Oracle in AWS EC2: a Match Made in Heaven

Nick Stachniak, Senior Solutions Architect, Databases

The Oracle RDBMS is one of the most mature and successful relational database implementations in IT history. Oracle is feature-rich, has bundled suites of products that dovetail perfectly with the RDBMS, and is, in short, the Mercedes-Benz of relational database technology. It is for this reason that it pairs so well with EC2 in AWS environments. Oracle as a technological software standard demands certain certified OS platforms to work with the RDBMS. The platforms are certified with Oracle software and are listed in the Oracle installation guide as a matter of course. A relevant example OS platform certified with Oracle is Redhat Linux. Versions 6, 7, and 8 of this software are the most prevalent implementations in production, test, and development environments. The Redhat OS is also a standard offering in the EC2 environment and is widely used by small companies and large enterprises alike. The EC2 platform is perfect for use with Oracle because it is the proverbial blank canvas, deployable through the AWS console in relatively short order.

AWS EC2 for Oracle: How it Works

The AWS console is easy to use, convenient, and facilitates the configuration of EC2 instances on demand, through either an AMI image or by simply building the EC2 instance from scratch. The console allows a skilled systems administrator to even automate the building of the instances through scripts and DevOps software tools that make deploying systems more efficient. The AWS platform is so feature-rich and easy to use that these deployments are now industry standards for cloud computing organizations. The Oracle RDBMS does not just require a particular certified OS, it also requires that the system is configured and running with the requisite OS packages and/or rpms. These requirements are delineated by Oracle in metalink support documents such as Requirements for Installing Oracle Database 19c on OL7 or RHEL7 64-bit (x86-64) (Doc ID 2551169.1)

This highly successful series of support documents offer DBAs a step-by-step installation process that is well documented and allows the DBA and SA to create a new EC2 instance. This is then perfectly configured for the installation of Oracle RDBMS software and creation of the relational database with the configuration assistant. Each Oracle database has certain requirements in terms of CPU, RAM, networking, and IO that are highly configurable in the EC2 environment. The AWS console allows the SA and DBA to work together and use customized templates and sizing specifications perfectly suited to a particular relational database. If for example, the RDBMS is an online transaction processing (OLTP) system that requires an incredibly fast network and IO throughput, the DBA and SA may choose from a plethora of high-speed computing configurations already built into the AWS console. Simply by choosing a configuration from a drop-down menu, the SA and DBA may use these highly specific computing templates for a perfect fit to the Oracle RDBMS’s needs. This accounts for all factors from database data processing down to the required IOPS for devices chosen from the EBS menus in the console. The SA and DBA can then create a nearly ideal configuration relevant to IO, networking, CPU, and memory utilization, as well as any other operating system-specific considerations for the particular database and/or version of the Oracle RDBMS. 

In this way, the SA and the DBA can allocate a configuration to a particular database and/or set of databases that will efficiently compute and process data on the AWS EC2 instance. The fact that the EC2 instance is so highly configurable through the AWS console is what makes this process feasible. An SA and DBA may specify a VM or EC2 instance that is perfectly pre-configured such that the organization does not over-allocate or waste processing capabilities. “The myth of the well-managed data center,” as our CTO Stephen Manley likes to say, is what comes into play in this scenario. 

It is easy to over-allocate either network capacity, CPU, RAM, or IOPS to a particular server in a data center and risk expensive cost overruns. This faux pas regularly occurs in the building of data centers as well as cloud computing environments. The power of the AWS console and EC2 instance is that it is so highly configurable that if the SA and DBA over-allocate specific computing resources to the EC2 instance running the RDBMS, they may reconfigure the instance to make the server smaller. This allows the correction of mistakes to conserve computing or data processing capabilities, and thus reduce expenses. This relates to computing costs, storage costs, or other costs like network processing capabilities. 

Druva and Suez Water Technologies

One of the other capabilities that an AWS customer may leverage in EC2 is the Druva Resiliency Cloud that lives within EC2 environments. A great example of the capabilities of Druva’s solution for Oracle comes from the case study of our highly respected customer, Suez Water Technologies. In the case study, the solutions architect of Suez, Timothy Loranger, explains how Suez leveraged Druva’s software in conjunction with its EC2 platform in AWS to organize its backups and save the company hundreds of thousands in AWS platform costs, as well as backup and recovery. Over time, Suez management and Mr. Loranger analyzed their entire Oracle infrastructure in EC2 to consolidate the infrastructure and streamline it. Unlike a data center, the platform offered insight into the amount of storage being allocated to local backup destinations on the EC2 instances where their Oracle RDBMS were running.

Suez chose Druva’s Phoenix Backup Store and CloudRanger as solutions to consolidate backups of Oracle and SAP. Additionally, SaaS applications eliminated cost overruns for EBS snapshots of EC2 VMs and backups of Oracle databases with RMAN to local disk destinations on EC2. The Suez case study is a story about how to leverage the AWS EC2 platform and its attendant tools and software to configure, maintain, and ultimately reshape the computing platform and streamline business processes. It also illustrates how AWS leverages partners like Druva to enhance customers’ experiences in the EC2 environment, and ultimately increase savings relevant to their computing, backup, and recovery needs. 

RAC for EC2

Druva makes similar deallocations of storage feasible by consolidating Oracle backups on the Phoenix Backup Store, and by eliminating the need for AWS EBS snapshots by leveraging Druva CloudRanger.

In fact, in recent history, Druva also participated in what is known as the RAC Beta program — which is now officially live in AWS EC2! As a long-time database practitioner, I welcomed the opportunity to test out the Rapid Deployment Kit, or RDK. The result was an easy to deploy, complete RAC solution from end to end. All that is required is a simple YAML file used in the AWS Console to deploy the RAC configuration. The entire process takes approximately an hour. The only prerequisites to starting the installation are a very simple deployment of an S3 bucket and uploading the zip files from Oracle for GRID_HOME and DB_HOME. These are then leveraged by the RDK to deploy the software for the cluster and the CRS stack, as well as creating a simple and straightforward starter database in the database home. The ease of using the AWS tools, or RDK, made deploying a complete RAC cluster very simple. This completes the Oracle story in EC2, as RAC was the only piece of the Oracle software stack previously unavailable in EC2. 

Cloud Computing with EC2 to Streamline your Data Center

A cloud computing platform like EC2 that has the attendant tools and services to literally remake your computing environment is illustrative of how passe the data center has become. The typical data center configuration over consumes power, and over allocates CPU, RAM, IOPS, and network capacity. These configurations are rigid and not alterable. You typically must grow into them, or even worse, they are spec’d out under capacity require constant attention to add capacity. You buy the hardware and capacity, and deploy in the hopes that it will suit the needs of your organization, but the myth of the well-run data center isn’t just an observation — it’s a curse! 

The result is a higher total cost of ownership for any organization when running a data center when compared to a cloud computing environment with a strong computing platform, such as EC2, offering up the best in tools, services, and partners like Druva! 

Next Steps

Visit Druva’s Oracle page to further explore how your IT team can improve your database resiliency with Druva’s proven cloud backup-as-a-service, and download our DBA guide.