Businesses around the world are moving their on-premises databases, applications, and infrastructure to the cloud to benefit from reduced costs, increased flexibility, enhanced security, and more. These migrations present challenges, including ensuring business continuity, alongside their opportunities. As the CEO and CTO at FlashGrid, I’ll describe in this guest blog post how FlashGrid Cloud Cluster for Oracle RAC in the Azure Marketplace solves the problems of moving sensitive and mission-critical Oracle RAC databases to Microsoft Azure, and I’ll show some practical examples of success.
Many enterprises have invested heavily in their on-premises Oracle deployment – from the Oracle software to the server, storage, and network infrastructure and applications that augment the database – as well as on highly trained professionals to manage and maintain the systems. Coupled with this, organizations keep their most sensitive and mission-critical data in Oracle databases, and any decision to introduce new hardware or software into this environment is not taken lightly.
Why would an organization consider migrating its Oracle databases to Azure?
When considering a move to Azure, mission-critical Oracle databases come into focus in two possible ways:
Organizations face a challenge: Migrate Oracle to Azure for all the benefits of cloud without destabilizing the environment by introducing unacceptable risk to the availability, performance, and manageability of the database.
At FlashGrid we make database infrastructure simple, fast, and highly available. FlashGrid engineered cloud systems and Storage Fabric software enable organizations to keep full control of their backend databases while achieving high performance and uptime on Azure.
Helping customers worldwide across finance, SaaS, e-commerce, healthcare, and other industries confidently move their Oracle databases to Azure has earned FlashGrid recognition as a Microsoft Partner of the Year 2020 finalist. Customers deploy FlashGrid for lift-and-shift migration of existing Oracle RAC databases to Azure, for the migration of existing Oracle databases from high-end on-premises servers to Azure without reducing availability service level agreements (SLAs), and for the design of new mission-critical applications for the cloud based on the Oracle database engine.
FlashGrid Cluster on Azure helps organizations take the risk out of migrating Oracle to the cloud. Based on proven FlashGrid and Oracle clustering technologies, FlashGrid offers a high-availability database architecture that allows active-active or fail-over clustering and mitigates the lack of control over compute and storage resources. The automated FlashGrid Launcher helps eliminate configuration errors, so creating an Oracle RAC cluster on Azure can be accomplished in under two hours.
Delivered as a fully integrated infrastructure-as-code template, FlashGrid can be customized and deployed to an Azure account with a few mouse clicks. Key components of FlashGrid on Azure include:
How it works
Database clusters are delivered as infrastructure-as-code templates for automated and repeatable deployments. FlashGrid Cluster enables a variety of RAC cluster configurations on Azure. Two- or three-node clusters are recommended in most cases, but clusters with four or more nodes can be used for extra high availability (HA) or performance. To ensure the highest degree of fault isolation, nodes of a cluster can be spread across availability zones.
A key feature of FlashGrid is cloud area network (CLAN), which enables running high-speed clustered applications on Azure with the efficiency and control of a local area network (LAN). Oracle RAC architecture requires:
FlashGrid Cloud Area Network addresses these requirements by creating a set of high-speed virtual LANs and ensuring quality of service between them. Each type of traffic has its own virtual LAN with a separate virtual network interface controller (NIC) for minimum guaranteed bandwidth allocation for each traffic type while accommodating traffic bursts. Transparent virtual internet protocol (IP) failover between nodes ensures uptime SLAs.
Locally attached disks are turned into shared disks accessible from all nodes in the cluster when using FlashGrid Storage Fabric software. Sharing is done at the block level with concurrent access from all nodes. FlashGrid Cluster leverages Oracle Automatic Storage Management (ASM) technology for disk group management, data mirroring, and high availability.
FlashGrid Cluster has a fully distributed architecture with no single point of failure. The architecture leverages HA capabilities built into Oracle Clusterware, ASM, and Database. Azure offers two features that allow protecting a cluster from two virtual machines (VMs) going offline simultaneously: Availability Sets and Availability Zones. By leveraging Azure Availability Sets or Availability Zones, FlashGrid Cluster enables better fault isolation compared to typical on-premises environments.
FlashGrid engineers have deep experience with both Azure and Oracle technology and have helped many customers deploy Oracle on Azure for maximum uptime, performance, and manageability.
For medical imaging customer Nuance PowerShare, FlashGrid provides a highly available database backend for delivering a continuous and uninterrupted medical image sharing service while taking advantage of the flexibility and agility of the Azure cloud infrastructure. Nuance PowerShare is now protected against unexpected infrastructure or software failures with zero recovery point objective (RPO) and recovery time objective (RTO) and can conduct maintenance operations on the database nodes with no service downtime.
For a major luxury retailer deploying an e-commerce solution for the China market, FlashGrid on Azure China proved to be a winner. The FlashGrid high availability solution ensures their strict uptime SLA is never compromised. With proven dependability FlashGrid has been deployed in production and runs the retailer’s entire China online business. Whether it is a maintenance or infrastructure failure, the active-active HA allows the retailer to run its site without service interruption so that it never misses a sale.
International metal processing equipment manufacturer Salvagnini Group had the daunting task of consolidating to Azure infrastructure as a service (IaaS) the IT infrastructure of its 22 companies in 20 countries across three continents encompassing 1,800 end users. Compounding the problem was the tight deadline by which it had to be completed. At the heart of the IT infrastructure was a mission-critical Oracle RAC database cluster that would need to undergo a lift-and-shift to Azure. Because this was a critical database there was no option for planned or unplanned downtime leading up to the consolidation, during, or after the transition. It simply could not go down. Salvagnini Group trusted its Oracle RAC lift-and-shift to FlashGrid.
FlashGrid’s proven uptime, performance, and reliability did not disappoint. With the transition complete, Salvagnini Group has realized the database cluster is now simpler to manage while still meeting strict availability requirements. Salvagnini Group was also able to preserve its significant investment in existing applications, including the skillset to operate and maintain them, because FlashGrid retains compatibility with existing applications.
You’ve invested heavily in your mission-critical Oracle databases and have taken every step to mitigate risk. FlashGrid removes the risk of running Oracle in the cloud and allows you to move to Azure without compromising SLAs, performance, or scalability.
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