, HAVI partners with companies to address challenges big and small across the supply chain, from commodity to customer. HAVI needed to scale its customer inventory forecasting service and implemented a solution based on the Oracle Exadata Database Machine. Per its cloud-first strategy, the company also wanted to deploy a database disaster recovery (DR) solution that would leverage an Oracle Cloud site that was remote from its production facility.

HAVI worked with Oracle and Equinix to colocate its production Exadata data warehouse in an Equinix IBX data center in Chicago and create a DR environment leveraging Oracle Cloud Infrastructure in an Equinix IBX in the Washington, D.C. area. HAVI chose Equinix not only for its global footprint that closely matched its own, but also because of its dedicated interconnection with Oracle Cloud via OCI FastConnect worldwide.

Source: Equinix and HAVI

HAVI interconnected the primary site to the DR site via ECX Fabric and was able to transport the data from the primary database servers to its Ashburn DR site and upload to the Oracle Cloud via OCI FastConnect. The Exadata-based data warehouse helped the company produce 5.6 billion forecasts a day while realizing a performance improvement of up to 30% with a five-fold increase in workload. Currently, HAVI moves 12-15 TB daily over ECX Fabric to their DR site and then to Oracle Cloud via OCI FastConnect, from which they can restore operations for DR. The company reports an overall cost savings of up to 35%. As HAVI Director of Global Data Services Arti Deshpande said at an Oracle OpenWorld panel, “Having an Equinix partnership with OCI FastConnect makes our system run rock solid.”

After our panel session with HAVI, we also heard from many other customers looking to tap the power of interconnection to fully optimize their access to the rich set of services offered by the Oracle Cloud platform, including the recently announced next-gen Oracle Autonomous Database, which runs on OCI. It is a self-driving, self-securing and self-repairing database that continues running during updates to support what Oracle calls the “modern cloud experience.”

As Jim Battenberg, Senior Director of Oracle IaaS Product Marketing, who moderated the panel session said, “Companies use multiple clouds. We know not everyone uses Oracle Cloud. You need a company like Equinix who are connected to everyone.”

Equinix and Oracle: Accelerating digital business

On the Equinix global interconnection platform for digital business, everything you need to create an Oracle Cloud-based hybrid/multicloud infrastructure is within reach, including the next generation of enterprise cloud, new core-to-edge security capabilities and the rich set of new autonomous services from Oracle.

For more information, check out our Oracle Global Alliance page.