Oracle Private Cloud Appliance Review

It is scalable as the box can be increased by one compute node. Patching processing takes a long time.

What is our primary use case?

  • PCA is flexible and supports different workloads, such as database, middleware, apps, etc.
  • Supports many operating systems, such as most of Linux distributions, Solaris, and Microsoft Windows.  
  • No software or firmware licences are required. All are included SW; free. 

How has it helped my organization?

  • It is a converged system, which contains integrated HW components (compute servers, networks switches, and storage) and management software plus Oracle VM. 
  • It provides more flexibility to choose the required OS. 
  • It is scalable as the box can be increased by one compute node, if required. 
  • It has helped us to reduce Oracle licensing costs for database and applications.         

What is most valuable?

  • Scalability is a valuable feature, as compute nodes can be added as required. There is no force to increase form 1/8 Rack to 1/4 Rack as in Exalogic, for example. 
  • All shipped SW is free, such as OVM and SDN
  • Supports mixed compute node version, such as X4-2, X5-2 X6-2, etc., and capacity On Demand feature for both HW and Oracle licenses. 
  • Fabric Interconnect Xsigo switches, which are used to connect PCA to the customer datacenter core switch or to the SAN switch, are very flexible and support all type of connectivity, such as QSFP, SAN port 16Gb, InfiniBand connectivity, etc.
  • Supports connection to most of network topology, such as VLAN and network segmentation. 
  • Oracle provides Linux and Solaris OS templates ready to create VM servers for PCA in OVA format.       

What needs improvement?

  • OVM Manager Interface is using HTML5. It should be reconverted to be a Java interface. 
  • A VM server console is needed as an improvement, especially when GUI mode is active.
  • Oracle should provide the OVM client console per user based on his/her privileges to manage his dedicated resources and VM servers.
  • Patching processing takes a long time. Only one compute node is patched at a time.
  • Creating networks for PCA is done via CLI. It should moved to the OVM GUI with a clear diagram or graphics.
  • The PCA dashboard needs more enhancement to contain more info about the components and showing the external connective network links.
  • Internal ZFS storage at PCA is designed to be used for the OVM database, configurations data, and contain VM servers OS only. The customer has to attach an external storage from his own data (it is allowed to use non-Oracle storage), so this design is adding more complexity. I would prefer if Oracle provided another design or option with an internal scalable storage that can be used for both configurations data and customer data without the need to get external storage.           

For how long have I used the solution?

Less than one year.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Until now, it has been fine.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I have not scaled to test. 

How are customer service and technical support?

I cannot give the support more than a six out of 10.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We switched to reduce Oracle licenses and support costs.

How was the initial setup?

Initial setup was straightforward:

  • Three management IPs form two OVM management nodes clustered in active/passive.
  • Provision the compute nodes to OVM cluster.
  • Connect the external storage. 

For normal setup, it will take around one day. 

What about the implementation team?

We used a vendor team for the implementation. I would rate their expertise as a seven out of 10.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

  • No licenses for the shipped software or firmware.
  • For pricing, it is more expensive than the normal solution or the hyper-converged system.  

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

VMware and Nutanix.

What other advice do I have?

If you have many Oracle products, such as databases, middleware, and apps, it will help you reduce Oracle app licences and support costs. 

Which version of this solution are you currently using?

**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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