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4 Expert Tips for Oracle Autonomous Database Success


Jeff Erickson, content strategist for database and data-driven innovation at Oracle, wrote about the four expert tips that Erik Benner, Vice President of Enterprise Transformation at Mythics Inc., came up with to help ensure Oracle Autonomous Database success. Of Benner’s four suggestions, one will help you get started, two will save you money, and one is a tip to avoid.

When new technology arises, Erik Benner’s curiosity takes over. He ended up with an Oracle Exadata database in his basement, and his latest obsession is the Oracle Autonomous Database on Oracle Cloud. Oracle Autonomous Database has been available since 2018, and it deploys, manages, secures, and upgrades itself with no human intervention. All of these tasks are normally carried out by skilled database administrators, but now it can be done autonomously.

Oracle Autonomous Database is self-driving, self-securing, and self-repairing. It is the world’s first autonomous data management in the Cloud to deliver automated patching, upgrades, and tuning—including performing all routine database maintenance tasks while the system is running—without human intervention. This helps eliminate manual database management and human errors.

After Benner spent time working with a mix of clients on Oracle Autonomous Database projects, he came up with four tips that others should follow. The expert tips cover:

  1. How to pick your autonomous flavor
  2. The top way autonomous saves money
  3. The second way autonomous saves money
  4. A troubleshooting tip

How to Pick Your Autonomous Flavor

The on-premises version of Oracle Database 19c is a single database designed to be configured at fine-tuned for your use case. However, Oracle Autonomous Database, while using that same Oracle Database 19c running on Exadata, has been pretuned for two different kinds of work and is managed day-to-day by AI and machine learning algorithms. Those services include:

  • Oracle Autonomous Data Warehouse for analyzing tons of data all at once
  • Oracle Autonomous Transaction Processing for mixed workloads

Benner explains that it’s important to choose one up front.

“If you’re flowing lots of data into a single place to run analysis, then go with Oracle Autonomous Data Warehouse. If you’re not sure what your needs will be, go with Oracle Autonomous Transaction Processing.”

—Erik Benner

Autonomous Transaction Processing gives you a little more control, and you will gain a new feature called automatic indexing. Although Autonomous Transaction Processing isn’t optimized for data warehousing like Autonomous Data Warehouse is, Benner says that you still have all of the advantages of storage cells in the Exadata, so you should still get good query performance.

Money Saver #1: Building a New App

Benner said that if he were writing an app right now, and he wanted a low-cost database option that would Cloud scale, he would look at Oracle Autonomous Database. Instead of needing three DBAs for his project, he would only need one.

“With Autonomous Database, I don’t need a DBA who can build a database, I don’t need a DBA that can do all the install tasks, I don’t need a DBA that patches once a quarter. I don’t need a DBA that knows how to tune a complex server cluster.”

—Erik Benner

Benner explained that you do still need a skilled DBA, but Oracle Autonomous Database frees him or her from routine tasks in order to do more valuable things. You need a DBA who is an application DBA, who knows how to write good SQL, who knows how to work with developers on their SQL, and who knows how to structure data in a relational database. You need someone who knows how to get data into and out of the database. These tasks give the DBA a more visible role.

“You have a salary on your database project, and the DBAs you pay get to do stuff that’s of more obvious value to the business.”

—Erik Benner

Money Saver #2: True Hot Scaling

While there are several great use cases for Oracle Autonomous Database, one of Benner’s favorites is its true hot scaling capabilities. This means that you can scale it up or down at will. If you’re running a production environment for a data warehouse and only do one or two huge analytics workloads a month, you can run all month on two CPUs. Then, when you’re going to do your big reports, you can scale it up to 18 CPUs or whatever you need.

“Take advantage of that parallelism, knock out your analytics, then slam it back down to two CPUs. That’s huge for savings and efficiency.”

—Erik Benner

If you only need your Dev and Test environments Monday through Friday between 8:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m., you can shut the Autonomous Database down and stop paying for it during all of those hours that you’re not using it.

A Troubleshooting Tip

When you’re setting up an autonomous database, keep an eye on how resources are allocated. It’s different in Oracle Autonomous Database. Benner had an experience with a user that was on Autonomous Database and was getting bad performance when they should have had fast, secure performance. Benner realized that the problem was very simple. An inexperienced administrator had given every database user the lowest-tier priority for access to computer resources.

Normally, a DBA would know a user’s needs and give them the resources their work requires. However, Benner explained that users can now pick on their own, and they often go cheap because they pay for the Cloud service by the CPU hour.

Oracle Autonomous Data Warehouse has three tiers, and Autonomous Transaction Processing has five tiers. If a job is running slowly, go back and look at what tier they’re connected to. It might be too low for what they’re trying to do.

For more on Erik Benner’s four tips for Oracle Autonomous Database, check out the Forbes article attached below. To learn more about Oracle Autonomous Database, browse through some of the Quest resources attached below.

4 Expert Tips for Oracle Autonomous Database Success