In this article we will help you to understand the network connectivity options to integrate an application hosted in your local data center or third party data center. Architecture diagrams will help in understanding the technical and networking requirements for outbound and inbound communication from and to Oracle Utilities Cloud services.

Architecture

You can choose one of the following three architectures to integrate external applications with Oracle Utilities Cloud service.

Design 1: Integrating an external application with Oracle Utilities Cloud services through public (internet) web service APIs

Oracle Utilities Cloud | Oracle Cloud Infrastructure

In this design – the external application and communicates to Oracle Utilities Cloud service over the public internet. The REST APIs on the Oracle Utilities Cloud services are exposed securely to the public internet, so if an on-premise application needs to access the REST APIs, it can do so, as long as the application has access to the public internet. Similarly, Oracle Utilities Cloud services can access web service end points that are exposed to the public internet (public IP) i.e., if the on-premise application’s web service end points are exposed to the public internet, then these can be consumed by Oracle Utilities Cloud services. A firewall in your corporate network may be configured to expose any application’s private end points to the public internet. Although this forms the simplest possible communication channel, transiting over the public internet requires close consideration of the security, availability and reliability that the public internet can provide.

 

Design 2: Integrating an external application with Oracle Utilities Cloud services through VPN Connect for private webservice APIs

Oracle Utilities Cloud | Tangenz Corporation

In this architecture, the external application makes private webservice API calls through the public internet, protected by an extended VPN, which creates a secured connection between your corporate private network and your VCN on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI). Within OCI networking, communication between Oracle Utilities Cloud services’ VCN (Virtual Cloud Network) and your VCN uses the service gateway. VPN Connect requires setting up of CPE (Customer Premise Equipment), which interfaces with VPN DRG (Dynamic Routing Gateway) creating a IPSEC Encryption Tunnel over the internet, securing all information flowing through the tunnel. Authentication is provided by Oracle Identity Cloud Service. In turn, the Oracle Utilities Cloud service makes webservice calls to the external application by using Oracle Utilities Cloud service supported authentication methods such as basic authentication/OAuth client credentials, through the VPN. Note that Oracle Utilities Cloud services can make API calls only to public IP addresses, so you need to set up a proxy to expose your private API end points through public IP. The external application posts data to OCI object storage by using REST APIs. Note that Oracle Utilities Cloud services can make API calls only to public IP addresses, so you need to set up a proxy to expose your private API end points through public IP. The external application posts data to OCI object storage by using REST APIs. In the event that your external application’s digital certificates are not issued by a certification authority, you can use a single reverse proxy, with signed certificate, to proxy for multiple applications in your data center. The reverse proxy can be set up either in your data center or within your VCN in OCI.

 

Design 3: Integrating an external application with Oracle Utilities Cloud services through FastConnect for private webservice APIs

Oracle Cloud Infrastructure | Tangenz Corporation

Alternately, another private routing option of FastConnect may also be used to connect your private/corporate network with OCI network(OCI VCN). FastConnect provides an entry point in to OCI for a dedicated private line between your data center and the OCI to enable high bandwidth data transfer over a highly secured channel. FastConnect communication requires FastConnect DRG to be setup on your OCI VCN along with a dedicated line that can connect the CPE with the FastConnect DRG to be set up, which in turn interfaces with the service gateway or the proxy within you VCN, depending on the direction of the communication. Within OCI networking, communication between Oracle Utilities Cloud Service’s VCN(Virtual Cloud Network) and your VCN uses the service gateway or your proxy depending on the direction of the API Call.

For all file based integrations, your on-premise application can post to or pulls from OCI object storage by using public(internet) REST APIs.

 

Networking Scenarios

Following four different networking scenarios can be described, based on the above three networking architectures, any of which you might consider when integrating Oracle Utilities Cloud Services with an application hosted externally.

Use the following table and associated topics to help you decide which networking option best fits your needs.

ScenarioDescriptionSecurityHigh AvailabilityThroughputCost
1Connectivity over public internet without VPN or FastConnectTLS onlyRelies on connectivity over the internetLimitedLow setup cost; Low setup cost; OCI data transfer charges may apply
2Connectivity over public internet with VPN Connect and without FastConnectIPSec, EncryptedLimitedTypically <250MbpsLow setup cost; Low setup cost; OCI data transfer charges may apply
3Connectivity over FastConnect without VPN (VPN may reduce the throughput)TLS over dedicated private line – Not EncryptedRedundancy supported – Refer to High Redundancy Best PracticesPort speeds in 1 Gbps, 10 Gbps or 100 Gbps incrementsProminent setup cost; OCI data transfer charges do not apply
4Connectivity over public internet with VPN (as a fallback) and FastConnectDepending on the path used for communication (Fast Connect -Not Encrypted; VPN -Encrypted)Redundancy by Design – Refer to Redundancy Best PracticesDepending on the path used for data transferProminent setup cost; OCI data transfer fees may apply, depending on the path of communication

 

Although connecting to Oracle Utilities Cloud Service via the internet is the cheaper option to setup, due to its limited security and availability, when transferring secured information as part of product integrations, it might also be the riskier option. Also, the OCI data transfer charges should be taken into consideration when evaluating the networking options. To ensure utmost security and availability, the FastConnect option with a redundant setup of VPN over public internet may be preferred.

 

Scenario 1: Connect Over Public Internet Without VPN or FastConnect

You can consider connecting over the public Internet without a VPN or FastConnect when the integration with on-premises application doesn’t need high bandwidth or high levels of security.

