By Jeff Erickson
October 10, 2018
Mark Rittman has taken a professional journey that gives him a unique vantage point on Oracle’s new autonomous database cloud services. He’s a CTO once renowned in Oracle analytics circles, who, after a change of firms, became steeped in the world of agile, open source-powered startups. And there he thought he would stay. Until he tried an autonomous database on Oracle Cloud.
“I suddenly saw that I could bring that startup agility to any business,” Rittman says, who recently started a firm to focus on “fast moving” analytics for established businesses.
In the open source community, Rittman saw analysts at startups who could quickly follow their curiosity by exploring data, sometimes finding opportunities that traditional players miss. “It’s about agility, grabbing cloud-based resources and analytical tools and scaling up without having to build database architectures or maintain hardware,” he says.
That’s a way of working that large companies find hard to replicate, he says, because they have long established norms on how data is managed in their data centers, and because overworked database administrator (DBAs) can’t find time to architect and deploy a new data warehouse, he says.
To understand the type of agility Rittman is talking about, look at how he works with a client on a data analytics question: “You want to help them get inside their data to see trends and patterns” that they couldn’t otherwise see, he says. That might mean quickly bringing in public data or data from a data-as-a-service company and connecting outside analytics tools. “I work fast,” he says. With a retail customer, for example, “we’ll look to understand the lifetime value of a customer, their cycle of purchases, repeat purchases—all kinds of scenarios. And the whole thing will happen in a day. Much of it collaboratively with the client on a web conference.”
Oracle Autonomous Database opens this same agility for businesses that aren’t startups. “Because it gives them the scale, security, and predictability they’re used to, but without the DBA getting involved,” he says.
How Autonomous Leads to Speed
To use Oracle Autonomous Data Warehouse, an analyst answers a few questions about the size, name, and use of the database and clicks “Create.” In about a minute they’ll have an Oracle database provisioned on an Exadata database machine optimized for data warehousing waiting to load data. “It just gets out of the way and lets you work immediately,” says Rittman.
“If they’ve been an Oracle shop forever, they can just keep using their favorite tools” to run SQL queries against the database, he says.
Rittman will deliver a talk and demo at Oracle OpenWorld 2018 this month in San Francisco: Data Warehouse Like a Tech Startup with Oracle Autonomous Data Warehouse Cloud.
At large organizations, “there are good intentions about what you want to do, but first you’ve got to find hardware, provision new databases, patch them, provision schemas, etc.,” he says. But If companies want to compete with startups, they need to move at the same speed. Oracle Autonomous Data Warehouse “completely removes the friction for people in the organization who want to think up ideas and do data analysis, particularly people leading innovation projects and doing data science work,” he says.
And they can do it without adding a load of new open source tech to the mix.
“You press a button and provision a database and start loading data into it,” Rittman says. “It behaves like a simple open source tool, but it works the way you’re used to and runs your SQL or PL/SQL queries,” he adds. “And you’ve got this confidence that when you scale up and start really using it, you’re not going to fall off a cliff due to some limitation in the open source that wasn’t apparent back when you chose your tool.”
Autonomous Data Warehouse is a new weapon for established businesses, Rittman concludes. “I want to wake people up and say ‘Look, your smaller, newer competitors are working in this agile way, and here Oracle has given you autonomous products that run on Exadata, so you don’t have to look after them,” or worry about performance issues, he says. “You move like a startup without introducing new technology to your mix.”
LEARN more about Mark Rittman’s talk and demo at Oracle OpenWorld 2018.
This article was originally published on https://www.forbes.com/sites/oracle
Illustration by Wes Rowell; Photography courtesy of Mark Rittman
Jeff Erickson is director of tech content at Oracle, as well as an avid open water swimmer and student of Zen meditation. Erickson has more than 15 years of experience writing for and about the smart, curious people who keep our digital world humming.