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Autonomy at Oracle OpenWorld – Part 1 Databases

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We are on the path to more autonomous technology. There is no doubt about it. Innovators are making leaps and bounds with machine learning and behavior detection. But how far off are we from a fully automated future?


Oracle OpenWorld captured the spirit of autonomy on both the expo floor and in keynote presentations.


As I walked around the expo floor, visiting from booth to booth, I continued to see fantastical applications and executives chatting about the potential of AI and automation in the workplace. Many of the applications presented didn’t have strong use cases or were simply in beta. But the themes were consistent: “How do we simplify the things we hate doing so we can get back to the things we love doing?”


It’s not strange to see companies on the expo floor demo the surreal and outlandish as an audience draw. But when you chip away at the practical applications, the technology often needs more backend work. Oracle OpenWorld tends to have these companies in mass.


This year, however, it was refreshing to see a number of companies presenting autonomy in more realistic settings. It made me realize the market is dialing back rhetoric to demo products closer to deployment.


Oracle CTO, Larry Ellison showcased both autonomous and partially-autonomous technology in his keynote. His big curtain reveal was the first fully autonomous database and highly automated security functions. Ellison quipped that the autonomous database was a revolutionary concept; “revolutionary” a word he claims to seldom throw around.


Ellison stated that this fully autonomous database was self-sustaining. That means no more manual database provisioning and management. Indeed, a revolutionary concept.


As Ellison discussed how the technology worked, he highlighted some key benefits for companies. Here are three benefits I found particularly compelling:


  1. The system does not require downtime maintenance and can patch in real-time.
  2. Database processors can scale to optimize tasks automatically.
  3. You can pay to provision what you use rather than a fixed amount of operational effort.


Check out the full presentation here.


Ellison didn’t pull any punches on the competition, targeting AWS as more generic and less affordable than the new Oracle system.


Banter aside, Ellison also dove into some of the remarkable underlying components to the autonomous tech. He discussed the use of machine learning to gauge normal behavior and optimize resources. Then, he segued into how that technology can be applied to security. 


Stay tuned for Part 2...

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