Pre-requisites (To be done by the customer)
  • On-premises application’s APIs in customer’s network should be publicly accessible through the internet.
  • Application’s inside customer’s network should have access to public internet.
Working
  • Oracle Utilities Cloud Services REST APIs are exposed to the public internet, so on-premises applications can use these REST APIs for integrations.
  • Oracle Utilities Cloud Services can call on-premises public (internet facing) APIs for integration.
  • File transfers can be done by using Object Storage, which also has secured public (internet facing) REST APIs.
ProsSimple setup, lower cost.
Cons
  • Limited security of data in transit by using TLS, through public internet.
  • No guaranteed availability of connection; network outages between the on-premises data center and Oracle’s OCI can occur.
  • Unpredictable throughput; moving large amounts of data can take substantial time
  • OCI data transfer charges may apply.

 

Scenario 2: Connect Over Public Internet With VPN but Without FastConnect

Connect over the public internet with a VPN Connect but without FastConnect when the integration with on-premises applications doesn’t need high bandwidth but needs higher levels of security, with private APIs for integration. Because FastConnect involves additional cost, you can use this scenario when cost is a factor but network throughput isn’t.

Pre-requisite setup (To be planned and setup by the customer)
  • Appropriate setup needs to be done between the on-premises data center and OCI for the VPN Connect.
  • Service Gateway needs to be setup within customer’s OCI VCN to route requests from customer’s on-premises data center to Oracle Utilities Cloud Services through the VPN connect.
  • A customer proxy needs to be set up within customer’s OCI VCN to route requests from Oracle Utilities Cloud Services to the private APIs on customer’s on-premises data center. The proxy can be setup using an OCI compute instance and appropriate proxy software.
  • Redundancy can be planned and the VPN setup should be done accordingly (this is a redundancy best practice).
Working
  • Oracle Utilities Cloud services REST APIs can be accessed via the VPN Connect route through the service gateway, so customer’s on-premises applications can use these REST APIs for integrations.
  • Oracle Utilities Cloud services can access the private APIs of customer’s applications through the proxy & via the VPN.
  • File transfers can be done by using Object Storage, which also has secured public (internet facing) REST APIs.
Pros
  • Easy to set up; more secure than public internet option.
  • Redundancy is supported by way of multiple connections and tunnels.
Cons
  • Cost of setting up the proxy to expose the customer’s on-premises applications’ APIs to Oracle Utilities Cloud services.
  • Service gateway setup.
  • Low throughput—typically <250Mbps; moving large amounts of data can take substantial time.
  • OCI data transfer charges may apply.

 

Scenario 3: Connect Over FastConnect Without VPN

Connect over FastConnect without a VPN when the integration with an on-premises application requires high bandwidth; for example, when you need to transfer large files.

Prerequisites setup (to be planned and setup by the customer)s
  • A dedicated private line between a customer’s on-premises data center and OCI.
  • A Proxy needs to be set up so that any private end points are exposed to Oracle Utilities Cloud services as public end points.
  • Service Gateway needs to be set up within customer’s OCI VCN to route requests from customer’s on-premises data center to Oracle Utilities Cloud services through the VPN connect.
  • A customer proxy can be set up within customer’s OCI VCN to route requests from Oracle Utilities Cloud services to the private APIs on customer’s on-premises data center. The proxy can be set up by using a compute instance and appropriate proxy software.
  • Redundancy can be planned and the FastConnect setup should be done accordingly (Redundancy is a best practice).
Working
  • Oracle Utilities Cloud services REST APIs can be accessed via the FastConnect and Service Gateway route, so customer’s applications can use these REST APIs for integrations.
  • Oracle Utilities Cloud services can access the private APIs of customer’s on-premises applications through the proxy and via FastConnect.
  • File transfers are done using Object Storage, which also has REST APIs.
ProsHigh bandwidth; secure line.
ConsCost of setting up the FastConnect private line and the cost of setting up the proxy and the service gateway.

 

Scenario 4: Connect Over Public Internet with VPN and FASTConnect

Connect over the public internet with a VPN Connect and FASTConnect when the integration with an on-premises application requires not only high bandwidth, but also needs a fallback mechanism to ensure close to 100% availability. While the fallback mechanism in this case has a lower bandwidth, it ensures that connectivity persists.

Pre-requisites:
  • A dedicated private line between a customer’s on-premises data center and OCI.
  • A Proxy needs to be set up so that any private end points are exposed to Oracle Utilities Cloud Services as public end points.
  • Service Gateway needs to be set up within customer’s OCI VCN to route requests from customer’s on-premises data center to Oracle Utilities Cloud services through the VPN connect.
  • The proxy can be set up within customer’s OCI VCN to route requests from Oracle Utilities Cloud Services to the private APIs on customer’s on-premises data center. The proxy can be set up using a compute instance and appropriate proxy software.
  • Redundancy can be planned and the FastConnect setup should be done accordingly (Redundancy is a best practice).
  • Redundancy can be planned and the VPN setup should be done accordingly (Redundancy is a best practice).
Working:
  • Oracle Utilities Cloud services REST APIs can be accessed via the FastConnect or the VPN Connect route, so customer’s applications can use these REST APIs for integrations.
  • Oracle Utilities Cloud services can access the private APIs of customer’s on-premise through the proxy and via FastConnect or the VPN Connect
  • File transfers can be done using Object Storage’s public(internet facing) REST APIs or by connecting to the Object Storage through FastConnect.
ProsHigh bandwidth, high availability, and secure.
Cons
  • Cost of setting up the private line for FastConnect and the cost of setting up the proxy to expose the on-premises private end points to Oracle Utilities Cloud services.
  • Service Gateway set up.
  • Low throughput of VPN Connect in case FastConnect line becomes unavailable.

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