self driving database
self driving database

Larry Ellison: Oracle’s Self-Driving Database ‘Most Important Thing Company’s Ever Done’

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Looking to shift attention toward a revolutionary new product and away from its disappointing Q3 cloud results, Oracle founder Larry Ellison said yesterday the company’s newly released Autonomous Database could be “the most important thing Oracle’s ever done” and “will change the profile of our company forever.”

In yesterday’s earnings call, several questions from analysts centered on Oracle’s guidance for Q4 cloud-revenue growth of 19-23 percent for the current fourth quarter versus the year-ago quarter.

While that side of the Oracle results have been covered extensively, Ellison’s comments later in the call about the extraordinary potential of the now-available “self-driving” database reveal the company’s longer-term strategy of eliminating human labor across huge portions of IT operations.

Oracle is aggressively leading this move toward Autonomous IT with not only the new self-driving version of its flagship database product—and bear in mind that some analysts estimate that the various versions of Oracle Database account for close to half of Oracle’s overall revenue—but also autonomous cloud services across its extensive PaaS offerings.

And Ellison pulled no punches in framing his view of how truly disruptive the Autonomous Database will be:

  • Requires no human labor: no need for DBAs to tune, apply security patches, back-up the system, recover the system
  • So, huge cost savings
  • Also more secure: eliminating human labor eliminates human errors.

Underscoring those advantages with an ironic twist, Ellison told the analysts, “So you can have a much more reliable system—but, you’ve got to be willing to pay less, because human beings cost a lot of money and we’ve automated them out of the system.

“So we think this new autonomous database is, again, maybe the most important thing Oracle’s ever done in terms of data management—and we’re the #1 data-management company on the planet right now,” Ellison said.

“We think this is a very big deal—and we think the bulk of our customers are going to move to the Autonomous Database.”

One of the primary reasons for that bullish optimism from Ellison is the new reality around serious cybersecurity incidents: no longer merely frustrating but short-lived distractions, major cyber incidents have become—and will continue to be—critical and widespread crises for companies.

“If somebody forgets to patch something, the CEO ends up getting fired or on the front page of a newspaper,” Ellison said.

With the Autonomous Database, “No one forgets to apply a security patch and your data is stolen. That’s all automated—so you have a much more secure system.”

And of course Ellison could not pass up the opportunity to take a few jabs at cloud rival Amazon, which for the past few years has been attempting to make some inroads into the large and lucrative segment of the mission-critical database market that Oracle has led by a wide margin for many years.

The Oracle Autonomous Database “runs multiples of times faster than Amazon,” Ellison said.

“Now, I keep saying, okay, Oracle has a faster database than Amazon—no big surprise there, but the interesting thing is that Amazon charges by the minute and we charge by the minute.

“And our prices [per minute] are essentially the same or close enough. But if we run 10 times faster, then we’re one-tenth the cost of Amazon databases—and that’s what it is,” he said.

“We’ve ran all these public benchmarks—you can go look at them: we’re one-tenth the cost.”

The Autonomous Database’s ability to deliver enhanced security, lower cost, and greater performance will lead to significant business value for customers, Ellison said.

“It just went live a couple weeks ago and we expect it’s going to change the profile of our company forever.”

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