If security is one of the concerns of enterprises looking at moving to cloud-- whether private or public -- data access and storage is the other main concern. Recently, Oracle (news, site) continued to facilitate private cloud deployments for medium-sized companies with the release of its Oracle Cloud File System.

To all intents and purposes, Cloud File System (FS) is made up of two file management software programs that come as one integrated package and aim to help organizations that want to deploy their applications, databases and storage in the cloud.

In effect, Cloud FS automates data management and simplifies storage pooling across files, middleware and applications, offering two of the National Institute of Standards' three key characteristics of a cloud:  Resource pooling, and accessibility. The third element is elasticity, which Oracle offers in abundance.

Oracle and the Private Cloud

Without getting into the “what-Larry-Ellison-really-meant-when-he-was-talking-about-cloud computing” debate, this is another move by Oracle in its attempt to become one of the big players in the cloud market.

For those who fell for Ellison’s sniping at the whole concept of cloud computing a couple of years back -- and you can probably count those on the fingers of one hand -- this release might be a surprise, but mostly, it’s just part of an ongoing strategy.

Cloud FS and the Enterprise

Cloud FS is really only a parallel system to Oracle’s enterprise level file system – the open source Luster project – which is for companies looking at high-performance computing with 1,000 servers or more.

Cloud FS, on the other hand, comes in at US$ 5,000 per Oracle processer, placing it firmly in the mid-sized enterprise range and more for companies that are looking at from 25 to 100 nodes.

Aimed at companies considering the jump from traditional computing to cloud computing, according to Oracle FS is ideal for:

  • Pooled storage with unified namespace for applications
  • Accessing storage through traditional networks or storage networks
  • Growing or shrinking storage pools while applications are online
  • Rapidly growing, shrinking and migrating storage pools while applications are online

It also provides snapshots and replication of files and file systems for backups and disaster protection, as well as data access security and encryption.

Cloud FS’s Clusters

Cloud FS lets enterprises deploy a cluster file system built on automatic storage foundations and can be used by companies that are either building private clouds, or for testing cloud applications before being sent off to an external hosting service.

It includes two programs:  Automatic Storage Management (ASM) and Dynamic Volume Manager, as well as the ASM Cluster File System.

ASM Cluster File System lets users save data across a number of servers and gain access to that material from any of the servers in the cluster.

The ASM Dynamic Volume Manager enables them to add disks to the system without having to rebalance the data loads across all available servers.

Oracle, Ellison, the Cloud

Just to revisit quickly where Oracle might be going with its cloud strategy -- in his keynote address at Open World in 2008,  Ellison outlined what he saw as cloud computing as it was understood then, and it wasn’t complimentary.

The interesting thing about cloud computing is that we've redefined cloud computing to include everything that we already do …but I have no idea what anyone is talking about. What is it? It's complete gibberish. It's insane. When is this idiocy going to stop?" he asked.

However, in keynote 2010, while outlining the landscape into which Oracle's Exalogic Elastic Cloud would be launched, he compared Oracle’s vision of the cloud to Salesforce’s vision.

It seems Oracle is looking to get cozy with Amazon. He asked whether cloud computing meant the 10-year-old SaaS as envisioned by Salesforce, or Amazon's Web Services version.

And he came down hard on the side of Amazon EC2. Cloud computing, he said, is "a platform -- a standards-based application development and execution platform. It includes hardware and software. It is virtual and elastic and it runs a variety of apps.”

There is one significant difference, though. Ellison’s vision is of private rather than public clouds. This release only goes to show just how much business Oracle is anticipating from facilitating private cloud development.

While Ellison probably hasn’t taken his last snipe at cloud computing, you can be certain he won’t be turning away private cloud business, either, and we are likely to see a lot more announcements in the private cloud space in the coming year.