Posted on September 4, 2015 by Shawn Ruff
Tags: PaaS, Platform as a Service, Oracle, Cloud Computing, Cloud, Java, Java Cloud Service, Developer Cloud Service, Mobile Cloud Service, Application Platform Cloud Service, Integration Cloud Service, Internet of Things Cloud Service, Messaging Cloud Service, Process Cloud Service, Documents Cloud Service
Oracle has been experimenting with the Software as a Service (SaaS) offerings in the Cloud arena for a few years now and have had some small Platform as a Service offerings with Database as a Service (DBaaS). At Oracle Open World 2014, they announced many new PaaS offerings, which showed that they were ready to get serious with their Cloud offerings. While many of the PaaS and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) offerings announced at OOW14 were still early in development or concept, Oracle has made major strides to bring many of those services to market as real offerings. This includes a roadmap of more than 24 PaaS offerings in 2015, which has propelled them ahead of the more one dimensional Cloud players, such as Amazon, who provides primarily IaaS, and SalesForce.com, who provides primarily SaaS. Surprisingly, Microsoft is one of the only vendors whose Cloud portfolio comes close to matching Oracle's SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS offerings. In this article, we'll discuss some of the Oracle PaaS offerings, providing a high-level overview, advantages for Oracle customers, primary use cases, and any gaps that exist with the services as they stand today.
The below is not intended to be a comprehensive listing of the Oracle PaaS offerings, but provides a glimpse into PaaS offerings that fall into three distinct categories: Application Development, Integration, and Content and Collaboration.
Content and Collaboration
Java Cloud Service (JCS)
The Java Cloud Service (JCS) comes as three different service offerings, each with a very distinct purpose.
Java Cloud Service - Virtual Image (JCS-VI) is a scaled down version of the full JCS, in that many of the features and functionality that you have with your on premises or full JCS instances are not available with the JCS-VI; this includes access to the Admin or FMW Control Consoles, backup/recovery, clustering and scaling. These features are not available because this isn't intended to be a long running, persistent environment and patching is accomplished using the bundled OPatch utility. The primary use case for JCS-VI is as a temporary instance of WLS to support development and testing, and is not intended for production use. A typical use case for JCS-VI would be developers and testers spinning up environments to perform dev/test activities against and then wiping them out when they are complete. Then the application would move into a more stable and permanent environment, such as load testing, staging or production running on the full JCS or on premises WLS instances.
Java Cloud Service - SaaS Extension (JCS-SaaS) is specifically provided as a Cloud-based Java EE environment for extending Oracle SaaS applications, using custom developed Java EE components. While it's based on Oracle WebLogic server technology, you won't have access to any of the WebLogic server management features, such as the Admin or FMW Control Consoles, there's limited support to scale OUT(not scale IN capabilities) and the backup/recovery and patching are controlled by Oracle.
Developer Cloud Service (DevCS)
The Developer Cloud Service (DevCS) provides an environment to promote team development, by providing standards-based tools and technologies for the development, collaboration and deployment of enterprise applications. DevCS comes free with the purchase of JCS, JCS - SaaS Extension, and Messaging Cloud Service. DevCS provides key Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) services utilizing best of breed tooling, to include Git for Source Code Management, Bugzilla for Issue Tracking, Hudson for Continuous Integration, and Wiki Collaboration. DevCS also integrates with JDeveloper, NetBeans and Eclipse IDEs, provides developers with SSH access to the Git repository, and allows you to integrate with on premises tools through REST API's (including Bugzilla, GitHub, JIRA, etc.). DevCS has a Dashboard which provides an integrated view of your projects, statistics on changes, builds and deploys, and bug tracking. DevCS combined with JCS (or an on premises customer built solution) provides a technology platform for implementing DevOps within your organization.
Mobile Cloud Service (MCS)
The Mobile Cloud Service is a development platform for building and integrating mobile applications with back-end systems (on premises or cloud-based). The MCS provides platform APIs for common tasks such as Storage, User Management, Push Notifications, REST Database Access, Offline Sync, and Analytics. The MCS also provides built-in connectors for back-end systems using SOAP and/or REST interfaces, the ability to create custom API's to filter and shape information, and a Client SDK to allow developers to build and reuse common tasks such as accessing storage objects on different mobile devices. While none of the services are unique to Mobile Application Development, the MCS brings all of the features and functionality into a single place, and provides many of these capabilities out-of-the-box. This helps alleviate mobile development teams from having to build and stand-up the services themselves, so that they can focus on quickly and efficiently building mobile applications.
Application Platform Cloud Service (APCS)
The Application Platform Cloud Service is not yet Generally Available (GA), but it essentially provides developers with a quick and easy way to deploy Java SE and Node.js applications to the Cloud. You have the ability to select from recent versions of each (Java SE Advanced 7 or 8 and Node.js versions TBD). You can use any available open source or commercial libraries or frameworks for Java and modules for Node.js, integrate with Oracle Database Cloud Service and Messaging Cloud Service, enable clustering for your applications, and monitor and profile application performance through a consolidated dashboard. Developers can collaborate using team development by using the DevCS for developing, building, and deploying their Java SE and Node.js applications.
