How smart Oracle-based enterprises gain agility, speed and value
Oracle solutions are comprehensive and wide-ranging but in the complex modern enterprise, getting them to deliver speed, agility and real business value can be a challenge. We look at 5 ways that smart enterprises do this, and more.
In our blog post End-to-End Oracle Deployments: Top 5 Challenges we showed how manual builds can lead to long project cycles, inconsistencies, instability of applications, and defects that surface as embarrassing failures later on.
We also proposed an answer: an automated continuous delivery model that resembles a vehicle production line, where components are standardised, builds are consistent and routine tasks are automated. That’s all well in theory, but how do you do it? Below are the 5 ways we’ve seen that many smart enterprises achieve this, and become more agile and fast, and gain more business value.
For more detail read our Blueprint for Continuous Delivery & Automation of Oracle.
1.Continuous Delivery & DevOps
The first approach that leading enterprises embrace is Continuous Delivery (CD). Designed to enable rapid, reliable and repeatable delivery of new initiatives (or updates), it’s also a lot faster.
CD turns the traditional ‘big bang’ approach on its head; instead of delivering software updates, projects or major upgrades in huge increments over months, CD enables them in small batches, very often (as frequently as daily) and very quickly. And, if something goes wrong, you need to be able to roll back to the previous version. With the ‘big bang’ approach, if there are problems like this at the very end, the impact can be very painful.
CD is based on the principles of DevOps, which promote close collaboration between Dev and Ops teams. The tearing down of comfortable silos can be a big culture change, but it’s unavoidable if your organisation wants to become more agile. The adoption of CD usually goes hand-in-hand with CI (Continuous Integration), a key aspect of Agile Software Development practice, that advocates sharing code for early testing /feedback and integration with other systems.
One of the main reasons for automating Continuous Delivery is to eliminate manual processes, and to build new environments faster, with more consistency and stability. The greater the cost and complexity of your Oracle project, the more compelling the case for automation. Smart enterprises are automating everything - including provisioning of infrastructure, databases, OFM and applications – and they’re opting for the flexibility of deployment on premise, in the cloud or in a mix of both.
2. Proven automation tools
Smart enterprises try to minimise the risk while maximizing the gain. They’ll choose a toolsetthat’s been tested and proven in complex environments, rather than risk the promise of tool custom-built to their unique specifications, which may never deliver.
If you access a mature product, you’ll be able to try in your own situation, to make sure it does what it says, before you commit. There are very few to choose from, but the best ones will allow you to:
- Build and configure complex environments within hours
- Provision and manage highly available, clustered Oracle environments on demand
- Configure environments once and build them the same way each and every time
- Design Oracle environments with a simple, intuitive user interface
- Detect discrepancies in configurations and fix them quickly in real time
- Leverage the tool as your Oracle Subject Matter Expert and reduce the need for so many different Oracle experts
- Deploy your infrastructure, databases, fusion middleware and applications where you want them, including public or private clouds, hybrid clouds or in a mix of cloud and on-premise- giving the organisation real power and choice.
Leading enterprises know that automating the building of complex Oracle environments is one thing; maintaining them is a different story.
This is where real-time diagnostics come into their own, because they can help you detect and prevent failures before they happen. They also help you pinpoint inconsistencies between environments, along with instability, and make it easy for you to eliminate both.
Real-time diagnostics are also crucial for rapid trouble-shooting in the production stage, to ensure maximum availability. The smartest diagnostics available provide a range of capabilities, via real-time dashboards:
- Deploying and verifying configuration change and measuring configuration drift
- Preventing configuration drift
- Managing user-induced changes to environments
- Harvesting configurations from existing environments and moving them back to the CD product to produce identical builds
Real-time diagnostics add even more value when they:
- Can be used in environments that have been built manually
- Can be used in Oracle and non-Oracle deployments, and
- Allow the export of detailed technical configuration reports for distribution and remediation by BAU.
The bottom line is that real-time diagnostics play a key role in achieving and maintaining the consistency, continuous integration and DevOps capabilities that leading enterprises see as crucial to their business initiatives. Anything else is really just doing part of the job.
4.Deep Oracle experience
Oracle deployments typically consist of many different parts of the Oracle toolset. This includes OFM modules such as SOA, BPM, IdM and other Oracle technology such as Engineered systems, Cloud and mobility and more. With complex Oracle projects, it’s likely that you’ll need in-depth Oracle technology expertise, sooner than later.
And you’ll need more than this too: specialists who’ve worked on Oracle projects in industries and on platforms and applications similar to yours, so you know they know what they’re doing. In reality, they need to know all about Oracle databases, operating systems, applications and industry solutions like Oracle Banking Platform, Human Capital Management, Enterprise Resource Planning, Supply chain Management and more. In other words, the full Oracle Technology stack.
5.Knowledge of DevOps and automation
Experience in making DevOps work for Oracle is also critical, as is familiarity with the various standards your enterprise has embraced in your IT and business environments. Oracle Systems Integrators are often very good at the theoretical level but may not have had a great deal of practical experience. In fact, there are very few Oracle specialists anywhere who have conquered ‘big DevOps’ – practical implementation of DevOps into large enterprises.
Specialist Oracle consultants can add insights and experience that make a crucial difference to your project. More often than not, they’re called in to sort out problems in a project that’s behind schedule, but they can add enormous value at the design stage to help get the project off to a good start.
The best Oracle specialists know the value of automation and have worked with advanced toolsets. Among them you’ll find the architects of the most advanced platforms for Continuous Delivery automation and Real-time Diagnostics toolsets, which enable quality Oracle environments to be created in minutes, not weeks or months.
There’s one more quality worth looking for in your Oracle specialist: the ability to share their expert knowledge with less experienced IT staff. Ideally you want to give them an integral role in your project team so they can train your staff and other contractors in how to use the automation and diagnostic tools you’ve chosen, and even support the challenging culture change to DevOps.