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August 3, 2020

7 Reasons Organizations Are Moving Oracle Databases to the Cloud

Tom Camarro

Oracle has been a leading IT database vendor for decades. But, as cloud computing continues to mature, companies are looking to trade in their on-premises Oracle databases for a cloud option that will enable them to get out of the infrastructure game and benefit from cloud-native features (think reduced cost and enhanced performance, to name a few). With two of the biggest companies in enterprise IT—Microsoft and Amazon—now offering competitive database options, organizations have more choices than ever before.

The question we commonly get from customers planning a move to the cloud is not, “which cloud provider should I use”—but rather, “which path to the cloud should I take?” This is especially important when looking at Oracle infrastructure because it is most likely tied to core revenue-generating processes. To help guide IT teams through the decision-making process, we find that the best place to start is by understanding the motivations behind a migration.

Why do you need to move Oracle to the cloud? And, why now? This is not an insignificant line of questioning, as it helps determine the outcomes you’re looking to gain, and which migration model is best positioned to meet your goals.

There are typically seven reasons why companies want to migrate their on-premises Oracle databases to the cloud. Here is a high-level snapshot of each:

1. You might be subject to Oracle’s restrictive licensing practices.

If you’re an Oracle customer, and I’m guessing you are if you’re reading this blog, it should come as no surprise that the legacy vendor imposes significant licensing costs and restraints on its customers. Once your business is running on an Oracle database, it can be extremely difficult to get off of it.

However, cloud computing is challenging Oracle’s hegemony, because when organizations migrate their database of record to the cloud, it creates an opportunity to change to new, open-source alternatives, such as Postgres or MySQL. By moving away from Oracle altogether, you can break free from the company’s restrictive licensing practices, and benefit from newfound choice and control over how you manage the vendor relationship.

2. Your budget could be feeling the pinch.

In addition to exorbitant licensing fees, Oracle support is expensive—annual support costs are, on average, 22% of the spend on licensing costs. And, the older your hardware and software get, the more expensive the support becomes. By moving to an open-source database running in the public cloud, you can not only eliminate licensing fees, but overpriced support costs as well.

3. You might fear getting audited by Oracle.

You may already know that Oracle reserves the right to audit and charge customers who are out of compliance—and it’s all too easy for companies to fall out of compliance. The reason for this is that many organizations don’t understand the terms of their service contract at the start of their Oracle engagement.

This issue is especially evident when companies want to move to the public cloud. When Oracle finds out, they may want to conduct a thorough license review, which often exposes compliance gaps and leads to unexpected licensing fees that stop migration projects in their tracks. However, the Catch-22 is that not moving forward has its own opportunity cost. To learn more about this challenge read: Oracle Licensing: A Look at the Facts.

Oracle may also use the audit threat to push you to use their cloud, offering to close licensing gaps with highly discounted cloud credits, but this just locks you further into the Oracle ecosystem.

4. Your Oracle hardware may be getting old.

We talked about how aging hardware can translate to higher support costs, and the same holds true for the technology’s management and maintenance. Replacement parts for old hardware are very expensive—and that’s if you can even find them in the first place. Additionally, managing and upgrading on-premises infrastructure is labor-intensive and time-consuming (upgrades can often take weeks or months). If it’s time to refresh your hardware, you have the perfect excuse to evaluate modern technologies, such as cloud-based alternatives.

5. Your software may be at end-of-life or out of support.

Similar to aging hardware, old software that is at end-of-life or out of support presents another opportunity to consider cloud alternatives. You’re already going to make a big change to your IT environment by migrating to the cloud, so why not do the due diligence of evaluating all of your technology options?

6. You may need to move out of your data center.

Data centers are expensive to operate. There are monthly costs, such as rent and electricity, and there’s the cost of purchasing more hardware than you currently need to ensure you can meet future capacity requirements. And, you have to pay for all on-premises technology all the time, whether you’re using the resources or not.

To eliminate these costs, many organizations are migrating off-premises. One of our customers at Xtime estimates the company is now saving more than $200,000 annually by closing down its data center and moving Oracle to AWS. By moving to the cloud, Xtime is able to quickly scale up and down based on user demand—a capability that has proven invaluable during the global COVID-19 pandemic.

7. You want more flexibility.

Using Oracle as your database provider means you’re limited to the company’s ecosystem and confined to its licensing structure. Migrating from on-premises Oracle databases to the cloud provides more flexibility, and gives users the ability to scale on-demand—so you don’t have to worry about dealing with Oracle every time something changes within your environment.

Do any of these reasons sound familiar to you? I’m guessing more than one will ring true. Keep these in mind as you consider your migration journey; they can serve as guiding lights when it comes time to make that investment in the cloud. The key is striking a balance between what you’d like to get out of the cloud today and your long-term goals—so you can align your expectations, budget and resources accordingly.

To learn about the benefits of moving Oracle databases to the cloud, and how they stack up when considering each of the migration models, check out our new eBook: 6 Benefits of Moving Oracle Databases to the Cloud.

About Tom Camarro

Tom is a solution architect and principal consultant at Navisite. He has over 35 years of experience helping organizations improve business results by designing, implementing and supporting innovative technology-enabled solutions. He brings extensive expertise as an Oracle consultant, guiding transformational efforts to support global enterprise deployments. In recent years, he’s focused exclusively on moving Oracle workloads to the cloud.