The Self-Driving Cloud Database: Introducing Oracle Autonomous Transaction Processing Cloud Service

Here’s the problem: Executives greenlight a big project and developers are raring to work on it, but it takes days or weeks for IT to provision a database to get started. Or developers dive in, but use a cloud-based database that will never meet the functional, performance, and cost standards the company will need once the app goes into full production.

Here’s the fix: Oracle Autonomous Transaction Processing Cloud Service now lets you order up a powerful, scalable Oracle database tuned for transaction processing that’s ready to use in minutes.

It’s the second of Oracle’s autonomous database services, which deploy, secure, and tune themselves with no human intervention. The first such service is Oracle’s Autonomous Data Warehouse Cloud Service.

These self-driving, self-securing, and self-repairing databases are also ideal for when your business idea needs a fast, scalable database but you don’t have the technical expertise on staff to make it happen. 

Fast Transactions

Oracle Autonomous Transaction Processing Cloud Service is specially tuned for lightning-fast commercial transactions online, so when you update a bank balance, order parts, or buy from a catalog, the database responds immediately, even if tons of people are using that application when you are.

To do this, Oracle runs its autonomous database cloud services on Oracle Exadata, an infrastructure optimized for database performance and uptime.

From there, machine learning algorithms in Oracle Database 18c and Oracle Cloud combine to deliver truly autonomous operations. That means much lower labor costs for managing a database, no human errors, and vastly improved security, since they patch and optimize themselves with no downtime or human intervention.

New Power for Developers

With Oracle Autonomous Transaction Processing Cloud Service, developers get a new level of freedom to deploy the Oracle database at the moment their project calls for it. “Instead of being at the mercy of the IT department to get a new system up and running or to get a project implemented, developers just press a button and now they’ve got the Oracle Database on an Exadata platform,” says Maria Colgan, master product manager for Oracle Database and founder of the SQL Maria blog. “They’ve got the most performant and functionality rich database platform at their fingertips for a fraction of the time and cost of standing that up on premises.”

And, unlike cloud rivals, autonomous databases from Oracle can independently scale the performance and capacity at a moment’s notice, ensuring that companies pay for only what they use and are always ready for spikes in demand.

These autonomous databases arrive just on time, says Colgan, as IT teams around the world are asked to do more with less: “We rarely hear about an IT department’s budget quadrupling year to year, but we do hear that the number of projects and databases they have to support can quadruple from year to year.”

Colgan notes another source of enormous pressure on IT—data security, where newsworthy breaches continue apace. Oracle Autonomous Transaction Processing Cloud Service changes these equations, she says, and further opens the door for businesses to transform their businesses on the cloud.

Better Security, No More Patching Headaches

With no humans maintaining the database, machine learning takes over, applying security patches in the background while the database remains online. “All cloud providers patch your database,” says Colgan. “But only cloud databases from Oracle eliminate the need to take the database offline for patching,” which often delays a patch and leaves a vulnerability open to attack, sometimes for months after a patch is available.

Plus, Oracle virtually ends downtime on its autonomous databases by “building in redundancy from the power supply up,” says Colgan. With the Exadata platform, “we’ve got redundancy at the disk level, redundancy at the flash level, redundancy at the network level,” she says. “We’ve even got redundancy at the server level with Real Application Clusters,” something competitors do not offer.

These features, along with available backup in the cloud mean Oracle can offer a true 99.995 percent availability with no exceptions. Competitors cannot match that, says Colgan.

Oracle Autonomous Transaction Processing Cloud Service reduces the cost of running the database in two more ways, says Colgan. It’s immediately scalable up or down, so an organization pays for only the transaction processing it needs at the moment. Other cloud services contract for a set amount of power and space and can’t adjust on the fly, she says. And because the database is self-driving, self-securing, and self-repairing, it can reduce the labor cost of managing a database by as much as 80%.

DBAs Turn to Data Innovation

Perhaps the member of the IT team that benefits the most from autonomous databases is the database administrator, or DBA, who can turn attention from database maintenance toward improving application performance and leading data-driven innovations.

There are more in-house developers at our enterprise customers than ever before,” and they all need access to data and database services, says Colgan. If DBAs are spending less time provisioning, patching, and tuning databases, they can engage developers and help them understand what the database can do. “If a developer can do something their application needs inside the database and just get results back, they can save themselves a whole lot of effort and make their application more efficient,” Colgan says. Likewise, a DBA’s knowledge of data sources, formats, and policies is in high demand by data scientists and business analysts. With less time spent managing database and more time helping the company use data to innovate, “DBAs can become an even more valuable partner for developers and business leaders.”

To the Cloud: Mission-Critical Made Effortless

Oracle autonomous database services in the cloud are “exactly the same product that we have on-premises,” and that, Colgan says, opens the door wide for businesses to bring their applications to the cloud.

In contrast, Amazon has no comparable on-premises offering, so if you’re going to move to one of its databases, “You’re going to have to start from scratch,” she says. “You’ll have to suck it up to do everything: dev, test, production—everything on the cloud.”

The same is true of Microsoft, which she believes made a “rookie mistake” when it forked its cloud database away from the on-premises offering. Because of that, “you can’t simply move from on premises directly to the cloud without doing a migration project,” she says.

With Oracle, you use the same database in the cloud or on premises, so moving an existing, mission-critical application to an Oracle autonomous database is much easier. You can even bring your current database license to the cloud. “It’s the same rich development environment and the same comprehensive SQL and PL/SQL—along with integrated machine learning algorithms for real-time predictions and fraud detections. It’s all right there for you in the cloud along with exactly the same database that you’ve been developing expertise on for years,” she says.

Only this time, the Oracle database deploys, secures, and tunes itself, with no human intervention.

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