This week when Oracle rolled out what it described as an infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) offering, it got a lot of tongues wagging among cloud computing purists. The new offering that Oracle identified as being IaaS consists of a set of servers and appliances, including an Oracle Exadata Database Machine, Oracle Exalogic Elastic Cloud, Oracle SPARC SuperCluster, Oracle Exalytics In-Memory Machine and an Oracle Sun ZFS Storage Appliance that IT organizations can opt to deploy on premise to have additional capacity available on demand.
Technically, that capacity on demand could be made available as an extension of a private cloud. Given the fact that Oracle see that capacity as infrastructure that it is making available as part of a service, Oracle applied the IaaS moniker.
Regardless of the terminology, Juan Loaiza, senior vice president for Oracle software development, says customers shouldn’t allow a debate about the definition of cloud computing stand in the way of taking advantage of a really good deal. Available as a monthly service, Loaiza says the new IaaS offering gives IT organizations all the financial benefits of cloud computing, including being able to treat these assets as an operational rather than capital expense. In addition, Loaiza notes the service is available on demand, which means rather than having to invest in a system to handle peak application workloads, customers can “rightsize” their IT investments around the cost of supporting their average workload requirements.
There’s nothing particularly new about the concept of “capacity on demand.” But like a lot of vendors Oracle is stretching the definition of cloud computing in a world where the cloud is going to be hybrid for the foreseeable future. As he notes, there are a lot of good reasons to build a private cloud, not the least of which include better performance and security.
There are, of course, multiple ways of providing additional capacity in a private cloud. But only Oracle can provide that additional capacity using, for example, Exalogic or Exalytics platforms that are specifically tuned for Oracle databases and applications.
It may be too early to put aside existing cloud computing terminology all together. But we’re rapidly approaching the point where despite the best efforts of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the term is becoming another meaningless buzzword. You can argue all day long whether that’s a good or bad thing, but it won’t change any of the facts on the IT ground no matter how hard you try.