Integration Cloud Service (ICS)
The Integration Cloud Service is a platform for easily and efficiently integrating SaaS to SaaS and SaaS to on premises applications, using a graphical interface to build connections, perform mappings and transformations, and monitor and manage errors and key performance indicators. ICS comes pre-loaded with connections to your existing Oracle SaaS applications (based on your subscriptions), and has native adapters to the majority of Oracle SaaS applications and many non-Oracle SaaS applications. There is also an Open Adapter SDK to allow developers to build adapters to integrate with SaaS and on premises applications. While designing and building integration flows through ICS you can take advantage of "Oracle Recommends" Smart Data Mapper, which provides recommendations for mapping data elements between commonly integrated source and target applications. There is also a Cloud Marketplace, where users can publish and purchase pre-built integrations, which can be used as-is or as a starting point for building a new integration flow. ICS is based on Oracle Service Bus technology, but is not intended to replace the Oracle SOA Suite or Service Bus. If you are in need of complex orchestration or business rules for integrating your applications, then you'll want to stick with SOA Suite, which can utilize the same SaaS and on premises adapters.
Internet of Things Cloud Service (IoTCS)
While there isn't a lot of information available on The Internet of Things Cloud Service since it's not Generally Available yet, it is anticipated to have capabilities around connecting, controlling, and integrating devices utilizing a secure Gateway Service, SDK, or APIs. The IoTCS can manage the bi-directional communication between devices, applications, and back-end systems and perform stream processing capabilities (presumably utilizing the Oracle Stream Explorer technology). This will provide real-time insight and analysis, complete with predictive analytics, alert rules, anomaly detection, and visualization capabilities. There also seems to be value in integrating these devices and data with existing enterprise applications, both enriching applications with information from devices and communicating from applications to devices.
Messaging Cloud Service (MeCS)
The Messaging Cloud Service provides a platform for reliably sending and receiving messages between Cloud applications/services and between Cloud and on premises. The MeCS provides the messaging capabilities for many of the existing Oracle PaaS offerings, and utilizes industry standard JMS and RESTful web services for message communication, with the option to push messages over HTTP to on premises applications that don't have a SOAP or REST interface readily available. The MeCS provides all of the standard features that you would expect from a JMS-based messaging platform, including point-to-point or publish/subscribe communication, push/pull/filter delivery, reliable messaging using transactions, durable subscriptions and acknowledgements. While I wouldn't recommend the MeCS to replace large enterprise messaging systems with complex requirements, it is an attractive choice for rapidly enabling messaging communication between Cloud applications or Cloud to on premises applications using an already familiar technology. There are some limitations currently on message size (512kb) and message persistence (2 weeks), which need to be taken into consideration when deciding whether to utilize the MeCS.
Process Cloud Service (PCS)
The Process Cloud Service is a platform to allow non-technical users to quickly and easily build applications to automate business processes using a "business friendly" composer. With PCS, the technical details that are typically involved with standing up a Business Process Management (BPM) environment, are hidden away and managed by the Cloud Platform services. Many of the same features of functionalities we've come to expect from Oracle BPM Suite are available with PCS, including flexible task routing, automated delegation, configurable rules, approval hierarchies, actionable alerts, health and SLA monitoring, process flow modification, and a Process Composer providing auto generated forms and business objects. PCS integrates with SaaS and on premises applications, and is expected to integrate with other Oracle PaaS offerings in the future. PCS is not intended as a platform to host enterprise-grade business process management, this is still the sweet spot for Oracle BPM Suite, but PCS is intended to provide a quick and easy way for business users to automate processes that may fall between the cracks of the overall enterprise BPM effort. PCS applications are able to be ported from the Cloud into on premises BPM Suite, so if the process becomes overly complex or needs to be managed through the enterprise BPM solution, it can easily be moved over.
Documents Platform Cloud Service (DOCS)
The Documents Cloud Service (DOCS) provides file sharing, syncing, and collaboration capabilities in the Cloud, providing secure role-based access to content from mobile devices, desktops, web interface, or offline. DOCS also has full featured APIs to allow for integration with Cloud and on premises applications, including Oracle WebCenter Content. As with Oracle's other PaaS offerings, DOCS provides a high-availability platform, an easy to use interface for managing users, permissions, and content, and pre-built reports and dashboards. DOCS is not intended to replace Oracle WebCenter Content, but instead provides cloud-based file sharing and collaboration capabilities that extend an existing Enterprise Content Management strategy, by simplifying file sharing allowing access from anywhere and enriching applications and business processes with content in the Cloud. More information on DOCS can be found in Jonathan Hult's blog posts Introducing Oracle Documents Cloud Service and Oracle Documents Cloud Service - Resources.
Now that we've taken a brief glimpse into some of the Oracle Platform as a Service offerings, I hope that you have a better understanding of how these offerings can fit into your existing Cloud Strategy. Whether you are playing in the Public or Private Cloud space and looking at moving completely to the Cloud or employing a Hybrid Cloud strategy as most organizations are doing, Oracle has you covered. We also discussed some typical use cases for these Oracle PaaS offerings, as not all of the offerings are intended to replace existing on premises or fully functional equivalents (e.g. DOCS is not a replacement for Oracle WebCenter Content). However, all offerings do provide some unique advantages for extending and enhancing both Cloud and on premises applications and systems, whether it's integration, process automation, real-time analytics, messaging, or providing an environment for team development and a Cloud based DevOps environment. For more information on the Oracle Cloud offerings, visit http://cloud.oracle.com, visit, mythics.com/cloud or contact Mythics today and we can help answer any questions you may have about your unique cloud computing needs.
Shawn Ruff, PMP, OCP, Director Fusion Middleware, Mythics Consulting