FlashGrid Vs Oracle Database @ Azure

Introduction

FlashGrid Cluster and Oracle Database @ Azure service are two distinct solutions that enable Azure cloud customers to run Oracle Databases. Each has advantages in different use cases. The comparison table below helps Azure customers select the most appropriate one for their requirements.

Disclaimer

Due to the lack of publicly available Oracle Database @ Azure documentation as of 2023-11-01, some of the provided information is based on the documentation for Exadata Database Service on Dedicated Infrastructure, a similar service hosted in Oracle Cloud. The Oracle Database @ Azure information is provided for reference only and may contain errors.

Comparison
FlashGrid
Cluster
Oracle Database
@Azure
Key advantagesOptimal for mission-critical transaction processing with database uptime SLA of 99.99%, 99.999%, or higher.

Maximum uptime with Multi-AZ clustering.

Maximum data durability with all-flash storage and two levels of mirroring. 

Agility (based on Azure VMs and disks). 

Proven and available in all Azure regions since 2017.
Optimal for extra-large (100+ TB) DWH workloads.

Exadata proprietary DWH features (Smart Scan, HCC)

Cheaper storage capacity with spinning HDD.
Solution typeVirtual clustered appliance hosted on native Azure VMs and disksVirtual clustered appliance hosted on dedicated Exadata infrastructure
Who manages VMs, OS, and databasesCustomerCustomer
Oracle RAC optionYesYes
Oracle Failover HAoptionYesYes
Oracle Enterprise EditionYesYes
Oracle StandardEdition (including SEHA)YesNo
Database nodesoftware updatesControlled by customer.
(including DB, GI, OS, FlashGrid software)
Controlled by customer.
(including DB, GI, OS software)
Infrastructure software updatesAzure infrastructure software updates are managed by Azure and are fully transparent.Exadata infrastructure software updates are managed by Oracle.

Exadata infrastructure software updates may require patching or upgrading GI and/or DB software.  See footnote 1 in Oracle Release Schedule of Current Database Releases (Doc ID 742060.1)
Failed hardware replacementAzure automatically moves affected VMs to new physical hosts.

Azure automatically and transparently handles replacement of failed disk storage hardware.
Storage server, HDD, and SSD hardware is exposed to the customer. Customer may need to take certain actions when the hardwarefails and needs to be replaced.
Data center fault toleranceMulti-AZ clustering protects against data centerfailures.No Multi-AZ clustering. Databases exposed to data center failures. Must rely on data replication to a different AZ or region.
Storage reliability and durabilityAll-flash storage with Azure Premium SSD v1/v2 disks.

Azure disk durability of at least 99.999999999% (eleven nines)

Additional 2-way or 3-way mirroring across availability zones.
Spinning disks have lower durability than all-flash storage. No durability specifications available.

3-way mirroring within a single server rack.
Storage capacity and costFrom 1 to 1000+ TB usable with Azure Premium SSD v1/v2.

Higher cost per TB due to the exclusive use of flash storage for consistent performance and two levels (Azure LRS and Oracle ASM) of mirroring.
Minimum of 190 TB usable (assumes Quarter-rack Exadata).

Lower cost per TB due to using spinning HDD.

Lower cost per TB when using HCC (for DWH only).
AgilityInstant on-demand deployment, usage, and resizing.

Based on native Azure VMs and disks.
Must reserve Exadata hardware resources – database servers and storage servers.

It is not possible to reduce the reserved storage capacity by removing storage servers from an existing infrastructure instance.
MaturityIn production use since 2017Preview starting in 2024
Available in Azure RegionsAll (including Gov Cloud, China)Limited
Database versions 11.2, 12.1, 12.2AvailableExisting information is unclear.

Upgrade Support may be required
Customer Cloud infra skills required for maintenanceAzure skills onlyOracle Cloud skills (other than for basictasks), in addition to Azure skills
Oracle licensingBYOLBYOL or PAYG
BillingBy Azure (infra + Marketplace fees)By Azure
Conclusions

Azure customers who require maximum uptime SLA for mission-critical Oracle Database transaction processing are best served by FlashGrid Cluster in a multi-AZ configuration with highly durable Azure Premium SSD storage. FlashGrid Cluster is a mature solution running production Oracle workloads on Azure for 5+ years.

Azure customers who require true cloud agility for their mission-critical Oracle Database workloads are best served by FlashGrid Cluster, a solution based on native Azure VMs and disks and available in all Azure regions.

Customers who have large data warehouse databases exceeding 100 TB and in-house Oracle Cloud expertise may benefit from Oracle Database @ Azure once it is released.

Learn more

For more information, please contact FlashGrid at info@flashgrid.io

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