There has been some discussions over the past weeks, months, years on which Cloud provider is the best, or the biggest, or provides the most services, or [insert some other topic]? The old answer to everything related to IT is ‘It Depends’. A recent article by CloudWars (and updated numbers by them) and some of the comments to it, and elsewhere prompted me to have a look at ‘How Many Data Center Regions do each Cloud Vendor have?’ I didn’t go looking at all possible cloud vendors, but instead kept to the main vendors consisting of Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform (GCP), Oracle Cloud and Amazon Web Services (AWS). We know AWS has been around for a long long time, and seems to gather most of the attention and focus within the developer community, etc, you’d expect them to be the biggest. Well, the results from my investigation does not support this.
Now, it is important to remember when reading the results presented below that these are from a particular point in time, and that is the date of this blog post. If you are reading this some time later, the actual number of data centers will be different and will be larger.
When looking at the data, as presented on each vendors website (see link to each vendor below), most list some locations coming in the future. It’s really impressive to see the number of “coming soon” locations. These “coming soon” locations are not included below (as of blog post date).
Before showing a breakdown for each vendor the following table gives the total number of data center regions for each vendor.
The numbers presented in the above table are different to does presented in the original CloudWars article or their updated numbers. If you look at the comments on that article and the comments on LinkedIn, you will see there was some disagreement of on their numbers. The problem is a data quality one, and vendors presenting their list of data centers in different parts of their website and documentation. Data quality and consistency is always a challenge, and particularly so when publishing data on vendor blogs, documentation and various websites. Indeed, the data I present in this post will be out of date within a few days/weeks. I’ve also excluded locations marked as ‘coming soon’ (see Azure listing).
Looking at the numbers in the above table can be a little surprising, particularly if you look at AWS, and then look at the difference in numbers between AWS and Azure and even Oracle. Very soon Azure will have double the number of data center regions when compared to AWS.
What do these numbers tell you? Based on just these numbers it would appear that Azure and Oracle Cloud are BIG cloud providers, and are much bigger than AWS. But maybe AWS has data centers that are way way bigger than those two vendors. It can be a little challenging to know the size and scale of each data center. Maybe they are going after different types of customers? With the roll out of Cloud over the past few years, there has been numerous challenges from legal and sovereign related issues requiring data to be geographically located within a country or geographic region. Most of these restrictions apply to larger organizations in the financial, insurance, and government related, etc. Given the historical customer base of Microsoft and Oracle, maybe this is driving their number of data center regions.
In more recent times there has been a growing interest, and in some sectors a growing need for organizations to be multi-cloud. Given the number of data center regions, for Azure and Oracle, and commonality in their geographic locations, it isn’t surprising to see the recent announcement from Azure and Oracle of their interconnect agreement and making the Oracle Database Service available (via interconnect) from Azure. I’m sure we will see more services being shared between these two vendors, and other might join in doing something similar.
Let’s get back to the numbers and data for each Vendor. I’ve also included a link to the Vendor website where these data was obtained. (just remember these are based on date of blog post)
When you look at the Azure website listing the location, at first look it might appear they have many more locations. When you look closer at these, some/many of them are listed as ‘coming soon’. These ‘coming soon’ locations are not included in the above and below tables.
GCP doesn’t list and Government data center regions.
In a previous post I walked through the steps of setting up an Oracle Database on AWS RDS. It was a very simple and straight forward process. The only thing to watch out for was to open the network to allow traffic in and out. I also showed how to connect SQL Developer to that database.
I’ve been using it for a few days and needed to move onto other things for a few days. I could leave the Database up and running during this period or I could shut down the Database to save a few dollars/euro. It also gave me a chance to see how much this database cloud instance is costing me. In my previous post, it was estimated to cost about 0.89c per day.
Before we look at the Actual/Real costs, let’s walk through the steps of shutting down the database.
To stop the database, click on the Actions button on the top right hand side of the screen, just above the database summary details. You will get a confirmation window/box appearing, see image below, asking you to confirm by clicking ‘Yes, Stop Now’.
It will take a few minutes for this shutdown to complete and in my case it took approx. 8 minutes, which was a little surprising as no one was using it at the time. You might need to refresh the webpage to see this change.
That’s all very simple, but it does give you a warning about the stopped database instance. It will be restarted in 7 days time! So if this is a database you will occasionally use, then you will need to carefully manage this particular feature, otherwise you will end up with the database automatically starting and you will be paying for this.
What about the Costs?
