Achieving competitive advantage through the autonomous database

Liberating database administrators can be a key benefit to organisations.

Database administrators are a busy lot. Research shows that 39 per cent of database administrators are managing at least 50 databases - a mammoth task, given that 95 per cent of them also create or upgrade their databases manually.

That pressure has reached the point that it's having real impact on business. Close to three quarters – 72 per cent - of IT budgets are now being spent on simple maintenance and keeping pace with service demands from business lines[1]. That has implications on the operation, security and regulatory compliance of an organisation, made clear by another statistic that shows that 78 per cent of database administrators also experience unplanned downtime from database changes that are not properly tested. 

Executives cannot resolve this challenge by simply bringing more database administrators into the company. There's a severe skills shortage in data science, and that's expected to become more exasperated with time. A Deloitte Access Economics study showed that 76 per cent of businesses are going to invest in data over the next two years, and that the average annual income of someone with data science skills will jump from $111,634 in 2016/17, to $130,176 in 2021/22[2]. Competition for those with the skills of database administrators will be too fierce for "hiring more" to be the effective solution.

Taking the mundane out of the database administrator work

What is helping a growing number of businesses in grappling with the database management resource challenges is the autonomous database, an innovation from Oracle that brings advanced artificial intelligence and machine learning to the database, and helps database administrators move more of the workloads securely into the cloud.

As Ovum notes: "autonomous databases are designed to eliminate groundwork that database administrators typically perform. This allows redeployment of human resources to more strategic, value-added data science activities."

What makes the autonomous database so beneficial to organisations can be broken down into three "ingredients" –

Autonomous databases are enhanced – Because the autonomous database is built on highly secure and advanced Oracle Exadata and Oracle Database systems, it's possible to securely transition all the data integration tools and services that support Oracle Database to the cloud.

Autonomous databases are accelerated – Because the autonomous database can leverage the strength of the cloud, it's a fast system, and features adaptive machine learning continues to tune the database through use, helping to maintain optimal performance levels.

Autonomous databases are genuinely autonomous – Creating a data warehouse is a simple 'load and go' process, with management tasks, from securing, monitoring, patching, upgrading, recovering and troubleshooting handled by the system in real time.

Combined, those ingredients provide three key capabilities, according to Ovum, all of which directly address the resourcing challenges that database administrators would otherwise face:

Self-driving: Autonomous databases don't need human labour to provision, secure, monitor, tune, upgrade, backup, and recover databases.

Self-secure: The machine learning in autonomous databases can interpret access patterns and protect the environment from internal and external threats. There is also no need for downtime when applying security patches.

Self-repairing: The autonomous database achieves 99.995 per cent availability.

The benefits of liberating database administrators

By transitioning to autonomous databases, the role of the database administrator can evolve from being one predominantly focused on keeping the proverbial lights on, to something that offers a far greater value-add back to the organisation.

The database administrator can start to leverage their data science skills to provide analysis and insights back to the business. Being able to step back from the day-to-day management means they'll be able to dedicate the time to observing patterns and trends that emerge through the data.

Administrators can also become champions for innovation within the organisation. They'll be able to take the lead with other business transformation tasks, collaborate closely with the agile development projects that a cloud-based database system enables, and develop new prediction and insight tools to help organisations move quickly.

In short, once liberated from maintenance and struggling from the increasing burden of security and compliance, the database administrator role becomes a high value strategic one. Not only is this better for database administrators (who are far too highly skilled to be happy endlessly putting out virtual fires), but it helps the organisation reduce IT budget spent on database maintenance and re-invest that money towards building competitive advantage.

The interest in AI-based mining and research is high – nine of 10 enterprises throughout Asia are considering an AI-based data mining/search solution, according to Ovum. To achieve that outcome, organisations need to make the move to an autonomous database, which becomes the platform on which advanced AI applications can be built.

For more information on the Oracle Autonomous solution, click here.

Want to get hands on with Oracle autonomous database, register to attend an Oracle Cloud Insight Community Meetup in your city.


[1] New Frontiers of Automation: The IT Leader's Guide to Oracle Autonomous Database Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Launch a New Era of Efficiency
[2] https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/au/Documents/Economics/deloitte-au-economics-future-of-work-occupational-education-trends-data-science-170418.pdf