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Oracle Unveils First Autonomous Database

Mike Vizard

At the Oracle OpenWorld 2017 conference this week, Oracle unveiled what it is touting to be the first autonomous database to employ machine learning algorithms to eliminate completely the need for humans to manage the database.

Oracle chairman and CTO Larry Ellison says Oracle Database 18c will first manifest itself in an Oracle Data Warehouse cloud service in December. By the middle of next year, Ellison says, the Oracle 18c database will be added to the company’s online transaction processing cloud service and the Oracle Express edition of the Oracle database. Ellison also promised to deliver these same autonomous capabilities to the NoSQL database that Oracle provides.

“This is the most important thing we have done in a very, very long time,” says Ellison.

Oracle 18c not only automatically scales on demand, Ellison says it eliminates the need for a database administrator (DBA) to patch, update or tune the database. The database handles all those issues on its own without ever having to be taken offline, says Ellison. There is no other database or cloud service that scales on demand without ever incurring downtime, adds Ellison.

Ellison also promised to apply this autonomous capability to significantly increase data security by being able to identify anomalous behavior when data is being accessed.

By employing Oracle 18c in the Oracle cloud, Ellison says that the cost of deploying a relational database using the Oracle platform would be half what it costs on Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud.

Ellison says autonomous databases are now possible because of the advances made in machine learning algorithms as they are applied to IT management. While artificial intelligence (AI) has not lived up to the hype, Ellison says machine learning as a subset of AI has rapidly matured.

DBAs, says Ellison, will now be able to focus their time and effort on creating and implementing policies for access data versus managing the database itself. It’s not clear what effect autonomous databases will have on the need for the number of DBAs employed today. It may very well turn out that DBAs will transition to higher-level job functions. Whatever the outcome, the one thing that is for certain is that the salary a DBA will be able to command going forward is not likely to be anywhere near what it is today.


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