As more and more businesses move their operations to the cloud, one of the most common challenges faced is migrating existing on-premise Oracle databases to the cloud. While this move can bring significant benefits, such as increased scalability, flexibility, and cost savings, it can also present several challenges. Here are the top 15 challenges faced by businesses with migrating their Oracle database to the cloud:
- Compatibility issues: One of the primary challenges faced during migration is compatibility between the on-premise Oracle database and the cloud infrastructure. All major cloud providers offer Oracle database solutions in the cloud, so this does not have to be an issue. However, if you are migrating your Oracle database to a different database platform, you will find each major cloud provider includes tools to help analyze and identify database schema, code, or infrastructure configurations that will need to be converted. Though this process may be time-consuming and complex, the DBA teams at XTIVIA have experience with these types of database platform migrations in the cloud and can help you in performing the needed steps to successfully migrate your database to the solution of your choice.
- Security concerns: Moving sensitive data to the cloud can raise security concerns, especially if the data is subject to regulations such as HIPAA or GDPR. Businesses must ensure that data is encrypted and protected from unauthorized access. All of the major cloud providers understand this need and provide multiple security solutions to ensure encryption of data in transit and encryption of data at rest. The major cloud providers have complete best practice compliance program solution plans that you can follow to ensure all aspects of your cloud infrastructure is in compliance. There are even tools to help identify any areas that are not in compliance yet.
- Connectivity: Moving a database to the cloud requires a stable and high-speed internet connection. Any connectivity issues during migration can cause data loss, data corruption, or database downtime. Depending on the size of your database, various cloud providers will have specific options available to help migrate huge amounts of data using either dedicated direct connections or physical media to move upwards of 100 petabytes of data in secure transportation.
- Migration complexity: Migrating a complex Oracle database to the cloud can be challenging. It may require expertise in multiple technologies, including database management, cloud infrastructure, and networking. For example, migrating an Oracle EBS application and database into the cloud requires specific knowledge of both the database migration as well as the EBS migration and the specific network consideration. It is important to work with a migration partner that understands the complexities involved to ensure your project is a success. The Oracle DBA team at XTIVIA deals with many complex environments on a daily basis, from EBS environments, RAC and Dataguard on Exadata machines, HIPAA sensitive environments, etc.
- Data integrity: Maintaining data integrity during migration is critical to ensure that data is not lost or corrupted during the process. This may require extensive testing and validation. Therefore, it is important to add in time to appropriately test and validate into your cloud migration plan.
- Resource allocation: Migrating an Oracle database to the cloud requires a significant amount of resources, including skilled IT personnel and cloud architect specialists. Businesses must ensure that they have sufficient resources available to complete the migration successfully. If your staff is small or maxed out on day-to-day maintenance, then you would want to bring cloud solution partners such as XTIVITA that have teams of Oracle DBAs with hands-on migration to the cloud project experience as well of XTIVITA Azure and AWS cloud architects.
- Performance: Ensuring that the migrated Oracle database performs at an acceptable level is critical. This may require tuning of the database or cloud infrastructure to ensure optimal performance. Spending time upfront to understand your Oracle workloads and using tools such as AWR report can help you size your cloud solutions better. Then it is important to perform POC testing once in the cloud running similar load benchmark tests. Do not assume that your Oracle database will perform amazingly straight out of the cloud box. You must do your due diligence in testing prior to go-live.
- Licensing: The licensing model for Oracle databases in the cloud can be complex, with different pricing structures and options available. Businesses must understand the licensing requirements and costs associated with their migration. Likewise, if you are bringing your own licenses to the cloud solution, it is very important that you choose cloud solutions that adhere to your CPU core count or other license considerations. You will need to review the Oracle document “Licensing Oracle Software in the Cloud Computing Environment” to ensure you understand how vCPUs are counted and affect your licensing.
- Data sovereignty: Data sovereignty laws may require that sensitive data is stored within a specific geographical region. This can limit the choice of cloud providers or require additional configuration to ensure compliance. This should not pose an issue if you choose one of the main cloud solutions, such as Oracle, Oracle OCI, AWS, Google, or Azure, as each has sovereign cloud solutions to ensure your database is in compliance.
- Backup and recovery: Backup and recovery strategies must be in place to ensure that data is not lost during migration or in the event of a disaster. This will not be an issue as the top cloud solutions allow multiple backup solutions for native RMAN backups to quick snapshot backups. There is also an option to move your current backup into the cloud and use it to restore to an Oracle instance created in the cloud.
- Legacy systems: Legacy systems may be incompatible with the cloud infrastructure or require significant modifications to work correctly. This may require a phased migration approach to ensure that legacy systems are not disrupted. Moving an Oracle database running on a Sparc Solaris operating system will require cross-transportable tablespace migration steps as the cloud solutions run Linux little Endian. XTIVIA DBAs have hands-on experience with these types of migrations and can assist you with migrations of this type.
- Training: Moving to the cloud can require new skills and knowledge for IT staff. Providing training and support during and after migration can help ensure a successful transition. The main cloud solutions such as Oracle, Oracle OCI, AWS, Google, and Azure offer hundreds of free whitepapers, blogs, best practice quick start documentation, and training resources to get familiar with the cloud services.
- Vendor lock-in: Choosing a cloud provider can result in vendor lock-in, making it challenging to switch providers or migrate to an on-premise solution in the future. This is something to consider, but not because you cannot rehost your Oracle database on a different solution or back to an on-premise solution. Mostly the issue here is just the cost involved, especially if your database is tens of terabytes in size or greater. Spend the initial time to ensure you understand the costs and services provided in the cloud provider so you make an informed decision from the start. The top cloud providers generally provide cost estimators to help you make the decision to move to their cloud.
- Cost: While cloud migration can bring significant cost savings, there may be upfront costs associated with migration, software service changes, and hiring skilled cloud personnel. Ongoing costs, such as licensing and maintenance fees, must also be considered. Don’t forget to research cloud support options as well; there are usually different levels of support offered. Make sure the support choice fits your needs.
- Service-level agreements: Service-level agreements (SLAs) for cloud providers may differ from on-premise SLAs, with different availability and performance guarantees. Businesses must understand the SLAs for their chosen cloud provider and ensure that they meet their requirements. The top cloud providers have taken great lengths to ensure high availability and reliability offering, so be sure your solution takes advantage of these features if this is a mission critical database.
In conclusion, migrating an Oracle database to the cloud can bring significant benefits, but it is not without its challenges. Businesses must carefully consider the challenges outlined above and develop a migration plan that addresses these issues to ensure a successful transition to the cloud. With careful planning and execution, businesses can reap the rewards of increased scalability, flexibility, and cost savings that the cloud offers.
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