A new computing era is coming, and the difference will be as big as going from driving a vehicle with an automatic transmission to using a self-driving car.
We’re entering the era of self-driving software—autonomous, cloud-based services that use machine learning algorithms to eliminate human labor and human error. While the automated software of the past could do the tasks it was told to do, autonomous systems will handle exceptions and get continually better over time.
“Autonomous is a learning system,” says Amit Zavery, executive vice president of Oracle Cloud Platform. “It understands what’s going on, understands what has been happening, predicts what is going to happen, and uses a lot more data to figure out what the best next action is.”
Oracle is leading this shift. In October, the company laid out its vision for the autonomous database, whereby the database patches, tunes, and upgrades itself without human intervention, based on the priorities set by the people who run the database.
Oracle is now laying out a broader vision for Oracle Cloud Platform autonomous services, taking this same self-driving approach beyond the database to tasks in application development, application and data integration, mobile and conversational artificial intelligence (AI), business analytics, security, and management. Autonomous platform as a service (PaaS) promises to lower IT costs and improve security because they require less human management and eliminate human error. These services also promise to speed IT deployments, by letting developers jump right to creating new functionality rather than having to spend time on the routine tasks of provisioning, optimizing, tuning, integrating, and securing systems.
“As a user or developer, you don’t have to deal with a lot of those things yourself,” Zavery says. “You just go and build your business functions on top of it.”
Autonomous PaaS services drive faster innovation with advanced capabilities such as auto code generation, self-defining data flows, automated data discovery and prep, voice-enabled integration links, machine learning-based continuous data analysis, or self-learning bots that understand user intent and continually refine that understanding. Oracle’s PaaS capabilities support the needs of the entire organization, including developers, enterprise architects, data scientists, IT operations, and business users.
“We have been running very large, enterprise-caliber platforms for many, many years, and we have a lot of experience knowing what it takes to run, tune, and manage those systems,” Zavery says. “It’s a learning platform which keeps on improving with the more information we collect and the more users we get on the system.”
Benefits of Autonomous Cloud Platform
Improved security is among the most critical advantages of an autonomous cloud platform. A number of recent large-scale security breaches occurred when a company or organization failed to apply a patch that already was available for its software. Oracle’s autonomous database and all other platform services will apply those patches without a person having to schedule them—requiring no system downtime. And, through the application of AI capabilities like real-time auto cyberthreat detection and remediation, and user behavior analytics, Oracle Autonomous Cloud services lower security risk from both known and unknown vectors.
Lower operating costs and improved system performance are the other big benefits of autonomous PaaS. Eliminating human labor to provision, secure, monitor, tune, back up, and troubleshoot a cloud service saves money, and lets technologists focus on more strategic work. In addition, because an autonomous cloud service is constantly using machine learning to tune itself—updating itself with the latest features, and resizing compute and storage without downtime—the service delivers optimal performance.
So why is now the moment in time to create “self-driving” software? In some ways, it’s because of the same forces propelling the self-driving-car movement.
“This is the first phase of it, and we’ll keep enhancing this capability as we move forward,” Zavery says, “but this is the next-generation computing platform.”