This IDC Perspective reviews Oracle’s recent Autonomous Database announcement and examines how one customer is planning to make use of the automation capabilities provided in its day-to-day business processes.
Oracle recently announced Oracle Autonomous Database, an Oracle Cloud DBaaS offering based on Oracle Database, but with special features that enable it to self-tune and self-heal. This service relieves database administrators (DBAs) of the remaining operational tasks that normally accompany even a cloud-based database deployment. Those tasks include advanced tuning functions, database security, and troubleshooting. DBAs will soon be able to focus more time on design and development activities instead of spending time administering their database installation. Database administration will be fully automated, providing Oracle with the opportunity to guarantee 99.995% availability (including unplanned maintenance, bug fixes, configuration changes, and security patches) and no more than 30 minutes of downtime a year. The product will be tuned continuously, using machine learning (ML) models of observed behavior as patterns of user and system’s behavior change.
The Challenges of Managing a Database: Tuning, Troubleshooting, and Patching
Databases used for mission-critical activities, or for enterprise data analysis, present special challenges. Mission-critical transactional databases must not only be always available, but they must deliver excellent transaction throughput. Databases that support enterprise data warehouses can become massive in size, supporting very complex queries with many nested joins, yet are expected to deliver sub-second responses to those queries.
Although most modern RDBMSs, including Oracle Database, have developed many features and functions that are designed to lessen the burden of these activities, it remains the case that, at the highest level of size, complexity, and performance criticality, meeting the SLA for the database requires a set of skills generally regarded as something of a black art. And of course, even the best of DBAs can make mistakes — and those mistakes can cause poor performance and unscheduled downtime.
Oracle Autonomous Database delivers major benefits to customers in two forms: labor savings by automating database tuning and problem detection and reduced downtime due to unplanned outages and software/system maintenance. It should provide Oracle Database users with a major incentive to move to the Oracle Cloud. Currently, the Oracle Autonomous Database addresses analytic workloads such as data warehouses — but we can expect a transaction-centric version later this year.