Oracle Is Now Bringing The Cloud To The Enterprise Edge

By Patrick Moorhead - February 23, 2021

Today, Oracle announced Oracle Roving Edge Infrastructure to deliver core infrastructure services to remote locations. The initial release will be available to government customers with general availability to all verticals around the middle of the year. 

In this article, I will describe the infrastructure and use cases, the consumption model, and finally, explain why I think this is a strategic announcement that deserves your attention.

Oracle Roving Edge Device

Oracle Roving Edge Infrastructure

Oracle Roving Edge Infrastructure consists of ruggedized, portable, scalable server nodes called Roving Edge Devices (REDs). An Oracle RED device contains high- performance hardware, including 40 OCPUs, an NVIDIA T4 Tensor Core GPU, 512 GB RAM, and 61 TB of storage. REDs can deploy into groups of 5 to 15 nodes in a single cluster. Connectivity options are two 100 gigabit ports and two 10 gigabit ports.

Oracle Roving Edge Infrastructure is a fully mobile, connection-independent extension of customers’ Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) tenancy with a similar interface and workflow to provide a consistent, unified experience. 

It enables customers to operate cloud applications and workloads in the field, including machine learning inference, real-time data integration, and replication, augmented analytics, and query-intensive data warehouses. Also, it delivers cloud computing and storage services at the edge of networks for government and enterprise organizations, enabling low-latency processing closer to the point of data generation and ingestion, which provides timely insights into data. 

The consumption model

When you sign up for Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI), Oracle creates a tenancy for your company, a secure and isolated partition within Oracle Cloud Infrastructure where you can create, organize, and administer your cloud resources.

When available, Oracle Roving Edge will appear as an option to be ordered. The system will then walk you through loading virtual machines and data. Once configured, the server is disconnected from your tenancy and shipped to you.  If you don't trust the transit system used, you can pick it up at an air gapped location in the Oracle data center to deploy in your environment. 

A code unlocks the device to activate it in the local environment and then, with network connectivity, is managed through the OCI control plane. It will operate in a connected model, but the real advantage is serving as a disconnected service that syncs back to the cloud.

This solution provides the flexibility of location and a high degree of control to run an identical set of Oracle Cloud services entirely disconnected from the internet and minimize dependencies on the public cloud. 

The cost is $160 per node per day. This flat per day pricing is in effect while the server is out in production. Once the server comes back and is locked back into the OCI station, billing stops. An example in a military scenario might be deploying in airplanes for a few days to collect data then log it back into a government region to synchronize data to create a battle plan.  

There is an option for the customer to keep the device, which will incur a loss fee based on how long you've had it.

Oracle’s Unique Approach to VMware 

The Oracle Cloud VMware Solution provides a dedicated, cloud-native VMware-based environment that enables enterprises to quickly and easily move production VMware workloads to OCI using familiar VMware tools. The solution provides customers with the equivalent experience in the cloud as in on-premise data centers and seamlessly integrates with Oracle's cloud infrastructure.

With the Oracle Cloud VMware Solution, customers have complete access and control of the VMware environment, including root access, full control of the cluster, managing it, and even choosing when, or whether, to upgrade the stack's elements. It provides the performance, management, and familiarity of an on-premises VMware cluster while automating and scaling the infrastructure.

Once deployed into your tenancy, you control your VMware environment. Oracle does not see metadata or anything inside the VMware environment. 

Dedicated Region Cloud@Customer 

Some customers must have workloads that run on-premises for compliance, regulatory, and performance-related reasons. These include customers primarily in the financial services, healthcare, insurance industries, and sovereign nations legally obligated to host applications. These customers want the benefits of cloud computing on-premises but must invest in on-premises infrastructure, with the operational burden of managing IT workloads. 

With Oracle Dedicated Region Cloud@Customer which I wrote about here, enterprises can easily consolidate mission-critical database systems, with previously deployed applications on-premises hardware on the highly available and secure Oracle Cloud Infrastructure - creating operational efficiencies and modernization opportunities. Customers can choose public cloud services in the Oracle Cloud, including Autonomous Database, Container Engine for Kubernetes, Bare Metal Servers, Exadata Cloud Service, and only pay for services consumed. 

Oracle Dedicated Region Cloud@Customer keeps data and customer operations isolated from the internet – where the control plane and data plane operations remain on-premises – to help customers meet the most demanding compliance and latency requirements. With a fully-managed experience and access to new capabilities available in the public cloud, Oracle Dedicated Region Cloud@Customer offers cloud-scale security, resiliency and scale, and support for mission-critical workloads with tools to modernize legacy workloads incrementally. 

In summary, Oracle Dedicated Region Cloud@Customer offers cloud-scale security, resiliency, superior performance, and scale to support mission-critical workloads. It allows you to build modern applications in your data center at the same predictable low pricing offered in Oracle's public cloud regions. Meet the most demanding data residency or latency requirements while accessing the public cloud's operational efficiencies, innovation opportunities, and economics. What I like most about it is its simplicity. It’s literally an exact copy of what’s in the public cloud on the company’s premise.

Wrapping up

I believe Oracle has a unique, comprehensive hybrid cloud portfolio, and the introduction of the Oracle Roving Edge Infrastructure strengthens the story. 

Oracle’s hybrid story is part of a rethinking of the cloud that the engineers have been working on for several years and is now coming to fruition. 

The other major cloud providers achieved massive scale built on a fabric that was VM and container-centric. Oracle took a different approach to engineer a cloud at the bare metal, which then creates the ability to have hybrid control planes like VMware. While I was previously harsh on Oracle’s first-generation cloud and I think Oracle’s second-generation infrastructure rethinks the infrastructure. Not all cloud players rethought the platform layer. In the future, it will be interesting to see how Oracle can reinvent platform services that can take advantage of that infrastructure.

Note: Moor Insights & Strategy writers and editors may have contributed to this article. 

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Patrick founded the firm based on his real-world world technology experiences with the understanding of what he wasn’t getting from analysts and consultants. Ten years later, Patrick is ranked #1 among technology industry analysts in terms of “power” (ARInsights)  in “press citations” (Apollo Research). Moorhead is a contributor at Forbes and frequently appears on CNBC. He is a broad-based analyst covering a wide variety of topics including the cloud, enterprise SaaS, collaboration, client computing, and semiconductors. He has 30 years of experience including 15 years of executive experience at high tech companies (NCR, AT&T, Compaq, now HP, and AMD) leading strategy, product management, product marketing, and corporate marketing, including three industry board appointments.