The costs for running this service can be found in the AWS Cost Management page. Here we can see the database was running for 7 and a bit days before I shut it down, and we can see the daily cost was 0.82c. Two things note about these costs. There was larger cost for the first day. Most of this cost was associated with the setup and configuration of the database service. The second thing to note is the costs listed in this console do not include taxes.
A got the bill for this usage, and it came to $6.94, consisting of $5.64 for usage (approx. 75c per day) and $1.30 in taxes/vat. Not a lot considering some cloud services, but comes out at approx 92.5c per day, which is a little more than the estimated cost when the service was being created. A small example of what can happen between the “in theory” cost of cloud versus the actual costs.
There are lots of options available to you for creating and using an Oracle Database.
One of these options is to use AWS RDS services to create and host a Database.
Warning: Using AWS is a paid service and the RDS options are available based on the size of the server you pick. The example show in below will cost approx 89c per day or $27 per month. For this the database will be running 24×7. You could reduce this cost significantly by only starting/stopping the Database when you need it, or alternatively create an AWS lamda function service to start/stop.
First thing you need to do is go create an AWS account, and yes you will need to hand over your credit card number.
After creating your account and you have logged in, search for RDS and you will get the following display. Click on the orange button at the top of the page to Create Database.
- Standard create
- Architecture settings -> Use multitenant architecture
- Oracle Enterprise Edition
- Version -> use the drop down and select latest version (in my case 21)
- Templates -> Dev/Test
- Instance Identifier -> database-1
- Master Username -> admin
- Master password -> <set password> and confirm it
- DB Instance Class – as we only want a DB for playing with, go with the cheapest -> db.t3.small (Hint: Scroll to bottom of page to see the estimated monthly costs)
- Storage type -> General Purpose SSD. If you change this to Magnetic, you will see the cost drop by approx $2 per month. I selected General Purpose SSD
- Allocated Storage -> I set this to 20G (it’s just a small play DB)
- Disable/un-tick – Entable Storage Autoscaling
- Select defaults for VPC (Virtual Private Cloud) – see notes later on opening this to allow connection from your computer.
- Public Access – Set to Yes
- Defaults for remaining options.
[Note: You might be prompted to enter a DB Name. Keep this short, with no special characters.]
Click on ‘Create Database’ button at bottom of screen to create the database. It can take anything from a couple of minutes to 30 minutes to create the Database.
When everything is create, and you try to connect to the Database using SQL Developer, you will not be able to connect. The VPC needs to be opened to outside traffic. Click on the VPC Security Groups link, then click on the Security Group link on the next page
Then click on the ‘Edit Inbound rules’ button, and then on the ‘Add Rule’ button (bottom left) to add a new rule. Then select ‘All Traffic’ from drop down, and 0.0.0.0/0 in the Source field. Then save the rules.
You are now ready to create a connection using SQL Developer. To do this you will need database Endpoint from the RDS dashboard. You will also need the DB Name. This can be found by clicking on the ‘Configuration’ tab, and is listed on left-hand side under DB Name
Now in SQL Developer enter those details and click Test button to see if the connection works. It should! but if it doesn’t then double check the username and password, the other details entered, and the network changes made above are correct.
You can now connect and start using the Database.
Warning: You will be connecting as the ADMIN for the Database. You should never use this account for any development work. So go create a new database user/schema and use it for all your work.
After a very, very, very long wait (18+ months) Oracle OCI Data Science platform is now available.
But before you jump straight into using OCI Data Science, there is a little bit of setup required for your Cloud Tenancy. There is the easy simple approach and then there is the slightly more involved approach. These are
- Simple approach. Assuming you are just going to use the root tenancy and compartment, you just need to setup a new policy to enable the use of the OCI Data Science services. This assuming you have your VNC configuration complete with NAT etc. This can be done by creating a policy with the following policy statement. After creating this you can proceed with creating your first notebook in OCI Data Science.
allow service datascience to use virtual-network-family in tenancy
- Slightly more complicated approach. When you get into having a team based approach you will need to create some additional Oracle Cloud components to manage them and what resources are allocated to them. This involved creating Compartments, allocating users, VNCs, Policies etc. The following instructions brings you through these steps
IMPORTANT: After creating a Compartment or some of the other things listed below, and they are not displayed in the expected drop-down lists etc, then either refresh your screen or log-out and log back in again!
1. Create a Group for your Data Science Team & Add Users
The first step involves creating a Group to ‘group’ the various users who will be using the OCI Data Science services.
Go to Governance and Administration ->Identity and click on Groups.
Enter some basic descriptive information. I called my Group, ‘my-data-scientists’.
Now click on your Group in the list of Groups and add the users to the group.
You may need to create the accounts for the various users.
