back to article UK.gov embraces Oracle's cloud: Pragmatism or defeatism?

Oracle recently launched its dedicated Government Cloud in the UK - duly wheeling out the Home Office as an example of an early adopter. But to what extent are its new services just vendor lock-in under a cloudwash veneer or a change for the better? The size of Oracle’s footprint has loomed large across government for many …

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Cloud costs

"there will be no infrastructure costs"

Wrong.....very wrong. Cloud services have all the same costs, it's just they're bundled into a per month (or whatever) model rather than visible seperately. Effectively, your monthly fee is part infrastructure costs. The most dramatic change is the move away from Capex and into Opex.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Cloud costs

Same costs? If you're doing like-for-like your cloud costs are going to be a multiple or even an order of magnitude higher than your on-prem costs. Cloud is ridiculously expensive unless you're fully elastic.

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Re: Cloud costs

So make sure you have a cloud architecture that works the same on-prem as well as in the public cloud. That way you can manage costs under the umbrella of the same cloud architecture, without managing complex integrations between the two. Oracle can do this for you today.

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Re: Cloud costs

Is it really though?

When you factor in, the hardware support staff you need, (possibly with training for said staff) with 24/7 cover

Backup / Disaster recovery costs

Possible server room/hosting costs

Potentially additional security requirements

Ongoing maintenance

Depreciation and update/replacement costs/planning

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Re: Cloud costs

Ahhhh my favorite.

"Backup / Disaster recovery costs"

Do you think that since it's in the cloud that it's automatically backed up?

Out of all the points you mentioned above....2..maybe 3 are valid (Colo costs for sure, ongoing maintenance and maybe....maybe depreciation)

You have to pay to architect backup/DR properly, you have to pay to secure properly. Nobody has staff completely dedicated to just HW, you have to train your team for cloud now.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Cloud costs

"Is it really though?"

Yes. Some of those problems become easier. Monitoring your kit on the cloud, for example, is a bloody doddle because it's all built in. Likewise backup becomes somewhat more straightforward because of object storage (recovery is another matter). Some problems become a lot more complex. Key management on public cloud infrastructure is a nightmare, for example, and it's not unusual these days to find complex two- or three-layer deep encryption to tick all the compliance boxes.

There are two big increases in cost. The first is the per-server marginal cost. If you're paying on-demand pricing you're looking at something like $3500 per year for a single, relatively small instance (e.g. c4.2xl@8vcore/14GB). This may look small, but it's huge.

At typical utilisation rates you could happily shove 10-15 or more of these instances on an HPE HC380 on-prem, and one of those will typically set you back about £10k after discounting. The per-instance-per-year price is an order of magnitude greater than the capital cost of the physical kit. If you're at a certain scale (and the Home Office is) your amortised ops costs do not come close to putting a dent in that cost differential.

So you don't do on-demand pricing. Which brings us to cost number 2. All your applications now need to be made fully capable of exploiting cheap capacity via spot pricing and lessening your base costs with reserved instances. That's potentially a huge application investment - most enterprise software was not designed to elastically scale.

There's a potential third hidden cost in the data ingest/egress charges but thankfully most people are savvy to those now and don't get caught out.

Cloud is a lot of things, but only very rarely is it cheap.

The one model that is radically cheaper is SaaS (e.g. Workday vs SAP on-prem), but you're buying into quite a lot of lock in to get those benefits.

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Meh

Re: AC Re: Cloud costs

"....Monitoring your kit on the cloud, for example, is a bloody doddle because it's all built in...." Well, yes and no. Because the Snoreacle Cloud is proprietary only, you get the monitoring that Snoreacle want to give you, and that may not actually be the best tool for the job. The other problem is you no longer control the monitoring tool, Snoreacle do, so you cannot change the monitoring configuration whenever you like, and you also lose some visibility of actual root causes (such as when Snoreacle don't want to admit that your applications have been dead for the last five days because they had to re-silver a ZFS partition).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: AC Cloud costs

Quite, but I don't think anyone other than Oracle's sales droids and the PR bod that wrote the HR statement are pretending that what Oracle are selling is a real cloud.

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Facepalm

Cluebat required

1. Cloud - Home Office data stored anywhere on the planet.

2. Oracle - propriety, requires a metric tonne of money, got uk.gov by the balls.

3. Where's G-Cloud? Why are they not using this if they've spent money on setting it up?

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WTF?

Re: Cluebat required

Is sensitive Home Office data allowed to be outside the UK??

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Cluebat required

Most home office data isn't sensitive.

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Joke

Re: Cluebat required

Most Home Office data can be found on a USB stick on a train.

FTFY

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Bronze badge

Re: Cluebat required

Doesn't matter, under the terms of national security, Oracle will be required to provide access to all data stored on systems owned and/or operated by US companies without informing the owners of the data of the request. It's not supposed as to be happening yet, but sooner or later, the FBI, NSA, etc... will find a legal loophole that will make it happen.

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Joke

Re: Cluebat required

It's not supposed as to be happening yet, but sooner or later, the FBI, NSA, etc

Well, that'd save GCHQ a job...

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Re: Cluebat required

"3. Where's G-Cloud? Why are they not using this if they've spent money on setting it up?"

Doh! You need a large cluebat about the head yourself to ask that !

G_Cloud isn't a cloud, its a catalogue of IT-related stuff that government bods can order from without needing to jump through (so many) procurement hoops.

Its no more a cloud than Littlewoods catalogue (and about as useful)

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"The solution Oracle has built for us is delivering the security we need, meaning we can confidently begin to move away from our existing on-premise infrastructure and realise the benefits of hosting our business-critical data in the public cloud"

I don't want my information in the public cloud thank you.

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So people moving to Oracle Cloud have to port all their legacy workloads. At the same time Oracle claim that their cloud eliminates the need for systems integration consultants. Now that is the biggest, slipperiest barrel of snake oil I've ever seen. And I'm a cloud fan.

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For a lot of standard Oracle applications (Fusion, EBS, etc.) the Oracle public cloud will have templates and best practices that allow local staff to make the migration quite easily, with expensive apps consultants.

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Exactly, with expensive apps consultants.

And what about completely bespoke third party integrations from legacy systems to banks, third party logistics companies etc... There will be no templates for these so they'll all need to be built from scratch, and because they are likely to be mission critical that will be a lengthy and expensive development and testing cycle.

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