Oracle unveils 'self-driving' autonomous database cloud

Oracle launches autonomous database cloud with self-patching cybersecurity system


Oracle has announced the development of what it calls the "world's first autonomous database".

Larry Ellison, Oracle's founder and CTO took to the stage at the opening keynote of Oracle OpenWorld in San Francisco on Sunday to announce the new product.

Larry Ellison 2015

During the keynote, he said that the new autonomous database includes capabilities which enables it to patch itself from cybersecurity threats.

What is it?

The autonomous database should do what it says on the tin, namely: run automatically without the need of a database administrator, including self-tuning, self-provisioning and self-patching.

"If you eliminate human labour, you eliminate human error," Ellison said.

According to Oracle, the automated cybersecurity system is able to automatically detect threats as soon as they occur, and patch the database accordingly.

"The biggest theft by far in cybersecurity is data theft, and the safest place to store your data is in an Oracle database," said Ellison.

In comparison with human control, Ellison made it clear that there will be no delay in waiting for a human to intervene, or a subsequent downtime window, as the system is capable of functioning itself immediately whilst running.

The autonomous database, named Oracle 18c, is expected to provide 99.995 percent reliability and availability. "There is no pilot error anymore, because there is no pilot. That's less than 30 minutes a year of planned or unplanned downtime," Ellison added.

Oracle vs AWS

Although the idea of a human-free database will take many by surprise, Ellison spent the second half of his time on stage comparing the product with the Redshift database from rival Amazon Web Services (AWS).

According to Ellison, Oracle's new database includes more elasticity, reliability and efficiency than Redshift.

Another important factor for Ellison, which he spent most of the time discussing, was the difference in price. "Take an Oracle workload and the bill will be less than what Amazon charges," he said.

In a demo of two workloads, Ellison showed how the same workload which Oracle completed in 34 seconds at a charge of $0.04 would take AWS 250 seconds at $0.23.

Oracle also guaranteed that it will cut the data warehouse on Amazon's bill in half. "It will be less than one half of what Amazon charges you, we will write that in your contract," Ellison boasted.

Oracle 18c will be made available for data warehouses from December 2017, while the autonomous database for OLTP will be available in June 2018.

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