Oracle sees autonomous capabilities of its database as a ‘game-changer’ not only to its future growth but also for the enterprise sector to store critical business information and for efficient operations.
The US software giant, with decades of database software and technologies and having a strong penetration in the enterprise space, is gearing up for the next growth phase in cloud services.
Its competitors offer the ability to automate scaling and backups but what Oracle is offering is intelligent and self-managing database by eliminating human administrative access with the power of artificial intelligence and machine learning in a bid to bring a high degree of automation to routine administrative tasks.
An autonomous database is a cloud database that eliminates complexity, human error and manual management associated with database tuning, security, backups and updates; tasks traditionally performed by the database administrators (DBAs).
“Oracle’s response to autonomous is an absolutely critical element for dealing with enterprise-wide security as it gives a greater level of agility for organisations to differentiate and optimise their business, well beyond the competition,” Richard Smith, senior vice-president, UKII, ECEMEA and South Clusters for Technology at Oracle told TechRadar Middle East.
Capital One…A good example
Capital One recently announced a data breach that has exposed personal information such as transaction data, credit scores, payment history, balances, and for some linked bank accounts, social security numbers of 106 million people across the US and Canada.
The data breach was an exploit of a configuration issue in a firewall, something that's typically rectified by routine security audits and controls. This incident shows how today's enterprise security deployments are increasingly complicated as the risk landscape is always evolving, Smith said.
Moreover, Smith said that Equifax was fined for not patching 2% of its database management while the rest were patched.
According to Domo’s Data Never Sleeps 5.0 report, there are 510,000 comments posted and 293,000 statuses updated on Facebook, 456,000 tweets sent on Twitter, 46,740 photos posted on Instagram, and 16 million text messages sent, as well as 156 million emails, every minute.
“The number of security threats during any given week is very difficult for any human to deal with the volume of red flags apart from the number of skills which is required to do that. We take all of that risk away and allow our customers to focus on driving high growth,” he said.
“Now, CIOs, CTOs and CEOs have to take the blame for a data breach but from an Oracle standpoint, we take the vast majority of that risk away with the deployment of autonomous capabilities”.
Data is the new battleground
“The autonomous database is our responsibility to ensure that these types of breaches don’t happen and the reality is that we announced autonomous capabilities some time ago and we have 100s of customers in production across the region,” he said.
“Data is the new battleground but businesses are struggling to keep up with tight IT budgets and the volume of data growing exponentially”, he said and added that Oracle is built on data applications portfolio more than four decades ago.
“The autonomous database removes all work traditionally deployed and managed by DBAs. It allows DBAs to move into higher-order roles and functions to optimise data for growth and expansion,” he said.
DBAs role to evolve further
When asked whether automation will eliminate or pose a threat to careers of DBAs and IT professionals, Smith said that enterprises still need experts who understand where the data lives and what the data represents.
As machine learning becomes more prevalent, he said that DBAs role will evolve even further but it will not go away.
“Their roles and functionalities are changing. Traditionally, DBAs utilise 70% of their time in the traditional way of administration such as orchestration, provisioning and building the database environment. Now, with the autonomous database, it can all be done in less than 15 minutes.
In future, DBAs will become a very knowledge-based sophisticated worker,” he said.
Oracle offers two types of autonomous databases - Autonomous Data Warehouse (ADW) and Autonomous Transaction Processing (ATP).
“Autonomous Data Warehouse is a capability that we are seeing now in the cloud. ATP, which will be launched soon, will allow customers to deal with autonomous capabilities and also deploy in a very scalable environment to allow customers to scale up or down, with their computing requirements around transaction processing,” he said.
Based on deep machine learning and artificial intelligence, he said that autonomous capabilities are built on every component of the portfolio.
Ahead of competition
Smith said that an autonomous database is an integral aspect of Oracle’s growth strategy going forward. Moreover, he said that Oracle is in the process of rolling out its ‘Generation 2’ Oracle cloud infrastructure.
“The combination of our Generation 2 cloud and autonomous data warehouse is intrinsically linked to our success going forward,” he said.
Generation 1 cloud places user code and data on the same computers as the cloud control code with shared CPU, memory, and storage while Generation 2 cloud puts customer code, data, and resources on a bare-metal computer, while cloud control code lives on a separate computer with a different architecture.
Oracle has in excess of 5,000 trials on ADW in the last quarter and hundreds of customers are in the process of moving to full-scale adoption.
“We are hugely excited about the potential that it represents to our business. What the competitors are doing is in and around the infrastructure environment, it has predominately been a focus on compute and storage at a better cost-based advantage,” he said.
But, he said that Oracle’s focus has been twofold and different.
“First, our Generation 2 technology on high-end security and provisioning; and the second is our autonomous database capabilities. There is no vendor in the marketplace today that offers the kind of autonomous capabilities which we offer. We are years ahead of others in the industry,” he said.
According to KuppingerCole, Oracle has been named as this year’s overall leader in database and big data security.
Hybrid: An important element
A lot of the cloud providers’ attention over the past five years has been on the infrastructure level but Smith thinks that the cloud environment over the next few years will continue to evolve in two key directions.
“Firstly, we do not believe that one cloud provider is the necessary answer to every single customer.
Second, the hybrid is going to be a very important element in future and, at the same time, security and interoperability are also becoming critical elements,” he said.