Image courtesy of Oracle
Oracle executive chairman and CTO Larry Ellison announced the availability of the first service based on the new Oracle Autonomous Database during a presentation at Oracle headquarters on March 27. Described as “the world’s first self-driving, self-securing, self-repairing database cloud service,” the Oracle Autonomous Data Warehouse Cloud uses machine learning to deliver performance, security, and availability with no human intervention. “At Oracle OpenWorld last fall, we announced the Oracle Autonomous Database and this is an update on the Autonomous Database that now that it is generally available to all of our customers,” Ellison stated.
And, in a sequence that seemed designed to showcase the perils of human error, Ellison opened his presentation stating that the slides being shown were not his, asking “whose slides are these?” and then ad libbing for several minutes while waiting for the correct ones to appear.
Oracle Autonomous Data Warehouse Cloud is the first of the Oracle Autonomous Database Cloud services that uses machine learning. Ellison, who interspersed remarks targeting Amazon Web Services throughout the presentation, said that Oracle plans to differentiate itself from Amazon by offering a complete suite of high-level platform services that sit on top of infrastructure services. Oracle's autonomous PaaS services will allow organizations to become much more efficient in developing and running applications, spend much less money developing and running applications, and the result is the applications themselves are “dramatically more secure” and faster, and therefore, at lower cost than if they had been developed the old way, he said.
Autonomous Database ‘Changes Everything’
“The autonomous database is based on a technology as revolutionary as the internet,” said Ellison, noting that Oracle used to have a tag line, “the internet changes everything.” And it is the same with this technology, he noted, because “same deal, it changes everything.” For a long time, people saw the promise of AI but it never quite delivered to its promise until very recently, Ellison observed. “With the advent of the latest generation of AI, neural networks combined with machine learning, we are doing things that hitherto have been considered unimaginable by computers.”
According to Oracle, the Oracle Autonomous Data Warehouse Cloud delivers all of the analytical capabilities, security features, and high availability of the Oracle Database without any of the complexities of configuration, tuning, and administration—even as warehousing workloads and data volumes change. In addition, the company says, the autonomous database is a new class of offering which requires no operational administration on the customer’s part, enabling cloud data warehousing that is easy, fast, and elastic.
Citing the many uses for AI and machine learning such as self-driving cars and facial recognition, Ellison acknowledged that there can be downsides to any new technology, but said the benefits will outweigh the risks.
Fear of new technologies is as old as time, Ellison said, as he imagined a debate among ancient cave dwellers who discovered how to control fire on whether it could be used as a weapon and the danger of sharing the secret with others. He noted that, by and large, new technologies have improved lives and enhanced welfare and prosperity, though, any technology has the potential for misuse.
The warehouse provisioning spins up a secure data warehouse with automatic backup, encryption, and a high availability architecture in mere seconds, and migration to cloud is simple due to full compatibility with existing on-premises databases. There is also no tuning required, said Ellison, and Oracle guarantees the same workload at half the cost of Amazon Web Services. In addition, it provides independent, online scaling of compute and storage with the ability to dynamically grow or shrink resources to support pay-per-use, and lower costs.
Leveraging its experience to transform how companies benefit from database services, Oracle says the Autonomous Data Warehouse Cloud is the first of many Oracle Autonomous Database Cloud services. Other services in development include Oracle Autonomous Database for Transaction Processing, Oracle Autonomous NoSQL Database for fast, massive-scale reads and writes (commonly demanded by the Internet of Things), and Oracle Autonomous Graph Database for network analysis.
Self-Driving, Self-Procuring, Self-Repairing
Each of these offerings is tuned to its specific workload, and shares the defining characteristics of Oracle Autonomous Database services: self-driving to eliminate human labor and human error to provision, secure, monitor, backup, recover, troubleshoot, and tune the database, with automatic upgrades and self-patching while running; self-securing to protect from external attacks and malicious internal users. security updates automatically applied while running to protect against cyberattacks, and automatically encrypts all data; and self-repairing to provide automated protection from all planned and unplanned downtime with up to 99.995% availability, resulting in less than 2.5 minutes of downtime per month, including planned maintenance.
“There are many benefits to autonomous systems and the first one is the elimination of human labor,” said Ellison. “This no human labor is a very big deal; it is a very big deal because human beings make mistakes.” In addition, he said, “The vast majority of the cost of running an Oracle Database—or any kind of database for that matter—is human labor.”
Underscoring the benefits of automation, Ellison alluded to the Equifax breach, stating that a credit agency recently had a significant data breach because—although it knew of an Apache Struts vulnerability—it was not able to find all instances, a situation that could be avoided with the ability to do automated patching. In the case of that credit agency, it was not cybercriminals who stole the data, but nation states, and this is believed to be true because, he said, the credit card numbers have not turned up on the dark web.
Built on Oracle Database 18c
The Oracle Autonomous Data Warehouse is built on Oracle Database 18c, the first release in Oracle’s new annual database software release model. With more than 100 new features, Oracle Database 18c is now available on Oracle Cloud Services, Oracle engineered systems, and livesql.oracle.com.
This announcement follows on the heels of Oracle’s recently announced expansion of its Oracle Cloud Platform Autonomous Services. During the 2018 calendar year, Oracle plans to deliver Oracle Autonomous Analytics, Oracle Autonomous Mobility, Oracle Autonomous Application Development and Oracle Autonomous Integration services.
To watch an edited replay of the Oracle webcast, go to www.oracle.com/us/corporate/events/autonomous-future/index.html.
More information is available from Oracle about the Oracle Autonomous Data Warehouse Cloud and Oracle Autonomous Database.