Databases are like the electrical grid – you don’t really think about them until the current of data stops flowing. Indeed, databases are as vital to business as the lines, the power stations, and the relays to an electric utility – and the data is like the current that enlightens every decision, informs every action, and allows every transaction.
On-premises databases are becoming the equivalent of running a generator in your house, and worrying that adding a new appliance will cause the breakers to switch off, or that you will have to get more fuel to keep it running. Or worrying that saboteurs will disrupt your business’s power supply by crippling your generator. Whether it’s due to maintenance or cybercrime, an outage to your database brings everything to a halt – and if that data current were to be diverted, as in a database breach, and customer data were to end up in the hands of cyber criminals, not only could business activities be frozen, it could cause executives to lose their jobs.
Companies that want to maximize the value of their data are increasingly finding that databases run and managed in the cloud are inherently more efficient, more secure and deliver better performance than their on-premises counterparts.
Now, make these cloud databases autonomous, and you have a self-tuning, self-patching, self-updating, self-maintaining database system that exemplifies the benefits of moving to the cloud -- improved security and costs savings, increased agility, and faster feature upgrades -- all of which help businesses run more efficiently and produce more innovation.
Protecting your data is job one
The job of protecting data has become even more difficult given the increased intensity and sophistication of attacks. Throwing more bodies at the problem isn’t efficient or even necessarily a guarantee of success. That’s why more and more businesses are turning not only to cloud databases, but autonomous databases that can act to protect their data without waiting for a database administrator to react.
As Oracle CEO Mark Hurd has noted, 95% of cyberattacks are on databases where administrators have failed to apply security patches for more than 9 months. An autonomous database can patch itself while the database is running, so it can always have the latest security patches. An autonomous database is also self-repairing, so it can recover from any failure without downtime. This enables an autonomous database to deliver a true SLA of less than 2.5 minutes of downtime per month.
Scaling as the business requires
An autonomous database can configure itself and increase capacity as needed– not just upon-demand, but without its customer having to make the demand. Like modern electric utilities, it recognizes when more demand is being put upon it and scales up automatically. The reverse is true as well, which means not only that businesses can be more responsive and agile, but they never have to pay for more than what they absolutely need. Most important, there’s no waiting for someone to configure a new database when a new business opportunity presents itself or more reporting is required.
Autonomous optimization via Artificial Intelligence
An autonomous database is constantly monitoring the changing statistical patterns of its data and the application workload. It automatically determines the best algorithm to use to process each application query and automatically recognizes when new index structures are needed to deliver better performance. Performance regressions following software upgrades become a thing of the past.
All those incredible engineering minds that are currently dedicated to tuning, patching, securing, and managing databases can be applied to more valuable activities, such as improving data architecture, securing external data sources, and otherwise ensuring the business is making the best possible use of data -- which is increasingly becoming the coin of the realm.
Finally, we shouldn’t forget that autonomous databases will make it possible for more companies, including start-ups and SMBs that can’t afford legions of DBAs, to compete with companies that do.
Prior to the late 1970s, business technology was limited in scope and not applicable to most businesses. The Oracle database changed all that in 1977, and has been the foundational element of nearly every subsequent IT milestone. More than 40 years later, it’s another database technology breakthrough – the autonomous database -- that is bound to herald a generation of innovation.