2. Create a Compartment for your Data Science work
Now create a new Compartment to own the network resources and the Data Science resources.
Go to Governance and Administration ->Identity and click on Compartments.
Enter some basic descriptive information. I’ve called my compartment, ‘My-DS-Compartment’.
3. Create Network for your Data Science work
Creating and setting up the VNC can be a little bit of fun. You can do it the manual way whereby you setup and configure everything. Or you can use the wizard to do this. I;m going to show the wizard approach below.
But the first thing you need to do is to select the Compartment the VNC will belong to. Select this from the drop-down list on the left hand side of the Virtual Cloud Network page. If your compartment is not listed, then log-out and log-in!
To use the wizard approach click the Networking QuickStart button.
Select the option ‘VCN with Internet Connectivity and click Start Workflow, as you will want to connect to it and to allow the service to connect to other cloud services.
I called my VNC ‘My-DS-vnc’ and took the default settings. Then click the Next button.
The next screen shows a summary of what will be done. Click the Create button, and all of these networking components will be created.
All done with creating the VNC.
4. Create required Policies enable OCI Data Science for your Compartment
There are three policies needed to allocated the necessary resources to the various components we have just created. To create these go to Governance and Administration ->Identity and click on Policies.
Select your Compartment from the drop-down list. This should be ‘My-DS-Compartment’, then click on Create Policy.
The first policy allocates a group to a compartment for the Data Science services. I called this policy, ‘DS-Manage-Access’.
allow group My-data-scientists to manage data-science-family in compartment My-DS-Compartment
The next policy is to give the Data Science users access to the network resources. I called this policy, ‘DS-Manage-Network’.
allow group My-data-scientists to use virtual-network-family in compartment My-DS-Compartment
And the third policy is to give Data Science service access to the network resources. I called this policy, ‘DS-Network-Access’.
allow service datascience to use virtual-network-family in compartment My-DS-Compartment
Job Done 🙂
You are now setup to run the OCI Data Science service. Check out my Blog Post on creating your first OCI Data Science Notebook and exploring what is available in this Notebook.
When setting up a Database on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) for the first time there are a few pre and post steps to complete before you can access the database using a JDBC type of connect, just like what you have in SQL Developer, or using Python or other similar tools and/or languages.
1. Setup Virtual Cloud Network (VCN)
The first step, when starting off with OCI, is to create a Virtual Cloud Network.
Create a VCN and take all the defaults. But change the radio button shown in the following image.
That’s it. We will come back to this later.
2. Create the Oracle Database
To create the database select ‘Bare Metal, VM and Exadata’ from the menu.
Click on the ‘Launch DB System’ button.
Fill in the details of the Database you want to create and select from the various options from the drop-downs.
Fill in the details of the VCN you created in the previous set, and give the name of the DB and the Admin password.
When you are finished everything that is needed, the ‘Launch DB System’ at the bottom of the page will be enabled. After clicking on this botton, the VM will be built and should be ready in a few minutes. When finished you should see something like this.
3. SSH to the Database server
When the DB VM has been created you can now SSH to it. You will need to use the SSH key file used when creating the DB VM. You will need to connect to the opc (operating system user), and from there sudo to the oracle user. For example
ssh -i <ssh file> opc@<public IP address>
The public IP address can be found with the Database VM details
[opc@tudublins1 ~]$ sudo su - oracle [oracle@tudublins1 ~]$ . oraenv ORACLE_SID = [cdb1] ? The Oracle base has been set to /u01/app/oracle [oracle@tudublins1 ~]$ [oracle@tudublins1 ~]$ sqlplus / as sysdba SQL*Plus: Release 18.104.22.168.0 - Production on Wed Mar 13 11:28:05 2019 Version 22.214.171.124.0 Copyright (c) 1982, 2018, Oracle. All rights reserved. Connected to: Oracle Database 18c Enterprise Edition Release 126.96.36.199.0 - Production Version 188.8.131.52.0 SQL> alter session set container = pdb1; Session altered. SQL> create user demo_user identified by DEMO_user123##; User created. SQL> grant create session to demo_user; Grant succeeded. SQL>
4. Open port 1521
To be able to access this with a Basic connection in SQL Developer and most programming languages, we will need to open port 1521 to allow these tools and languages to connect to the database.
To do this go back to the Virtual Cloud Networks section from the menu.
Click into your VCN, that you created earlier. You should see something like the following.
Click on the Security Lists, menu option on the left hand side.
From that screen, click on Default Security List, and then click on the ‘Edit All Rules’ button at the top of the next screen.
Add a new rule to have a ‘Destination Port Range’ set for 1521
5. Connect to the Database from anywhere
Now you can connect to the OCI Database using a basic SQL Developer Connection.
