The Autonomous Database Wants to Eat Your Lunch (and maybe your job). Should You be Worried?

The autonomous database will figure prominently at Oracle Open World this October. And it sounds as though it’s going to eat your lunch.

“The World’s First ‘Self-Driving’ Database.”

“No Human Labor — Half the Cost”

“No Human Error — 100x More Reliable.”

That may be. But “human labor” refers to tuning, patching, updating and maintaining the database. You know perfectly well that database automation has taken care of a lot of that work for years. You probably have scripts that handle much of it.

Is it possible for a database to drive itself, like an automobile? If so, which traditional DBA responsibilities will remain in human hands? And how much of your job will the autonomous database eat?

We’ve released a new eBook called The Future of the DBA in the Era of the Autonomous Database. We wrote it so that you wouldn’t be unnerved by all the hype at Oracle Open World and spend four days at the Moscone worrying that Oracle is trying to make your job go away.

The autonomous database — Is that really a thing?

What about all of your other DBA duties? Consider the range of ancillary tasks you perform:

  • Gathering business requirements
  • Setting up and configuring the database initially
  • Loading data — Getting it out of existing systems and into new ones
  • Extracting data — Taking it from autonomous and other systems and turning it into knowledge
  • Tuning SQL — Working with database developers to improve the SQL and code they write
  • Enforcing security — Keeping cloud-based, autonomous databases accessible only to users who should have access
  • Reporting

Not even the most bigly autonomous database can take care of all that.

Can it?

What do they really mean by “autonomous database?”

Let’s think about this calmly for a moment.

The autonomous database itself could be in the cloud or on premises, but the way to connect to and provision it is through cloud data management.

So Oracle will make 18c available in the cloud and promote it. But by itself Oracle 18c is not an autonomous database. Oracle is making its 18c release available first in its cloud machine and only to its cloud customers, but even there the database doesn’t necessarily include automated cloud features such as backup, recovery, patching and machine learning. That whole feature set is in Autonomous Data Warehouse, running atop 18c.

Furthermore, the term “autonomous database” is not perfectly interchangeable with the term “Oracle 18c.” (For that matter, it’s possible to run Oracle 12.2 on premises or in Oracle’s cloud, whichever suits the organization’s IT needs.)

What is true about Oracle’s autonomous database, however, is that Oracle configures, manages and maintains it, which is how they achieve the high uptime they advertise. To optimize the 18c release for its cloud environment, Oracle has added several features:

  • Cloud automation that provisions and sets up hardware and software in the cloud so that entire databases can be instantiated in just a few clicks
  • Advanced versions of Oracle DataGuard for disaster recovery and high availability
  • Tuning to make all the components work together
  • Machine learning for autonomous operation

Next step for DBAs: Get the eBook

It may seem safe for you to tell yourself, “I know databases and I know cloud; therefore, database administration as I’ve known it will work out just fine for me.” But the truth is that autonomous databases could have a bigger impact on your career than meets the eye. If you fail to recognize the shift that comes with autonomous databases, you’re in danger of missing the boat.

And that’s why we’ve adapted a webinar by our own Clay Jackson, database solutions sales engineer, into an eBook called The Future of the DBA in the Era of the Autonomous Database. It’s designed to help you envision your future as a DBA in the era of the autonomous database — and the Internet of Things and the hybrid cloud and software-defined storage and all of the other technology twists in the road. (Spoiler alert: The key is to make the transition from database administrator to data administrator.)

Read the eBook and let me know what you think in the comments below. Better yet, stop by our Quest® booth 4201 at Oracle Open World and tell us in person.

Download the eBook

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