About year ago or more, Oracle came out with a way to create thin clone copies of a database in EM 12c called “Snap Clone”.
Not sure this makes working with data any sunnier and certainly doesn’t add any sunlight to the cloud movement. Snap Clone technology has seen little adoption AFAIK. I’m not aware of a single customer reference yet, besides internal usage at Oracle. Why ? Because Snap Clone doesn’t solve the real problem. Snap Clone is complex, depends on cobbling other technologies together, and lacks in crucial features. The real solution is simplicity and end-to-end integration with data source syncing all the way to data provisioning. Snap Clone will provision database thin clones using specialized storage snapshots limited to ZFS and Netapp, but is no help for customers without ZFS or Netapp. Even if you have Netapp or ZFS there is no integrated solution for syncing with source data. Oracle’s technology is a storage snapshot management tool for Netapp and ZFS and simple storage snapshot technology has been around for almost 20 years with little adoption compared to the potential. Snapshots are like the fuel. A data virtualization appliance is like the car.
The real solution harnesses thin cloning technology in a fully integrated and automated platform called an adata virtualization appliance. An data virtualization appliance revolutionizes thin cloning technology in the same way the web browser revolutionized the internet. Before the web browser internet usage was limited to academics using ftp, email and chat rooms. After the browser came out everyone started using the internet. Similarly thin cloning has been around for over a decade it’s usage is exploding now that Delphix has provide an data virtualization appliance. In less than 4 years, the Delphix agile data platform customers have grown to include Walmart, HP, IBM, Facebook, Ebay, Comcast, Macys, Prudential, Krogers, SAP, Proctor and Gamble, Gap, New York Life,McDonalds, Wellsfargo, Bank of America etc.
Why has Delphix been so successful? Because these customers are seeing improvements like 2x application development output, 10x cost reduction, 1000s of hours of DBA work saved a year, petabytes of disk freed. Delphix is about virtualizing all of enterprise data, be it in a database by Oracle or Microsoft or in flat files, be it on premises or in the cloud. Delphix makes both the data as well as copies of that data immediately available anywhere. It provides solutions in a few mouse clicks to problems that were extremely difficult and time consuming before. Delphix is free of hardware constraints running on any storage and commodity Intel hardware. With this kind of technology Delphix can do cloud migrations, datacenter migrations, DR, regulatory compliance…the sky’s the limit. For example:
- Data Branching – branch data, databases and application stacks to provide immediate full environments to QA based on the latests development environment and do it all in a space and time efficient manner. No longer does QA have to wait to build environments; they can now be made in minutes. With branching, one can maintain multiple versions of application environments to support development teams who may need to patch previous versions while working on the current version or support multiple development teams who are working concurrently on different release versions.
- Synchronized clones – one of the hardest projects IT teams have is provisioning multiple databases at the same time for data integration, development and testing. For example, financial closes often require synchronizing financial information from several databases into a central financial system. If there are discrepancies, then it requires getting copies of all the systems at the same point in time – the financial close time – and isolating and correcting the discrepancies. Provisioning multiple databases at the same point in time is a daunting task, but with Delphix it is a simple out of the box functionality.
- Application Stack Cloning – Delphix will not only virtualize the database but also the application stack, and even Oracle binaries. For example, Delphix will provide thin clones of the full Oracle EBS stack including reconfiguring the EBS stack for the new clone environment.
- Live data archive – ability to archive many historical synchronized copies of full databases, data and application stacks stored in a fraction of the space and accessible in minutes. This capability is crucial for auditing and compliance support.
- Support for RAC, SQL Server, Postgres – linking and provisioning RAC databases is as easy as a single instance. Integrated automated support is already there for SQL Server and Postgres with Sybase in beta and more databases to come.
Delphix is as simple to install as a VMware VM. Everything is run in a few mouse clicks from a simple web UI. After an initial link to source data, in few minutes, users can start provisioning Oracle databases, SQL Server databases or application data or binaries.
*1 One Oracle blog suggests using Data Guard as the test master, which means adding another technology stack to the mix without any automated management or integration not to mention requiring more Oracle licensing.
*2 Snap Clone may claim to be storage agnostic, but to use something like EMC VNX or IBM for example requires installing Solaris on a machine and then attaching an EMC LUN to the Solaris box, having Solaris map ZFS onto the storage, then sharing the storage with EM 12c.
You don’t need to take my advice. Instead, ask them to prove it:
- Ask for references. Find at least three references and ask them about their experiences.
- Prove it. Test setup time. Test linking time. Test provisioning time. Test replication of VDBs in one site/cloud to another site/cloud and across heterogeneous storage. Test cross platform cloning from UNIX to Linux (Delphix does this automatically). Provision clones of MS SQL databases. Provision a full EBS stack (Delphix does this automatically). Provision a SAP sandbox. Test on SSD storage like Pure Storage, Violin, XtremIO. Provision two or more separate databases at the same point in time which supports the case of an application that uses more than one database. Branch multiple versions of the same master VBD. Make branches of the VDB branches.
Delphix has years of industry production time and many Fortune 500 customers, including the Fortune #1 who can attest to the robustness and power of the solution. Delphix has an expert and rapid support team that has won praises from their customers. Delphix is the industry standard for data and database virtualization.