Oracle has a history of delivering the data management solutions of choice for managing customers’ operational and analytical workloads on-prem and in the cloud. Oracle’s strategy is to continue delivering unique and innovative products and services to meet and exceed customers’ requirements.
At the recent INSYNC 21 virtual conference, Jenny Tsai-Smith, vice president of database product management at Oracle, presented a keynote on Oracle’s data management strategy.
The Power of Data
Data is the invisible power inside nearly every one of our actions and decisions in private, public, and commercial life, said Tsai-Smith. Every day, more than $1 trillion in foreign currency exchange happens digitally. All of that money is just data. In addition, everything driven by AI, such as recommendations, fraud detection, and commercial credit checks, is powered by data. Creating value from data will increasingly determine an enterprise’s competitiveness.
Data-driven applications operate on a diverse set of data, such as spatial, document, sensor, transactional, and other types. Data-driven applications create value from data in different ways from traditional applications. To keep pace with the business challenges and opportunities, data-driven applications are developed with more agile, scalable, and secure paradigms.
Approaches to Managing, Using, and Securing Data
There are a number of approaches for managing, using, and securing data in data-driven applications. One approach is to use multiple single-purpose database engines, each storing and processing a specific data type or workload type. Another approach is to use a converged database engine, which can support many data types and workloads simultaneously.
If you take the single-purpose-database-engine approach, you may need six different products or services to build an app. Each single-purpose product or service requires specialized knowledge, additional costs, and different operational and security configurations. In contrast, Oracle offers a converged database engine that can handle all data types and workloads.
Oracle adopted the converged database approach to reduce complexity, eliminate risks, and mitigate costs. Whether you create a single database instance, multiple database instances, or a multitenant container database with multiple pluggable databases, using the same Oracle Converged Database engine offers simplicity and increases productivity.
Oracle Data Management Strategy
There are essentially three pillars to Oracle’s data management strategy:
- Oracle Database
- Oracle Exadata
- Oracle Autonomous Database
Oracle Databases have nearly 4 decades of history and ingrained in the Oracle DNA is the tenet that this engine should be able to run pretty much anywhere. Oracle has taken this approach to the cloud, meaning the same database engine that you run on-prem is also available in the public cloud, in the Cloud@Customer deployment, and in Oracle’s dedicated region Cloud@Customer. In the cloud, customers have the ability to choose between a hosted, comanaged, or fully managed (autonomous) database. The idea is that you should be able to develop and deploy your application anywhere to ensure the highest level of portability.
When looking at Oracle Database releases and support timelines, there are several older releases that are coming to the end of their support life. Oracle strongly encourages customers to upgrade to the most current long-term release, which is 19c. It has 5 years of Premier Support and 3 years of Extended Support, which ends in April 2027. If you have complex applications and want to minimize the number of upgrades, you might want to upgrade to 19c and stay there for awhile.
Some of the key features in 19c are the following:
- Active Data Guard: Enables read and write operations on standby database
- Cloud SQL: Provides query object stores using SQL
- Streaming Inserts: Enables faster processing of IoT-generate data streams
- Automatic Indexing: Allows faster performance with no manual tuning
In December 2020, Oracle released its latest database version, which is 21c. This version has 2 years of Premier Support and is
flagged as an Innovation Release, which means that it houses a large number of new features.
Some of the key features in 21c are the following:
- Blockchain Tables: For secure ledger tables managed by a trusted partner
- Persistent Memory: Enables faster performance with no application changes
- AutoML in OML4Py: Enables non-experts to leverage machine learning
- JSON Binary Type: Scans up to 10x faster; upgrades up to 4x faster
Ultimately, what Oracle is building with Oracle Database is the world’s best converged database—providing support for any data, any workload types, and enabling the most productivity for your developers, DBAs, and data scientists.
Oracle Exadata is the best platform for all database workloads, both on-prem and in the cloud. It is a combination of the most highly optimized hardware and software that can be used with an Oracle Database. On the hardware front, Oracle is continuing to add more hardware that is optimized for both compute, storage, and networking. Oracle is conscious of the need for the higher capacity while maintaining the most cost-optimization.
Tsai-Smith described Oracle’s “secret sauce” as the storage software, or the smart system software, that comes with Oracle Exadata. This software provides algorithms that will enable the processing that normally would have taken place in the compute for the database instance to get pushed down to where the data is stored. It is essentially making the storage hardware smart and allows for the consolidation of transaction processing and analytic workloads. On top of all of that is software that will automate the management of Exadata, optimize the configuration, automatically detect when faults are about to occur in the hardware, address the problems, and, in some cases, mitigate and prevent the occurrence.
Oracle Autonomous Database
Oracle Autonomous Database is Oracle’s premier offering for data management products. Autonomous Database, which was introduced roughly 3 years ago, is only available in Oracle Cloud Infrastructure. While the Oracle Database is sophisticated and fully functional, Oracle decided that it needed to make it easier for customers to take advantage of all the available capabilities. Oracle Autonomous Database was built to offer enterprise-class performance, scalability, availability, and security while being self-driving, self-operating, self-managing, self-patching, self-tuning, and, in some cases, self-recovering.
Taking some of the operational aspects of running a database off customers’ hands helps them spend time on things that could be more beneficial to their companies. To help achieve improved productivity, Oracle has integrated the Application Express (APEX) low-code platform into the Oracle Autonomous Database.
Oracle Autonomous Database essentially eliminated all the complexities of database deployment and management by running the database on top of the Exadata infrastructure and adding some of the data center operations to cloud operations using machine learning. You can proactively eliminate problems before users even realize they are there.
Oracle Autonomous Database does run on the one converged database, Oracle Database, but it does offer several “personalities” that are optimized by the use case:
- Autonomous Data Warehouse: For analytics, data science, and machine learning
- Autonomous Transaction Processing (ATP): For business applications, analytics, and mixed workloads
- Autonomous JSON Database: Enables JSON document management “push-button” upgrade to ATP
Oracle Autonomous Database was originally only in the public cloud, but due to customer demand, Oracle is now also making it available on Cloud@Customer. Customers who have governmental or compliance requirements requiring them to keep the data in their data center can make use of this deployment of Oracle Autonomous Database.
Oracle also has a free service called Data Safe that will offer essentially a single unified security service for all of your Oracle Cloud Database services. This is available for Database Cloud Service and Exadata Cloud Service. Additionally, Oracle recently added support for on-prem databases. With this fully managed data security hub, there is no special expertise needed and nothing additional to install or manage.
Oracle’s APEX platform is also now available as a cloud service. This fully-managed stack is the Oracle REST Data Service plus APEX sitting on top of the Oracle Autonomous Database. The APEX Application Development Service is a low-code environment for building and deploying data-driven apps 20x–40x faster than traditional coding.
Tsai-Smith said the products and releases that Oracle is pushing out are helping to drive the future of data management and attendees should remember that:
- Oracle Database 19c and 21c are
- Available for on-prem deployment and in Oracle Cloud
- Focused on converged database technology
- Oracle Exadata X8M offers
- New RoCE [RDMA over Converged Ethernet] and persistent memory
- Oracle Autonomous Database offers
- Complete automation enabled by machine learning
- The ability to run in public-cloud or Cloud@Customer settings
To learn more, check out Tsai-Smith’s INSYNC 21 keynote at