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Oracle claims positive traction for autonomous database in ASEAN

Oracle’s newly minted autonomous database could leave database administrators unemployed, but that has not stopped a Thai payment services provider from jumping onto the bandwagon

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Oracle claims its cloud-based autonomous database service has seen “fairly rapid take-up” in Southeast Asia, signalling its early success in carving a bigger slice of the platform-as-a-service (PaaS) market.

One of the first-movers was Thailand’s Forth Smart, a payment services provider that is using Oracle’s autonomous data warehouse service to run customer and asset management analytics, said Kirsten Gilbertson, Oracle’s director for cloud platform business development in ASEAN.

“They found that it was 80 times faster than it was running on our database cloud service, which is already faster than running and managing a database on its own,” Gilbertson told Computer Weekly in an exclusive interview.

Gilbertson said Oracle’s move towards autonomous databases marks the debut of self-driving, self-repairing and self-securing services that harness artificial intelligence (AI) to take away mundane tasks, reduce human errors, and improve data security and availability.

On May 7, it announced three new autonomous services: Oracle Autonomous Analytics Cloud, Oracle Autonomous Integration Cloud, and Oracle Autonomous Visual Builder Cloud.

Oracle’s autonomous database service is seen as a hook for new and existing customers to hop onto its cloud platform. To ease adoption, Gilbertson said the service is designed to be easy to set up, and can integrate with existing data sources and tools from Oracle and rivals alike.

Existing Oracle database customers can also use their existing on-premise software licences on the Oracle cloud platform, and will only need to pay for the autonomous capabilities, she added.

In recent months, Oracle has been aggressively touting the cost benefits of its autonomous database service. On the sidelines of the recent Amazon Web Services (AWS) Summit in Sydney, for example, it emblazoned a few Tesla cars with banners, claiming that its service can help enterprises half their AWS bills.

“Price and performance are two of our core value propositions,” Gilbertson said, adding that autonomous capabilities will not only result in optimised performance, but also cost savings as enterprises need not pay for unnecessary cloud computing resources.

Oracle is among a group of IT suppliers led by AWS and Microsoft whose cloud platform services are used to develop and run a variety of applications that are increasingly being containerised to speed up software deployment at scale.

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To alleviate concerns over potential supplier lock-in, Gilbertson said Oracle’s platform services are primarily based on open source and open standards. “Even with our database management services, we will be bringing out autonomous services for MySQL and MariaDB,” she said.

“We’ve also announced a whole lot of things at the last Oracle OpenWorld on managed Kubernetes services, and how we’re moving towards serverless architecture. Oracle has a tradition of embracing open source and we’ll continue with that on the cloud.”

Carl Olofson, IDC’s research vice-president for data management software, said while the future of autonomous products like those from Oracle was bright, organisations should assess the impact such products on their IT staff.

Oracle CEO Mark Hurd had recently warned that database administrators (DBAs) could lose their jobs if autonomous databases became more widespread. “There are hundreds of thousands of DBAs managing Oracle databases. If all of that moved to the autonomous database, the number would change to zero,” he said.

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