Oracle Database Service for Azure (ODSA) – What, Why, and How

Introduction

I’m pretty sure you have already heard about the newly released Oracle Database Service for Azure (ODSA) service. If not, then you missed something. Either case, here you get a summary of the background, challenges, features, benefits, and much more about ODSA.

Multicloud

In previous blog posts, we talked more in detail about the benefits and considerations of multicloud. Briefly, multicloud architectures enable you to choose the best cloud provider for each service based on capabilities, performance, and price. However, it adds a significant configuration and management effort, especially regarding network connectivity across cloud vendors.

Oracle Interconnect for Azure

In 2019, Microsoft and Oracle partnered to deliver the Oracle Interconnect for Microsoft Azure, where customers can establish a private, secure, low-latency (< 2ms), and a high-bandwidth network connection between their Azure and Oracle accounts. Connecting the two clouds does not require involving a 3rd-party network service provider anymore, and you can do it yourself by simply logging in to your Azure and Oracle accounts.

The Oracle Interconnect for Azure is available in 11 global regions today, and more regions are on the way.

Interconnected Azure and OCI Regions:

Azure Region#AZsOCI Region#ADs
Brazil South (São Paulo State)3Brazil Southeast (Vinhedo)1
Canada Central (Toronto)3Canada Southeast (Toronto)1
East US (Virginia)3US East (Ashburn)3
Germany West Central (Frankfurt)3Germany Central (Frankfurt)3
Japan East (Tokyo, Saitama)3Japan East (Tokyo)1
Korea Central (Seoul)3South Korea Central (Seoul)1
Southeast Asia (Singapore)3Singapore (Singapore)1
UK South (London)3UK South (London)3
West Europe (Amsterdam)3Netherlands Northwest (Amsterdam)1
West US (California)1US West (San Jose)1
West US 3 (Arizona)3US West (Phoenix)3

Why ODSA

Even though setting up the Interconnect is quite straightforward, it requires you to have (some) networking expertise and proper knowledge of using and navigating through both clouds.

With ODSA, Microsoft and Oracle are extending their collaboration to further simplify the multicloud experience. ODSA builds upon the core capabilities of the Interconnect, eliminates the need for deep skills of both clouds, and enables you to more easily build or migrate your workloads with the application tier in Azure and the database tier in OCI. See why Oracle Cloud is Best for Oracle Database.

What is ODSA

  • ODSA is an Oracle-managed service that automatically configures the network between your Azure and Oracle accounts and provides you with an Azure-like portal to create and manage your Oracle databases running in OCI as if they were Azure resources.
  • During database creation, ODSA defines the DNS entries and connection strings, which is all that developers and applications need to access the database from Azure.
  • It is offered at no additional cost. There are no charges for the Interconnect ports or ingress/egress network traffic over the Interconnect. Customers will pay only for the Azure or Oracle resources they consume.
  • Your OCI account is linked to your Azure account through a private, fault-tolerant, oracle-manged Interconnect.
  • The interconnect supports network traffic to and from OCI Oracle databases only.
  • Database resources are created in your OCI account.
  • ODSA streams OCI database metrics to Azure Application Insights, and database events are provided to Log Analytics alongside your Azure data for unified telemetry and monitoring.
  • ODSA creates a custom dashboard that provides Azure developers with all the details needed about the Oracle database, such as resource details and connection strings.
  • ODSA simplifies customer support with a collaborative support model for troubleshooting and resolving issues, where service requests can be initiated either through Microsoft or Oracle.
  • Supports the creation of the following Services: Autonomous Database on Shared Exadata Infrastructure, Exadata Database, and Base Database. More services to come.
  • As of today, ODSA exposes only the most frequently used capabilities through the portal. However, you can still log in to your OCI account and manage your resources from there. You can even switch to OCI with the click of a button directly from the ODSA Portal.
  • ODSA is available in the 11 regions that are interconnected.
  • ODSA does not change or replace ordinary contracts and billing processes.

ODSA Portal (Multicloud Portal)

  • Is an OCI web interface with an Azure look and feel using the same Azure technical terminology.
  • It is used to create and manage Oracle database resources in OCI with the user experience as they were Azure resources.
  • Is distinct from the OCI Console and accessible via console.multicloud.oracle.com
  • You use your Azure credentials to sign in.
  • The portal operates against both Cloud’s control planes.
  • You can have a look at your bills in the portal.
  • Service Requests can be created and accessed through the multicloud portal.
  • You can submit a Service Request from the portal to increase or set service limits.

ODSA Architecture

  • ODSA creates an enterprise application in Azure that does the necessary ODSA configuration in Azure and allows you to connect your Azure subscriptions to the service.
  • It builds a mapping between one or more Azure subscriptions to your OCI tenancy.
  • ODSA builds a private tunnel between your Azure and OCI and configures DNS on both sides of the pipe to enable bi-directional communication between resources in Azure and Oracle databases in OCI.
  • Federates Azure active directory identities, so you use your Azure credentials to log into ODSA.

Benefits

  • Automate and simplify the creation of complex cross-cloud deployments.
  • Eliminate the barriers against multicloud adoption and use the best services from multiple providers, e.g., Power BI and Azure Synapse in Azure, and Oracle RAC, Exadata, and Autonomous Database in OCI leveraging Oracle Maximum Availability Architecture (MAA).
  • Create highly available and high-performance Oracle databases in OCI with an Azure-like user experience, so you don’t have to learn and become an expert in both Clouds.
  • Provide the best Oracle experience for Azure customers.
  • The sub-two milliseconds of low latency between the clouds enables Azure services to work natively with the Oracle database across the multicloud as a local database in Azure. In some cases, the latency is even better than Azure’s own inter Availability Zone latencies.

Sign Up

You need an existing Azure account to sign up for the ODSA service. If you don’t have an existing OCI account, you can create one during the sign-up process:

  1. Meet the prerequisites.
  2. Follow the sign-up process.
  3. Sign in using the Multicloud Console console.multicloud.oracle.com

During sign-up:

  • You get a guided cloud-to-cloud setup and configuration.
  • A private network connection between your Azure subscription and OCI tenancy is configured automatically as part of the account linking process.
  • A VCN in OCI will be created and peered to an existing VNET in Azure over the oracle-managed Interconnect.
  • Custom ODSA user groups and user roles are automatically created in your Azure Active Directory to easily allow you control access to the database resources and Oracle Support.
  • An ODSA compartment is automatically created in OCI to maintain the database and infrastructure resources.
  • It is possible to use the OCI free tier to test the service. However, Always Free resources are not supported.

Conclusion

Running workloads across multiple clouds allows you to choose the best services available from each cloud vendor, but with the challenge of adding more complexity and cost. Microsoft and Oracle simplified the multicloud experience through the Oracle Interconnect for Azure and took it to the next level through the Oracle Database Service for Azure (ODSA). The network setup is completely automated while providing an Azure-like portal to create and manage the Oracle databases in OCI as if they were Azure resources. At no additional cost, not even for the Interconnect ports and ingress/egress network traffic.

Resources and Further Reading

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