After some persuasion, one of my customers was ready to experiment with the Oracle cloud. So I signed him up for a trial Database Schema Cloud service and built him a little APEX application to show how fast and easy it was to get rid of some spreadsheet-based business processes.
This morning, my customer called me to say that the service didn’t work. Indeed it didn’t. I had neglected to put the expiry date into my calendar, and when your 30 days are up, Oracle will wipe out your instance. There is no warning email and your instance is gone without any possibility of restoring it.
So the demo was gone, and with it that potential Cloud customer.
My fellow ACE Director Tim Hall said recently on his blog:
Having used Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Oracle Public Cloud for quite some time I have to say that Oracle Public Cloud lags far behind the other two in user experience.
I fully concur with that opinion. Additionally, when your process for trials is to wipe them out without warning, you are making it really hard for even your most enthusiastic supporters to recommend you.
Oracle still has a lot of work to do on their cloud services.
I’ll be speaking at the Oracle CloudWorld Developer event in Mumbai on Thursday, April 8th. You’ll find me in a general session together with some of my Oracle ACE and ACE Director colleagues, and on the Mobile for Cloud track, where I’ll be talking about developing mobile applications with Oracle JET, MAF and MAX.
Don’t miss it – Sign up here.
I recently noticed that Oracle Application Builder Cloud Service (ABCS) now has an official pricing. From my experience with other Oracle Cloud services, publishing the actual pricing is normally the last step before the product becomes generally available. ABCS looks very promising as a tool to build a modern user interface, though I strongly doubt whether it will truly be used by advanced end users as Oracle envisions.
I’m discussing ABCS and other Oracle topics in the Oracle Tool Watch newsletter that goes out today.
In another indication of how important Cloud is to Oracle, the ACE Director community just received their first official quota of advocacy from Oracle. We are expected to produce a specific number of blog posts, videos, tweets, etc. about Oracle Cloud.
I’ve been part of this great program for eight years, have benefited greatly and have been able to help many Oracle customers along the way. Until now, we ACE Directors have been free to contribute in whatever way we wanted. We’ve handed in an annual report of our doings, and those found worthy have been granted another year in the program.
This is the first time we have been given such a specific assignment, and it makes me worry about Oracle’s position in the Cloud marketplace. They have great Cloud products, but if they consider it necessary to ask us to promote Cloud more, it indicates that Oracle Cloud does not have great traction among customers yet.
Experienced IT professionals know that it is very rare that something is as simple as it first seems. Thus, the actual implementation shows to be harder than expected. But the business value can also change during implementation – sometimes it gets better, sometimes it gets worse.
1:1 conversions achieve little business benefit and cloud projects often much less than promised. But a well-run technology migration project can actually harvest more benefits than you initially expected.
This illustration is from this week’s edition of the Technology That Fits newsletter. If you want fresh insights into IT delivered to your mailbox every two weeks, sign up here: http://eepurl.com/0fpvT
I was just in Budapest for the Oracle Partner Community Forum last week. They showed us a a preview of what Oracle has been up to with their Oracle Process Cloud Service and Oracle Integration Cloud Service since OpenWorld, and it’s looking good.
Right now, there doesn’t seem to be any reason to buy into Oracle’s cloud at the Platform-as-a-Service level. After all, their only semi-available services are a database in the cloud and a WebLogic application server in the cloud. At the usual Oracle price tag, you need to be willing to pay a lot above market rate for the privilege of running your application in Oracle’s cloud.
But once the new services announced at OpenWorld (Process Cloud Service, Integration Cloud Service and Document Cloud Service) become generally available, Oracle has a much more compelling story.
“You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave” – Hotel California by The Eagles
That feeling is what many organizations are experiencing once they have jumped onto a cloud service. It can be hard enough to changing a major on-premise system – just think of the huge costs and time expenditures of Oracle-to-SAP and SAP-to-Oracle stories occasionally in the news. But once your data live in the cloud, it can be almost impossible to get them out.
Before you sign up to a cloud service, make sure to run a trial period and test that you can make a complete data export. Open the file and check that everything you put into the system is actually in your data export, together with all the necessary information about which records are linked to which. If your prospective vendor does not offer a complete data dump that you can automatically pull at will, look for another vendor.
If you do sign up to a cloud service, establish an automatic procedure to retrieve all of your data regularly. This is the only way to be sure that you have your data if your cloud provider goes under, or if all of their servers are impounded because they happened to be running in the same datacenter as a suspected terrorist.
Make sure you can actually leave.
If you’re going home for Christmas, you will probably be asked to have a look at your parents’ computer. If they are not already set up for cloud services, make sure you spend a few hours getting all their stuff into the cloud.
For organizations, there are many interesting and relevant discussions to have before deciding whether a cloud-based solution is right for you. But for private consumers, it is a no-brainer that all their data should reside safely in the cloud.
Several people I know in my parents’ generation have had their laptops stolen or lost them due to fire, flood or other calamities. Most of these were not set up for cloud services, which meant that irreplaceable vacation photos as well as important documents and emails were lost.
I’ve set up my parents with
- IMAP mail with their ISP (they used to run POP3 which placed all mail locally on the machine)
- Microsoft OneDrive for documents and photos (they run Windows and the generous 15GB limit means that a free account is enough)
- Google Play (for their music, which did not fit under the 15GB but easily comes under the 20,000 song limit for free Google Play account)
- Norton 360 for antivirus etc
Make sure you give the gift of Cloud safety this year 🙂
At Oracle OpenWorld, there was a lot of Oracle ADF material. I presented on Oracle ADF Bindings as part of the well-attended ADF track on User Group Sunday, and Oracle also gave some very interesting presentations on new and coming features in ADF. For example there is now an ADF component that you can use to visualize any network of nodes and edges.
But what struck me more was the fact that when Oracle buys a cloud-based offering, they tell them to re-develop the stuff in Oracle ADF. Yes, that’s right – you will be seeing Taleo, RightNow, CPQ and other recent acquisitions move to ADF.
The reason is of course that all of Oracle’s cloud offerings must run on the Oracle cloud in a unified infrastructure, and ADF is part of that. The future of ADF is bright.
On Monday, a U.S. judge gave Microsoft control of 22 domains owned by domain hosting service No-IP.com. Microsoft intended to filter out some domains used by malware, but promptly screwed up. The result was that millions of legitimate users could not access their servers.
This will happen again and again as infrastructure moves to centralized cloud providers. What do you think will happen if the server just above yours in the server rack is running malware? Do you think the cops will just take that one server down? No, they will take the whole rack, or the whole server room.
Cloud has new vulnerabilities, and you need to be prepared for the situation where over-zealous law enforcement grabs your server. Do you have a plan B?