Oracle Takes Aim at AWS, Bets Big on Autonomous Technology

Like many of its competitors, Oracle is placing a big bet on the future of autonomous technology. Rather than self-driving cars, though, it's developed what it's calling "the world's first 100 percent self-driving autonomous database."

Unveiled yesterday during executive chairman/CTO Larry Ellison's opening keynote at Oracle OpenWorld 2017, which runs from Oct. 1-5 in San Francisco, the Oracle Autonomous Database Cloud uses machine learning to automatically tune performance and adjust compute and storage requirements without human intervention. It also automatically detects and responds to cyberattacks in real time, Ellison said.

By eliminating human labor as well as human error, the new database cloud is many times cheaper than Amazon Web Services, according to Oracle. "We guarantee you contractually to cut your Amazon bill in half," Ellison said during his keynote.

'No Pilot Error Because No Pilot'

"This is a big deal, by the way, no one else does this," Ellison said about the capabilities of the Oracle Autonomous Database Cloud. "This is the most important thing we have done in a long, long time."

Thanks to machine learning, the new database service is not simply highly automated, but fully autonomous, he added. He distinguished the technology from the autopilot systems used to handle many, though not all, of the functions of flying a plane.

"In this case, the automation does everything," Ellison said. "You get into the plane, you tell it where you want to go and it flies you there. There is no pilot error anymore because there is no pilot."

For now, the cyber defenses available through the Oracle Autonomous Database Cloud are partially automated, meaning that some human intervention will still be needed to manage threat detection and responses, according to Ellison. "Make no mistake, we are headed toward full autonomy in cyber security as well," he said.

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