This article is part of our Conference Coverage: Oracle OpenWorld 2018 news, trends and analysis

OpenWorld18: Ellison declares seek and destroy mission for database

At OpenWorld 2018 in San Francisco, Oracle founder and CTO Larry Ellison led on the putative resilience of the supplier’s “autonomous” database to cyber security threats

Oracle chief technology officer (CTO) and founder Larry Ellison used his main keynote address at Oracle Open World 2018 in San Francisco to play up the “seek and destroy” functionality the supplier is baking into its 18c database.

The database, which he launched at last year’s event as “revolutionary” because it is “autonomous”, runs on a “second generation of cloud technology” that bolsters, he said, its capacity to resist cyber attacks, which are becoming ever more sophisticated and frequent.

Ellison said the company had re-architected its cloud environment on security-hardened hardware and embedded machine-learned self-healing, self-driving capacities into the core Oracle database. The autonomous database is cloud-based and designed to automate many of the routine tasks required to manage Oracle databases, which the supplier says can free up database administrators (DBAs) to do higher level and more strategic work.

Oracle stated, in a communique coinciding with Ellison’s keynote address, that: “Oracle Autonomous Database uses ground-breaking machine learning to enable unprecedented availability, high performance and security at a much lower cost.

“Running on Oracle cloud infrastructure, Oracle Autonomous Database is a self-driving, self-securing and self-repairing database that automates key management processes, including patching, tuning and upgrading to keep critical infrastructures automatically running for a modern cloud experience. The cloud service is designed to uniquely scan for security threats and apply updates while running to prevent cyber attacks and data theft.”

Ellison told show attendees: “Our gen-two cloud is about security and security. [It means] Star Wars cyber defences. We’ve used a lot of the latest artificial intelligence and machine learning to build our robots to protect the cloud infrastructure – to find threats and kill them, to search and destroy: our robots versus their robots. You are not fighting with your hands tied behind your back any more”.

As he did in 2017 and 2016 at Open World, Ellison launched a tirade against Amazon Web Services (AWS), maintaining that Oracle customers are better to stay with “big Red” for reasons of cost and performance.

“We are almost 50% faster in compute than Amazon, five times faster in block storage, and twice as fast in networking. When you move to our cloud it saves you money, when you move to theirs it costs you more,” he said.

He joked that while some industry commentators had said Amazon with “Aurora Serverless” was experimenting with semi-autonomous databases, if you draw an analogy with a semi-autonomous self-driving car and “get in it, you die”.

In a briefing with international journalists at the show, Oracle co-CEO Mark Hurd also said: “Artificial intelligence, machine learning and blockchain, in our view, are features and not solutions. These are integrated directly into the applications.”

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