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Oracle Java Cloud Service Review
You don't have to worry about setting up the infrastructure; Oracle manages it. We had to do manual configurations, even after we got the JCS instance.


Valuable Features:

The most valuable feature is the ability to provision a platform of your choice, such WebLogic, BPM Suite and a lot of other FMW products. It's also easy to deploy a MW platform on the cloud. You don't have to worry about setting up the infrastructure; Oracle manages it. You just have to divert away existing licenses of the technology stack to the deployed platform on JCS.

Improvements to My Organization:

It's shortened our time to market as we don't have to invest in data centers, computing resources and the underlying infrastructure. The proposition of Java Cloud Service is that, "Hey, here is a hosted platform for you on one of industries best application server i.e. Oracle WebLogic Server". Oracle will provide a platform, the hosting services, and the infrastructure. You just subscribe to a metered or non-metered usage and possibly extend the platform  using your existing Oracle's license on the product you are using. 

For instance, if you are using BPM Suite, you just purchase a BPM Suite license, build an Oracle BPM platform on top of JCS, and deploy your applications on top of it. Oracle will support the JCS infrastructure and you still get the ability to extend it to suite your needs.

You can scale up and scale down, have a high available infrastructure  and even do disaster recovery if you have Java Cloud Services deployed at two different availability zones. It's a very low-cost option for a business to start with. That's one of the best business reasons to move into JCS.

Room for Improvement:

We've had some issues when Oracle released updates and patched the JCS environments without our knowledge. The proposition of Oracle JCS is that Oracle is going to give you the infrastructure, manage it, patch it, and upgrade it themselves. You just deploy your solutions on top of it and execute. Some of the automated platform patches broke our existing functionality and we were not notified about it. 

This means you're at Oracle's mercy, but again, we improved that process because Java Cloud Services as a service is maturing itself, and that's one of the problems that we had. 

There were a lot of configurations that we had to do to extend JCS with the FMW platform that we used, which was very manual and often error prone. We would like to have Oracle think about how can all the ongoing configurations that are applied on JCS be automated, or whether Oracle has a way to make sure the configuration drift is captured and there is a way to revert the environment back to its original state once something goes wrong.

Another area of improvement is to provide support for all critical components of the FMW platform such as WebLogic, SOA Suite and BPM Suite. When we started using JCS,  WebLogic 12.2.1 and BPM Suite 12.2.1 was supported on it but not SOA Suite 12.2.1. This makes adoption and usage of JCS harder in enterprises because when an enterprise wants to go to JCS, they want to either deploy one or all solutions particularly when they are integrated together. 

For instance, you will hardly see an enterprise which has BPM and not SOA, or SOA and not WebLogic. How do I move just my BPM on JCS and not SOA? That's what has been so difficult about it.

Use of Solution:

We have used JCS for a few of our customers for over 2 years.

Deployment Issues:

Again, the deployment issues have to do with the fact that not all solutions can be integrated together.

Stability Issues:

We've had a some stability issues, but again, it was because when we adopted JCS, it was just released. It was in its nascent stages and you could possibly understand that there's going to be a few issues. However, it's improving over time.

Scalability Issues:

We haven't had use cases where we have used deployed applications on JCS to support a big user base. We've used JCS for customers who have a user base of about 1,000 or 2,000, which is not a very big number. We've been pretty successful with that. Beyond that, we'll have to see. We know it can be scaled, and that's why we've invested in it.

Initial Setup:

It depends. If you have Java applications, you can subscribe to JCS from Oracle deploy your applications. If you have SOA or BPM, then you will have to provision those platforms on top of the JCS infrastructure that Oracle provides you. That is where it could possibly get challenging, but it depends on the nature of the product that you're trying to install on the JCS.

Other Advice:

When you go to JCS, think about whether you want more than just the product and think about how you want to maintain the platform. It's a significant shift in the way you operate your IT. It's going to be a different proposition, it's going to be an infrastructure which is not managed by yourself in whole. You're just in the process of deploying to JCS.

A promising integration platform strategy is to ensure environments are delivered as a service on demand and ready to be consumed. Also customers may use JCS to run their FMW development environments but may want to have production environments on-premise. Unless there is a consistent and automated way of provisioning, ongoing configuration management, deployment, testing across both the MW platform on JCS and on-premise, it will be cumbersome to move applications between on-premise and JCS seamlessly.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: We're partners.

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