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4 Technology Shifts That Are Reshaping the Enterprise Database


Juan Loaiza, Oracle’s executive vice president of mission-critical database technologies, spoke at Oracle OpenWorld 2019 about four technology shifts that are reshaping the enterprise database.

Technology shifts are inevitable, and they tend to set off a ripple effect that prompts thinkers inside tech companies to figure out how and when to react. Loaiza is one of those thinkers at Oracle. At OpenWorld 2019, Loaiza expressed that it is an interesting time to be in data management because of the technology innovations, regulations, and massive data volumes that drive change and open opportunities.

“Our goal is to look at database trends and take good ideas and make them better and get rid of bad ideas. There’s so much going on in this space. It’s not boring.”

-Juan Loaiza, Oracle executive vice president of mission-critical database technologies

4 Technology Shifts Reshaping Enterprise Database

Loaiza and his team shared four technology shifts and how he and his team see them creating new opportunities.

  1. A self-driving database
  2. Hyperscale computing
  3. Blockchain security
  4. Internet of Things

A Self-Driving Database

The machine learning technology that enables self-driving cars – cars that can navigate themselves through a complex or changing environment – is changing perceptions of what is possible. It has many industries looking at “autonomous” possibilities.

Oracle saw the opportunity to bring “self-driving” to its Cloud-based database. Loaiza explained that Oracle has spent years developing and automating all of the features that would need to work together in an autonomous database. Oracle rebuilt its Cloud infrastructure on systems designed to run Oracle Database for top performance and reliability. Oracle also used machine learning in the infrastructure and database to deliver the first and only self-driving database that deploys, tunes, patches, and secures itself, and scales immediately as demand grows or shrinks. While the savings in terms of infrastructure and labor may seem obvious, the deepest value is that it makes the database more available and a lot more secure with autonomous caching, patching, and threat detection. Loaiza explained that you get true elasticity to grow or shrink your CPUs.

Hyperscale Computing

Hyperscale computing is a computing architecture that can scale up or down quickly to meet the increased demand on the system. This architecture innovation was originally driven by internet giants that run distributed sites – companies like Facebook, WhatsApp, and Twitter. It has since been adopted by large-scale Cloud providers like Oracle and Microsoft.

Companies often achieve hyperscale computing using a technology called database sharding, in which they distribute segments of a data set – a shard – across lots of databases on lots of different computers. They often use large numbers of simple databases, called NoSQL databases, to achieve this. Loaiza explained that sharding is a good idea, but NoSQL databases come with too many restrictions like no schemas, key value access only, and the lack of transaction integrity.

Oracle’s goal is to “take a good idea and make it better” by building sharding into its mature SQL database. With sharding in Oracle Database, people who manage massive volumes of data in these hyperscale environments get the scaling and the availability of having lots of independent databases but get to keep the SQL and the consistent, durable transactions of a mature SQL database.

“You get the best of both worlds. We have quite a number of large customers using this technology for their hyperscale environments.”

-Juan Loaiza, Oracle executive vice president of mission-critical database technologies

Blockchain Security

Blockchain got its fame through Bitcoin, but companies are intrigued about using the technology in everyday business uses like tracking goods along a supply chain. Blockchain is a list of records that are cryptographically linked, so it is hard to make unauthorized changes. This also provides users with a verified history of changes to the record. Loaiza explained that blockchain is just a ledger, but it is an immutable ledger. He thinks of it as a nice advancement in computer science and data management, but in many cases, it may be more trouble than it’s worth. For example, a large distributed blockchain platform is more than most enterprise applications need.

Loaiza and his team have worked to understand where blockchain brings value and how to make it much easier for people to use. For example, a blockchain-enabled database underpinning a SaaS supply chain application could make any changes cryptographically immutable. Oracle is building blockchain into Oracle Database to make it easier for developers to bring the technology into everyday business transactions. Loaiza explained that for a database user or an application, blockchain will look like a table. Users will be able to build these blockchain tables into existing or new applications very easily. They will get the value of blockchain without all of the other pain that currently comes with it.

Internet of Things

Using the Internet of Things (IoT) means that all sorts of sensors and devices can connect, communicate, and share data with each other – whether it’s a person’s fitness device, a smart thermostat, or a company’s power plant turbine or service vehicle. With devices suddenly generating vast quantities of data, companies need to rapidly analyze that IoT data to learn from it and get a competitive edge.

Loaiza explained that IoT data is moving fast, so people are coming up with specialized in-memory databases for IoT. However, those databases are limited in how much data they can hold in-memory, and IoT data adds up fast. Oracle has built an IoT streaming feature into Oracle Database that puts IoT data in an in-memory buffer. From there, Oracle has a background process that periodically takes that memory buffer and does a bulk load into the database.

4 Technology Shifts That Are Reshaping the Enterprise Database