Oracle’s Autonomous Database (Cloud)

So yesterday I attended the “Autonomous Database GTM Roadmap Sales Workshop” at Oracle’s London office.  This training is for Oracle partners such as Version 1, which is one of Oracle’s strategic partners.

A lot of what is in this blog post is subject to Oracle’s Safe Harbour statement.

My Key Takeaways

1 . Maturity

The Autonomous Database is still very new!  It’s like back in 2008 when the first Exadata Machine (V1) was launched, it was great, it was game changer for large Data Warehouses.  But it wasn’t suited for OLTP and as with anything new it had its fair share of “teething issues”.  However, now passing its 10 year anniversary last year and on its 8th iteration the X7, it’s now a very mature product.  It’s suited for mixed workloads (since the 2nd iteration) and has had so many new features over the years that makes it now a very compelling offering if it suits your business needs.

This is the same for the Autonomous Database, at launch it was only suited for Data Warehouse just as the first Exadata Machine (however soon after another offering was available for OLTP, see further on), it’s not perfect and it has it’s fair share of “teething issues”.  However, come its 10 years anniversary and all the features that are in the road map are implemented, it will be a different story and it will be another very compelling offering from Oracle, again if it suits your business needs.

2. Makeup

The make up of the Autonomous Database in the Oracle Cloud is:

  1. Oracle’s Extreme performance platform, Exadata part of the Oracle Engineered Systems
  2. A streamlined version of 18c database soon to be 19c
  3. Oracle Cloud Automated Data Centre Operations

This is the not so “secret sauce” 🙂

3. Infrastructure Offerings

So the Oracle Autonomous Database comes in 2 offerings:

  1. Serverless Exadata Cloud Infrastructure, which just means it’s shared.  This is for non-mission critical workloads and is non-deterministic performance.  The minimum is 1 TB storage and 1 OCPU and it’s the low cost entry point.  Please Note: This is the ONLY offering at present (Jan 2019).
  2. Dedicated Exadata Cloud Infrastructure, which is as the name suggests dedicated.  This is for mission critical workloads and is deterministic performance.  To be confirmed, but envisioned to be offered like Exadata conventional sizes, i.e. quarter, half and full rack.  The minimum is 1 TB storage and 1 OCPU to all OCPU in the rack size provisioned.  It will have private networks unlike the above offering which is public.  Expecting “soon”, so could be Q2 or Q3 of 2019.

4. Workload Offerings

Once you’ve selected between shared or dedicated, then you need to decide what type of workload as there are two products that apply the autonomous optimisations:

  1. Autonomous Data Warehouse (ADW), which optimises complex SQL, stores in columnar format and creates data summaries.  This was the only offering at launch.
  2. Autonomous Transaction Processing (ATP), which optimises response time, stores in row format and creates indexes autonomously.  Now also available.

The current offering doesn’t let you change between the two, however it is on the road map to be able to converted from one to another, for example to want to test which works best for you or if you have in hindsight made the wrong selection.

5. Automatic Indexing

This one is probably a contentious yet interesting topic!  Us DBAs are used to the world of indexes and us “knowing” what’s right, however the world moved on and AI and Machine Learning is taking away laborious task from us.  The Autonomous Database in the ATP can analyse the workload and use AI and ML to see what indexes are needed over a period of time and eventually have the same elapse time of a workload, however the most interesting aspect is that it will only have indexes that are needed and have a net reduction in indexes, which can often get left behind and have little to no benefit.  There’s no denying we can know better and have a set of indexes with some redundant indexes too but how often is this reviewed to remove unused indexes, add new ones as queries change?  This Automatic Indexing takes away that headache with some volatility as it works out what is required.  I can really see the benefits here and see this being the norm just as Automatic Undo Management is, who in this day and age manages undo segments?

6. Autonomous

The Autonomous Database is:

  1. Self-Driving, performs database maintenance tasks such as tablespace space management, etc.  Automate upgrades and release updates.
  2. Self-Securing, automatically apply secure patch online.  Out the box, all data and network traffic is encrypted.
  3. Self-Repairing, can automatically detect and apply fixes data issues, i.e. resolve block corruption using Active Data Guard, ensure high availability using Real Application Clusters (RAC) and in the event of disaster, use Data Guard physical standby.

7. Is it for you?

Just talking Oracle platforms, there’s a spectrum of platforms, from most Manual to most Autonomous:

  1. Database on commodity hardware on premise
  2. Database on Engineered Systems (Exadata) on premise
  3. Database on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI)
  4. Exadata Cloud Services / Exadata Cloud @ Customer
  5. Autonomous Database Cloud Services

The more autonomous you go, the more you can focus on your business.

Anyone who’s interested in Autonomous Database, come talk to us 🙂

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Zed DBA (Zahid Anwar)