Oracle Forms 12c in the Cloud

A new project needs a new computer – well that was always the way to go during corporate times. No longer. As a small business, cash flow and budget are top of the list. But, starting a new project with Oracle Forms 12c we needed a computer big enough to support several developers running Oracle Forms Builder, Compiler, a Weblogic Application Server and an Oracle Database. You can dash down to the local store or go online and pick up a machine that could handle this development platform need. Probably an Intel i7 machine, a couple of Terabytes of disk, perhaps an SSD and at least 16GB RAM. In the UK you are probably heading towards £1000 for a known manufacturer of a desktop machine. Add on an operating system license and anti everything software and the project budget starts in the red, not seriously but are we buying another dinosaur that will soon sit in the corner of the office?

Possible solutions – other than buying more hardware

The alternative could be virtualisation on the existing office Mac machines (we need a Windows platform) or to look into Cloud options. Sizing a platform for an Oracle Forms 12c upgrade is easily found. This is not new and unknown technology, but new to us in the Cloud. Initially we looked at Oracle and Amazon but I think would spend too much time calculating the costs over a 3 month project plan. How elastic are the platforms and what are the licensing implications of upsizing/downsizing. I am sure with a few phone calls these can all be know, but, why make things difficult? With a quick Google of ‘Hosted Windows Platform’ we came across https://www.solvps.com/ (No affiliation with them). They were advertising VPS Windows servers that you can expand on demand up to 128 GB RAM, up to 32 cores, SSD disks etc. But what aboutthe cost? Are we signing a blank check based on consumption that we cannot estimate?

A very workable solution

With a deep breath I signed up for Solvps and configured a relatively small machine to test the water. 8GB Ram 1 CPU Core and 5pGB SSD disk. An email arrive several minutes later stating that the machine had been provisioned and gave links to articles on how to connect to the Windows platform. I installed Windows Remote Desktop 8.2 for the Mac (its a Beta version, but hey..) and connected to the windows server. Amazingly, the Mac with 2 screens was immediately turned into a Windows desktop. We do have fast ethernet and the performance seemed great. Downloading and installing Database, Weblogic and Oracle Forms 12c progressed very well. File I/O seemed relatively slow so tried the Support team at Solvps – they suggested turning off Windows Defender – something I remember from years ago, which seems to have cured the slow disk access and copying. Monitoring Windows showed that my rather ambitious  single core cpu was never going to be sufficient. Connecting to the Solvps dashboard I increased the machine size to 4 cores. Within a few minutes I rebooted the Windows machine and saw 4 cores jump into life. Flexibility is the key.

 

Current configuration is:-

Processor – CPU 4 Cores £17.43GBP
Memory – RAM 8 GB £26.96GBP
Storage – SSD 50 GB £6.82GBP
Bandwidth – Data Unlimited Data Transfer
Bandwidth – Speed 1Gbps Port Speed
Operating System Windows 10
Server Location UK – London

 

Making a total of just over £50 a month. I suspect we will need more RAM and Disk space. Pushing RAM to 16GB and Disk to 100GB SSD will add about £34 a month. Even if we reach £100 per month and use it for 3 months, then dump the machine we will have saved budget and have great flexibility on machine size during the project. I am sure there are other good providers out there. The big players are making this way too complex to calculate the financial liability of their Cloud solutions, well worth looking at the smaller vendors out there.

 

Whatever your thoughts are of the Cloud, for small development teams needing short term hardware resources this is a real winner. We already use Cloud apps for CRM and Accounting, why should Developer Cloud resources come as a surprise! Certainly interested if anyone has found comparable costs for a development environment.
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