Today Larry Ellison announced the general availability of Oracle Autonomous Transaction Processing (ATP), the newest member of the Oracle Autonomous Database family, combining the flexibility of cloud with the power of machine learning to deliver data management as a service.
Traditionally, creating a database management system required a team of experts to custom build and manually maintain a complex hardware and software stack. With each system being unique, this approach led to poor economies of scale and a lack of the agility typically needed to give the business a competitive edge.
ATP enables businesses to safely run a complex mix of high-performance transactions, reporting, and batch processing using the most secure, available, performant, and proven platform – Oracle Database on Exadata in the cloud. Unlike manually managed transaction processing databases, ATP provides instant, elastic compute and storage, so only the required resources are provisioned at any given time, decreasing runtime costs.
But what does the Autonomous in Autonomous Transaction Processing really mean?
ATP is a self-driving database, meaning it eliminates the human labor needed to provision, secure, update, monitor, backup, and troubleshooting a database. This reduction in database maintenance tasks, reducing costs and freeing scarce administrator resources to work on higher value tasks.
When an ATP database is requested, an Oracle Real-Application-Cluster (RAC) database is automatically provisioned on Exadata Cloud Infrastructure. This high availability configuration automatically benefits from many of the performance enhancing Exadata features such as smart flash cache, Exafusion communication over a super-fast InfiniBand network, and automatic storage indexes.
In addition, when it comes time to update ATP, patches are applied in a rolling fashion across the nodes of the cluster, eliminating unnecessary down time. Oracle automatically applies all clusterware, OS, VM, hypervisor, and firmware patches as well.
In fact in ATP the user does not get OS login privileges or SYSDBA privileges, so even if you want to do the maintenance tasks yourself, you cannot. It is like a car with the hood welded shut so you cannot change the oil or add coolant or perform any other maintenance yourself.
Many customers want to move to the cloud because of the elasticity it can offer. The ability to scale both in terms of compute and storage only when needed, allows people to truly pay per use. ATP not only allows you to scale compute and storage resources, but it allows you to do it independently online (no application downtime required).
ATP is also self-securing, as it protects itself from both external attacks and malicious internal users. Security patches are automatically applied every quarter. This is much sooner than most manually operated databases, narrowing an unnecessary window of vulnerability. Patching can also occur off-cycle if a zero-day exploit is discovered. Again, these patches are applied in a rolling fashion across the nodes of the cluster, avoiding application downtime.
But patching is just part of the picture. ATP also protects itself with always-on encryption. This means data is encrypted at rest but also during any communication with the database. Customers control their own encryption keys to further improve security.
ATP also secures itself from Oracle cloud administrators using Oracle Database Vault. Database Vault uniquely allows Oracle’s cloud administrators to do their jobs but prevents them from being able to see any customer data store in ATP.
Finally, customers are not given access to either the operating system or the SYSDBA privilege to prevent security breaches from malicious internal users or from stolen administrator credentials via a phishing attack.
ATP automatically recovers from any failures without downtime. The service is deployed on our Exadata cloud infrastructure, which has redundancy built-in at every level of the hardware configuration to protect against server, storage, or networking failures.
ATP automatically backs up the database nightly and gives the ability to restore the database from any of the backups in the archive. It also has the ability to rewind data to a point in time in the past to back out any user errors using Oracle’s unique Flashback Database capabilities.
Since users don’t have access to the OS, Oracle is on the hook to diagnose any problems that may occur. Machine learning is used to detect and diagnose any anomalies. If the database detects an impending error, it gathers statistics and feeds them to AI diagnostics to determine the root cause. If it’s a known issue, the fix is quickly applied. If it’s a new issue a service request will be automatically opened with Oracle support.
How does Autonomous Transaction Processing differ from the Autonomous Data Warehouse?
Check out my next post for more details!
Where can I get more information and get my hands-on ATP?
The first place to visit is the ATP Documentation. There you will find details on exactly what you can expect from the service
We also have a great program that lets you get started with Oracle Cloud for free with $300 in free credits, which last must longer than you would expect since the trial service has very low pricing. Using your credits (which will probably last you around 30 days depending on how you configure ATP) you will be able to get valuable hands-on time to try loading some your own workloads. Below is a video that show you just how easy it is to get started.