Oracle seeks to put an end to human error by announcing an automated database that patches itself. It’s also bringing the battle straight to Amazon, whose dominance on the market seems to be bothering competition.
Larry Ellison, the company’s CTO, kicked off the OpenWorld conference with a big promise – that they will make databases safer, hopefully avoiding problematic hacks such as it happened to Equifax.
The main thing the company brought to the table is the first autonomous database that takes out the human element, and thus reduces the chances of error. “If you eliminate human behavior, you eliminate human error. My autopilot flies my plane a lot better than I do,” he said during the conference, casually throwing in that last detail.
Jealous or not of his ownership of a plane, he has a point – automated systems, as long as programmed right, won’t fail to do what they were told to do. This includes those nasty patches that admins often overlook or postpone so they don’t have to suffer any downtime. In this case, Oracle says that there will be little to no downtime with the new Oracle 18c, as the system patches itsefl while still running. This is an obvious advantage over current systems where you have to schedule downtime. This is often such an inconvenience that security patches go uninstalled, exposing databases to security breaches, such as was the case of Equifax when hundreds of millions of records were exposed. “The worst data thefts in history have occurred after a patch was available to prevent the theft. The patches just weren’t applied,” he mentioned.
“It doesn’t work. We have to automate our cyber defenses. And you have to be able to defend yourselves without taking all of your computer systems offline or shutting down your databases,” Ellison said during the conference.
The new database will also use machine learning technologies to detect when it is being attacked. “It’s our computer versus their computers in cyber warfare, and we have to have a lot better computers, and more automation if we’re going to defend our data,” Ellison made a point. More details on this new database offering are set to be released later this week.
One thing that Ellison kept boasting about was that the database would offer 99.995% up-time, saying that they’re only putting possible downtimes at a half hour per year. That’s also going to be put in writing, in the contract, so it’s a pretty big promise. .
As mentioned, Oracle also made digs at competitor Amazon. One of the major promises Ellison made on stage was that the new Oracle 18c would cost only half of what Amazon is charging for its services. There were also demonstrations on stage comparing the Oracle system running ten times faster than Amazon’s Redshift.
If Oracle manages to deliver on its promise, we’ll see a pretty big shift in the industry, as more and more companies will move toward automation and taking out humans from the equation, at least for things where this is possible. Tighter cybersecurity around databases is clearly something the world needs, along with a prompt response to attacks. It remains to be seen whether Oracle 18c is really all that it promises to be.