Reimagining Startup and Enterprise Innovation

A guide to Oracle's self-driving database

Vikas Raina
Principal Cloud Architect, Oracle for Startups

In the beginning was the Oracle database, a relational database, a market leader and popular offering. It was extremely powerful, could handle an immense amount of data, resided in customer servers, and was the enterprise's main workhorse.

To maintain the database, an array of DBA's was required to install it, clone it, schedule backups, fix glitches, make necessary upgrades, keep it tuned, keep it protected from attacks, and add memory when the size would grow.

This was all manual, error-prone, and dependent on a certain few skills. It could be unpredictable - one missed step and the database could be unavailable for many hours, if not days.

Meanwhile, Oracle made one of its biggest leaps and offered database in the cloud. With cloud came Autonomous. Oracle launched three "flavors" of Autonomous databases in public cloud: 

1.    Autonomous Data Warehouse (ADW)
2.    Autonomous Transaction Processing (ATP)
3.    Autonomous JSON Database

Autonomous is different from on-premises

Oracle Cloud Infrastructure's Autonomous Database is a fully-managed, preconfigured database environment.

As a user, all you need is to set up the database in the cloud with some basic data entry, and voila! Your database is ready to be used.

After provisioning, you can scale the number of CPU cores or the database's storage capacity at any time without impacting availability or performance. But wait, that is not all. Once the DB is provisioned, it uses machine learning to backup the database, apply patches, upgrade if needed and tune the DB. Formerly DBA responsibilities, these used to be much more prone to human error.

Modern databases capture a huge amount of data every hour for transactions or analysis, adding to the database’s size and complexity. Queries must be tuned, and the latest patches must be applied, efficiency improved, security shouldn't be compromised, operational excellence should be attainable. The management and maintenance of all this data is a complicated and extremely skillful task, and now this task has been automated in Oracle Cloud infrastructure. Automation allows better operational efficiency, resource allocation, and a highly available database with improved performance and enterprise-grade security.

Databases are the storage area of any organization. They store the critical, sensitive, personal, and financial information about the organizations as well anyone who interacts with it. Add the fact that databases grow with time, becoming complicated and hard to manage. A single failure can cause major damage to any enterprise. It could mean a delay in customer servicing, old data being presented to decision makers or security lapse, or lack of proper disaster recovery protocols. These risk profiles get exaggerated when it’s a human DBA handling all the activities.

How a self-driving database supports your technology  

Oracle Autonomous Database is completely self-driven by AI and ML, which is built in to provide an error-free database which manages itself and keeps the data encrypted.

Machine learning helps improve the performance of queries, reduces cost of query execution and constantly tunes queries. Those who have used earlier versions of RDBMS know that a better performing query was the holy grail, especially in a complex application hooked to a decently large database. ADB solves this problem by continuous learning process bringing efficiency to the applications.

It is self-securing and protects the DB from malicious attack and prevents downtime reducing it to bare minimum.

It detects system failures and provides failover to backup database to prevent data loss. The behind-the-scene technology is Exadata, which is considered the fastest Oracle Database Machine and Pluggable Database (PDB), allowing multi tenants to share the same resources but isolates each client to their own silo restricting their ability to peek into someone else’s PDB. It scales compute resources automatically so that you never run out..

We mentioned earlier that Oracle offers three flavors of autonomous databases in cloud. Let’s briefly see what all they can be used for.

Autonomous Data Warehouse (ADW)

This next generation database is high performance and is primarily used for business intelligence and analytical processing. All your reporting, dashboards, and data-driven applications can use ADW as a primary source of data. ADW provides elasticity, continuous query optimization, scalability, superior performance tuning, repairing of data warehouse etc. This DB is also used in visualizations, machine learning analysis, analytical models and general database capabilities. Datawarehouse typically deals with a huge amount of data, which requires faster and efficient scanning of the database.

Autonomous Transaction Processing (ATP)

ATP is time-based transactional data; Built for mission critical applications. ATP can perform multiple administrative operations by itself to support applications, which can range from extremely simple to large complex systems. It can be deployed in a few minutes and natively supports multiple data types, including document, graph, spatial, JSON, XML, and more. One can monitor and audit all the activities for analysis and compliance.

Autonomous JSON Database  

JSON Database is a cloud document database service meant to develop JSON-centric applications. Like ATP and ADW, it provides all the features of the Oracle Autonomous DB and allows integration with popular programming languages, and the flexibility of REST API, CLI, and web interface access to simplify application development. AJD is used for NoSQL-style applications. AJD now comes with Autonomous Data Guard, which means If the primary database goes down, Autonomous Data Guard converts the standby database to the primary database with minimal interruption. 

Why Oracle is the Autonomous choice 

When you’re talking about performance, cost, and speed, Oracle Autonomous Database is miles ahead of its managed DB counterpart. Oracle ADB runs on Real Application Cluster i.e RAC. And as an added bonus, all this comes with management tools that developers are already familiar with. 

Oracle Autonomous Database offers 99.995% of service reliability and availability and truly empowers organizations to focus on applications and data analysis leaving maintenance, optimization and operational tasks to database itself, thus helping drastically reduce costs and increase productivity allowing experts to focus on architecture and data modeling.
For developers developing applications using Pl/SQL, Oracle Cloud Infrastructure offers SDK for PL/SQL which enables you to write code to interact with Oracle Cloud Infrastructure resources, including Autonomous Database.

Take autonomous for a test self-drive  

To know if Oracle ADB is the right product for you is to try it out using 30-days free credits.

As part of cloud offering, 2 instances of Autonomous Database can be used without charge as part of Oracle Cloud Infrastructure's suite of Always Free resources. One can use them to explore and enhance Database skills as well develop POC to test upcoming product line. Always Free Autonomous Databases have a fixed 8 GB of memory, 20 GB of storage, 1 OCPU, and can be configured for either Autonomous Transaction Processing or Autonomous Data Warehouse workloads. 

Autonomous Databases are available in all regions of Oracle Cloud, and is available at the same price everywhere on PAYG as well as monthly flex plans.

Moving to Oracle ADB is as simple as moving from one lane to another on a highway. For data migration, one can use free tools like SQL Developer or server commands to export/import data in files and then upload them into ADB. 

If you are a startup and would like to explore more of Oracle Cloud's offerings for startups, please reach out to Oracle for Startups team.

Startups can experiment with $500 in free cloud credits, access to the Oracle Cloud free tier, and a 70% discount on Oracle Cloud for 2 years. Join now. 

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