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Oracle 18c Goes for Database Automation in the Cloud

In what was probably the most important announcement made during 2017 ’s version of Oracle’s OpenWorld conference, the company announced the release of version 18c of its worldwide known database management system which includes two key features: to be a fully automated.

Oracle’s founder and CTO Larry Ellison made the announcement of the autonomous database, which includes database and cyber-security automation because, according to Mr. Ellison, “human processes stink”.


According to Oracle, the autonomous database will practically eliminate all human intervention associated with all database managing activities like tuning, patching, updating and maintenance by including major capabilities:

  • Self-Driving: Provides continuous adaptive performance tuning based on machine learning. Automatically upgrades and patches itself while running. Automatically applies security updates while running to protect against cyber-attacks.
  • Self-Scaling: Instantly resizes compute and storage without downtime. Cost savings are multiplied because Oracle Autonomous Database Cloud consumes less compute and storage than Amazon, with lower manual administration costs.
  • Self-Repairing: Provides automated protection from downtime. SLA guarantees 99.995 percent reliability and availability, which reduces costly planned and unplanned downtime to less than 30-minutes per year.

To achieve it, the new autonomous database has integrated applied machine learning techniques to deliver without human intervention, self-driving, self-tuning, self-recovering, and self-scaling management capabilities which aims to streamline operations and provide more efficient consumption of resources as well as higher security and reliability.

But first... the Data Warehouse

Oracle’s autonomous database service can handle different workload types including transactional, non-transactional, mixed or graph and IoT workloads yet, while the automated OLTP version is scheduled to be available by June 2018, Oracle’s first autonomous database service will be directed to data warehouse workloads, planned to be available 2017.

Much as like all their services, the design of Oracle’s Autonomous Database Cloud Service for Data Warehouse relies on machine-learning to enable automatic tune and performance optimization. By using artificial intelligence and machine learning, Oracle aims achieve autonomous control to offer reliability, performance and highly elastic data management services as well as to enable fast deployments that can be done in seconds.
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According to Oracle, some features to be offered by the new service include capabilities to:
  • Execute high-performance queries and concurrent workloads with optimized query performance and with pre-configured resource profiles for different types of users
  • Deploy highly elastic pre-configured compute and storage architectures to instantaneously scale up or down, avoiding overpay for fixed blocks of resources
  • Integrate Oracle SQL DWCS all business analytics tools that support Oracle database
  • Make use of its built-in web-based Apache Zeppelin based notebooks
  • Deploy a self Driving fully automated database for self-tuning patch, upgrade itself while the system is running
  • Take advantage of its database migration utility dedicated cloud-ready migration tools for easy migration from Amazon AWS Redshift, SQL Server and other databases
  • Perform cloud-based scalable data-loading from Oracle Object Storage, AWS S3, or on-premises
  • Deploy under an enterprise grade security schema on which data is encrypted by default in the cloud, as well as in transit and at rest
The new Oracle autonomous database cloud service for data warehouse aims to eliminate manual configuration errors and ensure continuous reliability and self-correction, It also includes, according with Oracle unlimited concurrent access and an advanced clustering technology to enable organizations to scale without any downtime.

With the inclusion of this service, Oracle is expanding its data warehouse software stack portfolio, expanding its services for both on-premises and cloud platforms and with different data services, aiming to reach a greater number of organizations each with different data warehousing management needs and complexities such is the case for existing data warehouse services available within Oracle Exadata, Exadata Cloud, and now the autonomous database cloud service.

The Rise of the Automated Database?

The ideal to achieve full database automation is not new and many, if not all, software vendors have made important efforts to automate different aspects of a database administration cycle —examples include Teradata and Attunity for automating data ingestion and data warehouse or those efforts made by third party software providers like BMC with BladeLogic Database Automation— and yet, until now full automation seemed to be an impossible task.

One main reason is that database automation involves not just the ability to achieve automation for common repetitive database configuration tasks including those involved with initial schema and security configuration but much more complex tasks including database tuning and performance monitoring which requires the ability adapt to changing conditions and require the system’s ability to learn and adapt.

The evolution of machine learning, artificial intelligence and cognitive computing technologies is certainly making this automation efforts possible and of course, Oracle deserves significant credit for embracing these technologies and taking a step further and aiming to achieve fully database automation.

As we should expect, it will not take long for other software providers to join the race and join the ranks of vendors offering fully automated database solutions, so as a cautionary message, it will be critical, in my view, to start by making comprehensive assessments of these solutions capabilities and accuracy before rushing to push the automatic pilot button and get rid of your DBA’s just yet.

You might realize it will take some time before you can lower your IT footprint.

Comments? Let me know your thoughts

Comments

  1. Despite the new features of Oracle Database 18c that are supposed to transform it into an autonomous database, the “Autonomous Database” remains a cloud service. As such, you will need to run the “Autonomous Database Service” on Oracle Public Cloud; simply installing Oracle Database 18c on premises – or in the Oracle Cloud – will not get you an autonomous database. Thanks!
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