What is a Converged Database?

At the recent OOW European conference there was a lot talk about Converged Databases and how they can greatly simplify data-driven app development.

But if you missed the conference, you might find yourself wondering what exactly is a Converged Database and what is the difference between a Converged Database and an Autonomous Database?

So, I thought it would be a good idea to write a short blog post explaining what a Converged Database is and how it relates to the Oracle Autonomous Database.

A Converged Database is a database that has native support for all modern data types (JSON, Spatial, Graph, etc. as well as relational), multiple workloads (IoT, Blockchain, Machine Learning, etc.) and the latest development paradigms (Microservice, Events, REST, SaaS, CI/CD, etc.) built into one product.

By having support for each of these datatype, workloads, and paradigms as features within a converged database, you can support mixed workloads and data types in a much simpler way. You don’t need to manage and maintain multiple systems or worry about having to provide unified security across them.

You also get synergy across these capabilities. For example, by having support for Machine Learning algorithms and Spatial data in the same database, you can easily do predictive analytics on Spatial data.  The Oracle Database is a great example of a Converged Database, as it provides support for Machine Learning, Blockchain, Graph, Spatial, JSON, REST, Events, Editions, and IoT Streaming as part of the core database at no additional cost.

A good analogy for a Converged Database is a smartphone. In the past, if you wanted to take a picture or video you would need a camera. If you wanted to navigate somewhere you would need a map or a navigation system. If you wanted to listen to music, you needed an iPod and if you wanted to make phone calls, you would also need a phone.

But with a smartphone, all of these products have been converged into one. Each of the original products is now a feature of the smartphone. Having all of these features converged into a single product inherently makes your life easier, as you can stream music over the phone’s data plan or upload pictures or videos directly to social media sites.
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How do I scale an Autonomous Database?

Traditionally database deployments have been designed and provision for the peak possible workload. And in reality, a substantial margin of safety was also provisioned on top of that in order to make sure the system could cope with any unforeseen demands.
But peak workloads tend to occur infrequently, leaving most of this costly capacity idle the majority of the time.

In order to enable customers to pay for only the resources they need, Oracle Autonomous Database allow customers to elastically adjust their compute and storage resources when necessary.

An Autonomous Database can be scaled through the UI as shown in the video below or via our cloud APIs or CLI commands. In the video you see how I can scale an 2 CPU  configuration to an 8 CPU configuration in under a minute  to accommodate 48 concurrent users running a JSON workload.

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FREE Oracle Autonomous Database

Today was the first day of Oracle Open World and during Larry Ellison’s afternoon keynote he made a number of extremely exciting announcements around Oracle Autonomous Database including the launch of an Always Free Tier for Developers and students in the Oracle Cloud.  Larry said, “as long as you use the service, it will be there, free forever.”

So what’s included?

Along with compute and storage services, you also get access to 2 Autonomous Database with 20GB of storage each absolutely free. So you can try out both an Autonomous Data Warehouse and an Autonomous Transaction Processing system.

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Can I use an Autonomous Database to develop new applications?

Yes, Oracle Autonomous Database (ADB) is the ideal platform for new application development.

With this family of cloud services, developers no longer have to wait on others to provision hardware, install software, and create a database for them. With ADB, developers can easily and instantly deploy an Oracle database without worrying about having to manual tune it or capacity planning. This allows developers to start developing in minutes and concentrate on solving business problems without all of the usual distractions.

ADB has the most advanced SQL and PL/SQL support accelerating developer productivity by minimizing the amount of application code required to implement complex business logic. It also has a complete set of integrated Machine Learning algorithms, simplifying the development of applications that perform real-time predictions such as personalized shopping recommendations, customer churn rates, and fraud detection.

What Development Tools should I use with ATP?

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Cloning an Oracle Autonomous Database

Often times development and testing teams need a copy of a production database in order to develop or test using a representative dataset. Up until now, creating these cloned  environments has been a challenging and time consuming process for DBAs.

Oracle Autonomous Database makes it extremely easy for a DBA to clone a database in just a few mouse clicks, as I demonstrate in the video below.

