Saying it ranks among the “most important things we’ve ever done,” Oracle Executive Chairman and CTO Larry Ellison announced general availability of the company’s fully autonomous database service, Oracle Autonomous Data Warehouse Cloud.
It’s an entirely new class of IT offering, Ellison said, using machine learning, a branch of artificial intelligence (AI), to deliver industry-leading performance, security capabilities, and availability with no human intervention. “This technology changes everything,” he said. “The Oracle Autonomous Database is based on technology as revolutionary as the internet.”
By combining the high performance and high availability of the company’s Oracle Real Application Clusters (RAC) and Oracle Exadata technologies with machine learning, “the service can patch, tune, and update itself” with no human intervention, Ellison said. “The AI software learns kind of like kids learn,” he explained, “by inspecting large quantities of data and learning to understand patterns in what it encounters.”
To set up, provision, and use Oracle Autonomous Data Warehouse Cloud, a user simply answers a few short questions to determine how many CPUs and how much storage the data warehouse needs. Then the service configures itself typically in less than a minute and is ready to load data.
Once the data warehouse is up and running, its operation also is autonomous, delivering all of the analytic capabilities, security features, and high availability of Oracle Database without any of the complexities of configuration, tuning, and administration—even as warehousing workloads and data volumes change.
Early customers are seeing the benefits. “I’ve been really impressed with how Oracle Autonomous Data Warehouse Cloud can take different types and sizes of analytic workloads and get better performance without any fine-tuning on our side,” said Benjamin Arnulf, director of business intelligence and analytics with Hertz. “It will allow us to reduce costs and reinvest savings into improving customer service.”
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Sebastien Masson, a database administrator at CERN, the Swiss-based physics research center, noted that Oracle Autonomous Data Warehouse Cloud “automatically reduced the storage required by important control systems by a factor of 10.”
The data warehouse’s machine learning capabilities are also critical in the ongoing battle to secure data against cybercriminals and hostile nation states, Ellison said. In addition to encrypting all of its data, Oracle Autonomous Data Warehouse Cloud automatically applies patches to known system vulnerabilities while running.
“Having patching done autonomously is huge for closing those vulnerabilities,” said Paul Daugherty, chief technology and innovation officer at the global consulting firm, Accenture. “Then you can apply machine learning and get predictive to understand the threats and get smarter about how to diagnose and defend. That’s the future.”
Fulfilling its broader vision for Oracle Cloud Platform services, Oracle plans to roll out other autonomous services throughout 2018 and beyond, Ellison said, including autonomous integration, developer, mobile, Internet of Things, and online transaction processing services.
AWS Comes Up Short
At the launch event at company headquarters in Redwood City, California, Ellison showed how Oracle Autonomous Data Warehouse Cloud can run faster than comparable database offerings from Amazon Web Services, while being more scalable, and costing less.
Noting that Oracle charges the same per CPU minute as AWS, Ellison cited recently updated benchmarks that show workloads running in Oracle Autonomous Data Warehouse Cloud completed tasks five times faster (and thereby five times less expensively) than the same Oracle Database workloads running in the AWS cloud. “Same exact workload, same exact database,” he said.
In addition to running faster and thus costing less, Oracle Autonomous Data Warehouse Cloud is truly elastic, Ellison said, while the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud, ironically, is not. With the AWS service, “you pay for a fixed configuration” and when you want to add CPUs, you have to take the database down and wait, he said.
George Lumpkin, an Oracle vice president of data warehousing, joined Ellison on stage to show how a business user would experience Oracle’s autonomous data warehouse. “If your workload goes up, the service increases CPUs to handle it,” Lumpkin said. “But let’s suppose you don’t need to use the data warehouse until tomorrow. Shut down the CPUs and you aren’t paying for them until you start them back up tomorrow.”
Oracle Autonomous Data Warehouse Cloud also self-tunes, continuously optimizing the system’s resources based on the queries coming in, which maintains high performance without any manual tuning or intervention by database administrators.
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