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5 Larry Ellison Oracle OpenWorld 2019 Highlights

Larry Ellison, Oracle Chairman and CTO

Rob Preston, editorial director in Oracle’s Content Central organization, wrote in Forbes about the presence that Larry Ellison, Oracle Chairman and CTO, had at Oracle OpenWorld 2019. Ellison provided insight through two keynotes during the conference and a Q&A session at the CIO-oriented Leaders Circle event. Preston provided five highlights from the Oracle leader’s talks.

5 Oracle OpenWorld 2019 Highlights from Larry Ellison

Some of the key highlights that Preston pulled from Ellison’s Oracle OpenWorld 2019 talks covered:

  1. The higher calling of autonomous machines
  2. Avoiding human error
  3. Where your data is safest
  4. What’s interesting about Oracle Cloud customers
  5. What keeps Ellison motivated

The Higher Calling of Autonomous Machines

Ellison repeatedly explained that people who think that self-driving cars, databases, and other autonomous machines are going to put truckers, cab drivers, database administrators, etc. out of work are missing the point. Ellison explained that automation prevents errors. For example, a driverless Uber will help cut down on traffic accidents and drunk driving. He said it could save thousands and thousands of lives and that we won’t be able to imagine that we ever did it any other way before.

Likewise, with the introduction of the self-patching, self-tuning, self-updating Oracle Autonomous Database last year, some are concerned that it will put DBAs out of work. Ellison ensured the OpenWorld crowd that this was not the case.

“We’re trying to do some of the tedious things they do. We’re trying to automate that so that they can focus on things that are more important in information science, in their business, university, or government agency.”

-Larry Ellison, Oracle Chairman and CTO

Ellison explained that the Autonomous Database does all of that while also allowing better protection of companies’ most sensitive data. He explained that the world is changing, and in that changing word comes safer data.

However, people still insist that artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and the autonomous systems they make possible will eliminate most everyone’s job. Ellison pointed out that the global economy has gone through much bigger changes in the past, noting that at one time 98 percent of the population worked on farms growing food and making their own clothing. Now, thanks to automation and other productivity advances, only 2 percent of the population works on farms, and, as Ellison pointed out, that doesn’t mean that the other 98 percent are now out of work.

Why Human Error Must Be Avoided

When discussing a recent security breach at one of AWS’s major Cloud database customers, Ellison said that the position that Amazon Web Services took in not accepting responsibility for the breach was “very reasonable.” AWS attributed the breach to human error by the customer – specifically to a misconfigured firewall.

Ellison explained that Amazon’s support policy is very clear. As a customer, you maintain full control of your content and responsibility for configuring access to AWS services. That’s on you.

However, Ellison cited one of the security advantages of the self-driving Oracle Autonomous Database to counter this position. He explained that in Oracle Autonomous Cloud, when you use Autonomous Database, it configures itself. This means, unlike AWS’s approach, that Oracle’s approach helps customers avoid making configuration errors in the first place. Eliminating human error helps eliminate security risks.

Where Your Data Is Safer

During a Q&A session at Leaders Circle, one attendee asked Ellison why companies should trust a third-party like Oracle to guard their most precious data off-premises. He responded by asking, “Where do you think your money is safer – in your house or in someone else’s bank?”

He explained that it is Oracle’s full-time job to ensure that customer data is encrypted and that no one makes a mistake. Managing data and keeping it safe is what they do, which is why he thinks Oracle is better at securing customer data than anyone else.

“In an era of specialized labor and specialized skills, we should be better at building a data center and managing your data—just like a bank is better at building a vault and guarding your money and keeping track of it, loaning it out, or giving you interest, because they specialize in money management.”

-Larry Ellison, Oracle Chairman and CTO

However, Ellison noted that regulations in different countries forbid some financial, government, and other companies and organizations from putting customer and other data in the public Cloud, which is the reason Oracle offers Cloud at Customer. This gives customers all of the benefits of the public cloud on their own premises. Oracle announced at OpenWorld 2019 that, starting in mid-2020, it plans to offer a second-generation Cloud at Customer program, which will make it much easier for customers to install and use their Oracle Databases.

What’s Interesting About Oracle Cloud Customers

During his second OpenWorld keynote, Ellison focused on Oracle’s fast-growing Cloud applications business, extolling the database, analytics, security, integration, and extensibility virtues of its underlying Generation 2 Cloud Infrastructure.

Ellison explained that Oracle now has more than 31,000 Fusion and Oracle NetSuite Cloud applications customers – having grown NetSuite’s business considerably since acquiring the Cloud pioneer in 2016 and having added 12,000 new Fusion applications Cloud customers over the last five years.

Oracle, which started rewriting all of its on-premises applications for the Cloud a dozen years ago, is already the No. 1 provider of Cloud-native finance/ERP and human resources applications and the No. 2 provider of Cloud-native customer experience (CX – sales, marketing, customer service, and commerce) applications, Ellison said.

Ellison said that this is “very interesting” that, of Fusion applications customers, three-quarters of them do not have other Oracle applications.

“It’s not that we moved all of our Oracle E-Business Suite customers from on-premises to Fusion. We’ve done some of that, but a lot remains to be done. A lot of these are brand new customers to Oracle Corporation.”

-Larry Ellison, Oracle Chairman and CTO

What Keeps Ellison Motivated

Ellison has been leading Oracle for more than four decades, and one Leaders Circle attendee asked how he manages to stay so technologically engaged and agile amid the ever-accelerating pace of change. For Ellison, the answer was very personal.

“It’s very personal. I love my job. I love the people I work with. I have hobbies, but nothing that excites me so much as being part of Oracle – being part of the world marching toward these dramatically new and wonderful technologies. I think I’ve stayed engaged because I don’t want to miss anything. It’s like reading a really good book and you never want it to be over. I’m probably more excited today because the length of the lever to move the world is longer than it’s ever been.”

-Larry Ellison, Oracle Chairman and CTO

Ellison explained that Oracle helps customers solve “incredibly complicated problems” like getting life-saving drugs to market faster, improving energy efficiency, building smarter cities, growing food more productively, and improving the lives of the poor. He feels that they are getting closer and closer to being able to solve them.

“You don’t just want to put the book down until you can solve one more problem…then one more problem, and then after that, just one more problem. For me, I can’t think of a better way to live my life than to be engaged in this kind of technological problem-solving with a lot of wonderful, creative people. That’s how I want to live.”

-Larry Ellison, Oracle Chairman and CTO

To learn more about the highlights from Oracle OpenWorld 2019, check out the additional resources attached below.

Additional Resources

COLLABORATE 20 will take place April 19-23, 2020 at the Mandala Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada! Call for Presentations is now open. Don’t miss your chance to share your stories, insights, and advice with the Quest Oracle Community! Submit an abstract by October 11, 2019, to be considered to be a speaker at the conference.

Save the date for Quest Experience Week! This free, four-day event is jam-packed with digital education designed to provide both strategic insight and how-to-education for Oracle users of all levels. Each day is dedicated to a different product and begins with a keynote followed by afternoon breakout sessions. Join us November 12-15, 2019, for conference-quality education from the comfort of your desk!

  • Cloud Day: November 12
  • Database Day: November 13
  • PeopleSoft Day: November 14
  • JD Edwards Day: November 15