Author: Tom Laszewski & Prakash Nauduri
Aimed at: IT managers thinking of moving databases to Oracle in the cloud
Pros: Useful for obtaining an idea of what’s involved in a migration
Cons: Very high level with occasional swoops to hands-on; tries to cover too many options
Reviewed by: Kay Ewbank
The subtitle of this book is Oracle Client/Server Modernization, which gives an initial impression that it’s going to be about taking an Oracle setup and moving it to the cloud. However, that’s quite misleading, because what the authors actually have in mind much more is taking client server systems based on other relational databases and application languages, and converting them to run under Oracle in a cloud environment.
If you’re a normal mortal you’re probably hiding behind the sofa at the very thought of trying this, but the authors are made of sterner stuff. Like many Oracle bods they are fanatical about its advantages, so their stance is that you could take pretty much any combination of relational database and application language and improve it by moving it to an Oracle cloud environment.
While I’m a long way from convinced, you have to admit that if you’re going to be moving to the cloud anyway, it sort of makes sense if you’re ever going to move to Oracle to do it at that point.
The authors say that the aim of the book is to give you a reference guide as you plan and design your Oracle cloud infrastructure, then carry out the move into the cloud. In view of this the book contains a mix of high level general planning, coverage of the tools and how to use them, sample code showing how you’d move specific elements such as schemas, data and stored procedures, and some case studies looking at different migrations.
The book kicks off with a look at the basics of cloud computing and the descriptions you’re going to encounter - Software as a Service, Platform as a Service, Infrastructure as a Service. The authors also cover virtualization techniques and the Oracle products that you use in cloud computing.
The next chapter after this look at how you’d go about identifying the level of effort and cost (and the answers “high and lots” aren’t specific enough). Being serious, if you’re really planning on spending even $100,000 moving your application, I doubt whether your boss would be happy with you working out the estimate based on you having read a chapter about how to work out the cost. Where this chapter would be useful would be for smaller migrations, or to give you more of an idea how the men in the expensive suits are working it out for you.
Next we get some useful hands on stuff; there’s a neat chapter going over the most common differences between Oracle and rival databases and how to overcome the difficulties these cause, then another chapter looking at the tools provided by Oracle and its partners for carrying out migrations, such as Oracle GoldenGate, Enterprise Manager Tuning and Diagnostics.
The next few chapters take the most common areas of migration one at a time and look at the nuts and bolts of migration - schemas; stored objects such as procedures, triggers and views; batch processes and scripts; and a rather optimistic chapter on migrating from one application language to another. These chapters are most useful in practical terms, but don’t particularly fit with the rest of the book.
The remainder of the book is a set of case studies of various kinds. There’s a chapter looking at Rocket Software’s LegaSuite, which is described as application modernization software; another looks at a Sybase to Oracle migration, another on migrating an Oracle Forms-based application using Oracle Application Development Framework, and a final case study on migrating from PowerBuilder or Oracle Application Express. In each case there’s a bit of useful stuff, some Oracle evangelising, and some standard case study hype. The book finishes with a look at emerging trends.
Overall, this isn’t a book that would tell you anything if you knew enough to actually roll up your sleeves and start the process of migrating a system from Sybase to Oracle (say). On the other hand, if you were the IT manager wanting to be able to understand what your team of migration experts are telling you about the choices you need to make, it would be quite a good guide so you could nip off and see what the heck they were talking about. There are some useful practical things for people who are doing it for real, but the majority of the book is high level rather than hands-on.