The 18c Oracle DBaaS is now available. This is the only place that Oracle 18c will be available until later in 2018. So if you want to try it out, then you are going to need to get some Oracle Cloud credits, or you may already have a paying account for Oracle Cloud.
The following outlines the steps you need to go through to gets Oracle 18c setup.
1. Log into your Oracle Cloud
Log into your Oracle Cloud environment. Depending on your access path you will get to your dashboard.
Select Create Instance from the dashboard.
2. Create a new Database
From the list of services to create, select Database.
3. Click ‘Create Instance’
4. Enter the Database Instance details
Enter the details for your new Oracle 18c Database. I’ve called mine ‘db18c’.
Then for the Software Release dropdown list, select ‘Oracle Database 18c’.
Next select the Software Edition from the dropdown list.
5. Fill in the Instance Details
Fill in the details for ‘DB Name’, ‘PDB Name’, ‘Administration Password’, ‘Confirm Password’, setup the SSH Public Key, and then decide if you need the Backup and Recovery option.
6. Create the DBaaS
Double check everything and when ready click on the ‘Create’ button.
7. Wait for Everything to be Create
Now is the time to be patient and wait while your cloud service is created.
I’ve created two different version of the 18c Oracle DBaaS. The Enterprise Edition to 30 minutes to complete and the High Performance service too 47 minutes.
No it’s time to go play.
You have heard about the cloud? Right? Even the Oracle Cloud?
If you haven’t, then maybe we need to look at how you can learn more about the Oracle Cloud.
Over the past while, and in the past few weeks in particular, Oracle has been advertising about how you can get a trail Oracle cloud service setup for FREE. Well it is free for one month when you set it up on the Oracle website (cloud.oracle.com).
As I like to talk about and use the Oracle Advanced Analytics (OAA) option (a lot), I thought I’d just give you some pointers on how to use OAA on the Oracle cloud.
To do this you need to set up an account on the Oracle cloud website (your Oracle single sign on should help with making that process a lot quicker). There are lots of websites and blog that will talk/show you through the process. Then you need to select what Database as a Service that you want to setup
OAA is not available on the Database Schema Service just yet (maybe one day they will)
Although Oracle Advanced Analytics comes pre-installed in the Oracle Enterprise Edition database (yes it is a separately priced option) when you install it on your own servers, but for the Enterprise Edition DaaS OAA is not part of it.
DaaS has the following versions
- Standard Edition Service
- Enterprise Edition Service
- High Performance Service
- Extreme Performance Service
OAA is only available for these last two versions of the DaaS.
High Performance DaaS: Multitenant, Partitioning, Real Application Testing, Advanced Compression, Advanced Security, Label Security, Database Vault, OLAP, Advanced Analytics, Spatial and Graph, Diagnostics Pack, Tuning Pack, Database Lifecycle Management Pack, Data Masking & Subsetting Pack and Cloud Management Pack for Oracle Database.
Extreme Performance DaaS: In-Memory Database, RAC (Real Application Clusters), Active Data Guard, Multitenant, Partitioning, Real Application Testing, Advanced Compression, Advanced Security, Label Security, Database Vault, OLAP, Advanced Analytics, Spatial and Graph, Diagnostics Pack, Tuning Pack, Database Lifecycle Management Pack, Data Masking & Subsetting Pack and Cloud Management Pack for Oracle Database.
Oracle Advanced Analytics has two main products or components. The first is the in-database Oracle Data Mining features. This are part of the High Performance and Extreme Performance DaaS offerings. But Oracle R Enterprise is not installed on these DaaS. Well if kind of is if you can get an 11g DaaS, but at time of writing this post ORE is not part of the 12c DaaS images. So you will need to factor in some time to go and install ORE, if you need to use it.
I’ve been lucky to have one of these DaaS with OAA trials and with thanks to Thomas Kurian he has extended these trials to 12 months for all Oracle ACE Directors. Thank you Thomas.
When you get your DaaS setup you just need to configure your connection privileges, ssh, etc and away you go. All you need to do is to move your data across the internet to your own Oracle DaaS, and once it is in the DaaS all your OAA and other analytics is performed on the Database Server. Only the results are returned to you and displayed in your tool. This significantly reduces the processing time for your data and removes the need to constantly extract your data (in whole or in parts) to feed into other advanced analytics tools.
So if you haven’t tried Oracle Advanced Analytics yet, then go ahead and setup your free trial of Oracle DaaS and try it out. You never know what you might discover by using Oracle Advanced Analytics (in the cloud)