When it comes to cloning an Autonomous Database  you have two options:

You can create a new database that is a complete copy of the original database, which includes all metadata (table and view definitions etc.) and all of the actual data. This is referred to as a FULL CLONE.

Or you can create a new database that only contains the metadata from the original database.  This is referred to as METADATA CLONE.

Either way the “cloned” database will have a completely new database name, admin password. It can also have different infrastructure criteria (CPU count and storage) from the original database.

The clone will also not have any of the AWR data  or any of the ML Worksheets from original database.

Of course you don’t need to use the UI every time you want to create a clone. All of the tasks that can be done via the UI can be done using REST APIs or CLI commands.

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Getting started with Oracle Autonomous Transaction Processing

Getting started with Oracle Autonomous Transaction Processing is actually much easier than you might think. In fact, with Oracle’s $300 in free cloud credits you can probably get your first 30 days on the service for free. Please note, you will require an active email address and credit card in order to sign up for a trial account. Of course, if you have existing cloud credits you can skip this step.

Once you sign up for trail account you’ll get an email with your tenancy, username and password. Armed with this information, head on over to https://cloud.oracle.com to sign in. The video below explains in detailed the simple steps needed to provision a new Autonomous Transaction Processing database. I’ve also listed these steps below the video, for  easy reference.

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What you can expect from Oracle Autonomous Transaction Processing

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?

Self-Driving

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.

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How does Autonomous Transaction Processing differ from the Autonomous Data Warehouse?

In my previous post, I explained that  Oracle Autonomous Transaction Processing has three main attribute: Self-Driving, Self-Securing and Self-Repairing. All of the functionality I described in that post is shared between both the Autonomous Data Warehouse (ADW) and ATP.

Where the two services differ is actually inside the database itself. Although both services use Oracle Database 18c, they have been optimized differently to support two very different but complimentary workloads. The primary goal of ADW is to achieve fast complex analytics, while ATP has been designed to efficiently execute a high volume of simple transactions.

Configuration

The differences in the two services begins with how we configure them. Continue reading “How does Autonomous Transaction Processing differ from the Autonomous Data Warehouse?”

Oracle Autonomous Database – What you need to know

At OpenWorld, Larry Ellison announced  an Autonomous Database cloud (service), which is self-driving, self-securing, and self-repairing.

Although there was a lot of excitement surrounding the announcement, there were also a lot of questions.

Is Oracle Database 18c the Autonomous Database?

How does it work exactly?

When and where will it become available?

How will it impact the role of the DBA?

So, I thought it would be a good idea to try and answer these questions and concerns.

Most of the answers can be found in a series of videos we shared in early November or in the Oracle Autonomous Database Strategy white paper. But before I introduce the videos let me address the first question, “Is Oracle Database 18c the Autonomous Database?”

The simple answer is NO. The Autonomous Database is a Cloud service running on top of Oracle Database 18c along with additional services to provide performance and availability SLAs. They are definitely not the same thing. Hopefully the formula below makes this clear.

Now that we have cleared that up, let’s move on to the videos I mentioned.

In the first video, Juan Loaiza gives you a peek behind the curtain of the Autonomous Database. He explains how it delivers full end-to-end automation for mission-critical workloads, including automation in provisioning, patching, securing, monitoring, optimizing, and more.

In the second video, Cetin Özbütün provides an overview of  the first Autonomous Database service to become available later this year, the Autonomous Data Warehouse. This service is extremely easy to use as you simply load data and begin running queries. Oracle will take care of everything else for you.

In the third video, George Lumpkin shares more details on the features of the Autonomous Data Warehouse Cloud and explains how customers can simply load their data and start running queries immediately.

In the fourth video, Vipin Samar outlines how the Oracle’s Autonomous Data Warehouse Cloud integrates automation to help deliver a self-securing data management platform.

And finally yours truly explains which aspect of the DBA role will be done automatically (mundane custodial tasks), allowing the DBAs to spend more time innovating and helping the business to better leverage their data.

As we get closer the official launch of new services we will share more information. So stay tuned!