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Monday, November 16, 2009

Private Cloud: A Natural Evolution for Enterprises

Cloud computing has been enjoying a splash of media attention. But what IS the cloud? And how can your enterprise get its benefits without the risks?

Cloud computing is a relatively new term for computing platforms that provide flexible, scalable resources that are accessed over a network. Cloud computing offers a powerful, highly efficient, and flexible service to business users, who can tailor it to their requirements without needing to know anything about the underlying technology.

There are many "public" cloud computing services, such as Google App Engine and Amazon EC2, that offer businesses a way to create and access applications with no infrastructure setup, minimal management, and low up-front costs. The challenges of these public cloud services can become evident, however, when you attempt to integrate them with other applications in your infrastructure, or when you need to keep tight control of your data or quality of service.

Cloud Inside the Firewall
With a long history of grid computing expertise and the industry's most complete and integrated middleware, Oracle offers IT departments the ability to provide the benefits of a cloud—elastic computing capacity and self-service deployment—as a private or internal service, avoiding some of the downsides of a public cloud.

"A private cloud is a natural, evolutionary step for the enterprise," says Alex Andrianopoulos, vice president of product marketing for Oracle Fusion Middleware, Oracle. "Using an integrated set of Oracle technologies, an IT team can provide the departments and divisions throughout an enterprise with a platform that delivers all the advantages  of cloud computing, but allows them greater freedom to integrate current resources and control quality and security."

A platform-as-a-service (PaaS) private cloud is an architecture for centralized, shared resources, internal to the enterprise, that allows departments to rapidly deploy and easily manage applications. The following Oracle Fusion Middleware technologies make it possible:

  • Application grid is a foundation architecture that provides the dynamic resource adjustment that gives PaaS cloud computing its elastic qualities. Application grid leverages the capabilities of several Oracle Fusion Middleware components, including Oracle WebLogic Server, the world's No. 1 application server; Oracle Coherence, the industry's premier in-memory data grid; Oracle Tuxedo, the industry's No. 1 distributed transaction processing platform; and Oracle JRockit, the world's fastest Java runtime.
  • Oracle SOA Suite and Oracle Business Process Management Suite allow developers to build and orchestrate reusable services and components, so business users can quickly assemble and manage applications in the PaaS cloud. The integrated, best-of-breed Oracle SOA Suite helps developers rapidly design, deploy, and manage Java services, while the complete set of tools in Oracle Business Process Management Suite allows them to create, execute, and optimize business processes.
  • Oracle WebCenter Suite provides your PaaS private cloud with a self-service portal interface, and it gives business users the ability to quickly assemble user interface components into composite applications and tailor cloud resources to their needs. The suite offers a complete, open, manageable platform that empowers both developers and business users to build, deploy, and evolve next-generation composite applications, user interface components, and portals.
  • Oracle Identity Management allows business users to centrally manage identities and security for both building and using the various applications in a PaaS cloud. Oracle offers a complete, best-in-class suite of identity management solutions for controlling the end-to-end lifecycle of user identities across all enterprise resources, both within and beyond the firewall.

These technologies provide a way for your enterprise to adopt a PaaS private cloud incrementally by progressing through various levels, or degrees of "cloudness," such as self-service enablement, elastic capacity, and so on.

"Working toward the goal of a platform-as-a-service private cloud is a great way to begin integrating your current architecture so your business can have more flexible business processes," says Andrianopoulos. "It even makes it easier to bring public cloud services into the mix with consistent management and security."

Learn more about building your own platform-as-a-service private cloud:

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