Oracle reveals ‘autonomous’ database

(Image: Oracle)

2 October 2017

Oracle’s chief technical officer (CTO) Larry Ellison took to the stage in San Francisco on Sunday 1 October, to open the 2017 Oracle Openworld event.

Ellison made two chief announcements which he described as “the most important thing we have done in a long, long time.”

The first is that the new Oracle 18c Database is what he termed an “autonomous database” and  secondly, “highly automated cybersecurity”.

Database autonomy, said Ellison, gives a fully automated, 100% self-driving database.

No human labour, no human error
What this means is that the database itself, without any human intervention, can detect the beginnings of threats when it is being scanned, or probed. Secondly, it can take actions to mitigate against such threats, even self-patching without any downtime.

“The biggest threat by far in cybersecurity is data theft,” said Ellison.

The safest place to store your data is on an Oracle database, particularly, an Oracle autonomous database, he said.

“It’s our computers versus their computers in cyberwarfare. And we need to have a lot better computers, if were are to defend our data.”

However, the autonomous nature of the 18c database goes further.

Ellison said that its entire operation is automated. This means that it can review and examine is own performance, tune itself to optimise its operation and update itself without downtime. An autonomous database is self-provisioning, self-scaling and self-protecting.

Instantly elastic
Ellison said that this makes the new database truly, instantaneously elastic.

Continuous adaptive performance tuning covers areas such as indexing, caching, statistics, parallelism, etc. Dynamic hardware allocation means that the system is fully elastic.

No overprovisioning, means no overpaying, said Ellison. He went on to demonstrate workloads running on the autonomous database on the Oracle cloud, versus an Amazon hosted Oracle DB and Red Shift on Amazon.

With performance often multiples of the pure Amazon system, more significantly there were significant cost savings, with the autonomous database on the Oracle cloud often coming in at small fractions of the Amazon system.

Ellison said that the Oracle autonomous database running on the Oracle cloud, when disaster recovery was enabled, could guarantee “five 9s”, or 99.999% availability, while providing cost savings of 6-10 times less.

“That is the same as 30 minutes of downtime in a year,” said Ellison.

“No human labour,” said Ellison, “means no human error.”
“We have to automate our cyberdefences,” Ellison argued. “You have to be able to defend yourself without taking you systems offline.”

Behind these two developments, Ellison said that machine learning technology had enabled this level of autonomy for security and operations.

Machine learning
Machine learning, he said, is “every bit as revolutionary as the Internet itself”.

He said that with ML, “We are heading towards full autonomy in cybersecurity”.

Oracle 18c autonomous database will be available for warehousing in December, with general availability following in Q1 2017.

Ellison was preceded on stage by long time partner Intel, with senior vice president and general manager Doug Fisher.

Fisher said that amid the widespread business transformation, something that was missing was technology.

He said technology has to change to accommodate the amount of data in motion for today and tomorrow.

New networks
To cope with the volumes and new sources of data, such as IoT and machine learning and AI, new technologies were needed. He said Intel’s work on open source projects such as open platform network function virtualisation (OPNFV) and open network automation platform (ONAP), had given it a good point from which to work with telcos to build the networks to cope with new types of traffic, new levels of demand and new security protections.

Fisher said that in 2021, up to 70% of internet traffic will be mobile video.

To characterise the change to networks in recent years, Mellissa Arnaldi, senior executive vice president of AT&T joined Fisher.

Arnaldi said that the network has exploded over the last few years, growing some 250,000%.

AT&T is aiming to have 55% of critical network functions virtualised by end of the year, she said, with ambitious targets for further implementation.

In the last 12-18 months, she said, the company’s cooperation with Intel to develop data centres, leveraging its Xeon processors, had yielded significant results. It strategic partnership with Oracle has also seen it move ‘thousands  of databases” to private cloud.

NVF strategy
Arnaldi said the company has a clear focus and strategy around NFV.

Currently, she said, there is around 168PB of data on the network, but with more customer services being developed all the time, AT&T wants to give customers what they want, when and where they want it.

A major part of this, in conjunction with Intel, is trials of 5G technologies.

Fisher went on to highlight how flash technologies, such as 3D NAND, as well as the Xeon scalable platform, were providing the technology infrastructure to build the networks and services that are already in demand.

Fisher showed a new module, called the “Ruler” form factor that will allow 1PB of storage to be configured in a 1U rack.

Oracle on Intel
The Oracle 18c database, running on Intel persistent memory can be around 3x faster than the previous generations, with specific algorithms built in to take advantage of the Intel technology. In one trial, Fisher showed that the 18c preview running the persistent memory had as much as halved latency while doubling IOPs.

Fisher said that the current technological trends and developments are moving very fast, and accelerating constantly.

“We may not know where they are going to end up,” said Fisher, but we know where they start: with data.”


TechCentral Reporter



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