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Oracle Autonomous Database: An Introduction

Oracle’s Autonomous Database was first released in 2019, initially on 18c and now upgraded to 19c. This paper will go over some of the basic concepts and features of Autonomous Database and walk you through a primer on setting up and deploying an Autonomous Database on the Oracle Cloud.

Oracle’s “Autonomous Database” – An Introduction

The Autonomous Database continues to be one of the biggest innovations ever to happen in the Database World since the Oracle Exadata. A 2020 detailed database review, placed Oracle as the most innovative database primarily because of Autonomous Database[1]. Gartner rated Oracle the #1 database in most every major category because of features, Autonomous Database, other innovations that other databases didn’t have, and Exadata leveraging database features (InMemory is a big one). Of course, Autonomous Database always runs on Exadata! Whether it’s in the Oracle Cloud or Cloud at Customer.

Some of the main reasons to move, at the minimum, lesser-used & smaller databases to autonomous include:

  • It’s self-driving: You setup the size, speed, & service levels of the database, and Oracle manages the rest. Including self-upgrade capability.
  • It’s self-securing: Imagine a database that is patched before you even know that you need a patch (let alone apply it).
  • It’s self-repairing: Automated protection from all downtime. It backs itself up.
  • It can be self-tuning: It looks at indexes & ensures the proper execution plan is used while also creating or dropping indexes as needed. It uses machine learning to do this effectively.
  • Biggest Reason: DBAs are managing way too many databases!

If you are currently on 12c, you should upgrade to 19c soon. Use Autonomous Database as a great way to try out some of the new features on newer versions of Oracle:

  • Key 18c Features to Try: Snapshot Carousel, PDB Switchover, & In-Memory External Tables
  • Key 19c Features to Try: This is version to Land on, PDBs, ADW/ATP, Automatic Indexes, Quarantine, Documentation Apps including Features by Version and Images for Learning
  • Key 21c Features to Try: AutoML (Auto Machine Learning), JavaScript in the DB, OML4Py, SQL Macros, Persistent Memory, Blockchain Tables, Auto In-Memory Management, Hybrid In-Memory Scans, AutoUpgrade, Active Data Guard with Standby DB Result Cache, Dark Mode for APEX, & New ML Algorithms

Note: Oracle Machine Learning for Python (OML4PY) gives you a nice and easy-to-use Python interface to Oracle DB Machine Learning algorithms.

By default, Autonomous Database’s run on shared Exadata infrastructure, but one has the choice to run on dedicated Exadata infrastructure as well (at a cost).  Exadata can also be leveraged without the Autonomous Database in the Oracle Cloud, Cloud at Customer, or On-Premise.  Note the incredible Exadata features ( that will make complex Machine Learning algorithms run like a dream.

Exadata Cloud

Your next question is where is my data when it makes its way to the Oracle Cloud or to the Autonomous Database? This is another area where Oracle really shines with 29 current Regions to connect to and another 9+ coming (even more than the 36 by 7/2021).

OCI Global Footprint

New Role for the DBA under Autonomous Databases

The role of the DBA is being stretched to include managing not just an ever-growing number of Oracle Databases to manage, but also other data sources, other types of databases, Big Data, and IoT.  Oracle is used as the Secure Portal (via Big Data SQL) to get to other data sources like Hadoop[2].  Things to Focus On:  Let the Autonomous Database capabilities take some of the load of the DBA work and change the DBA’s focus.

  • Be a Data Administrator (just change your title)
  • Help the Business to leverage data better
  • Leverage the Oracle Cloud & Autonomous DB
  • Leverage Big Data & IoT
  • Implement Oracle Security on other data sources
  • Leverage AI: ML (Machine Learning), NLP (Natural Language Processing), Robotics, Chatbots

Auto DB DBA Role

The DBA must also be the agent of change to improve their own role.  Leverage Autonomous DB for lesser-used databases, while also ensuring that it is done effectively & efficiently.  Oracle’s Andy Mendelsohn recently showed how other vendors built a plethora of databases to solve different data issues, while Oracle’s converged database makes life easier to consolidate any type of database.  Converged Database & Oracle Security is why Oracle has remained the #1 database for decades.  The DBA will be critical to leverage Oracle with all data types effectively.

DB Architecture

In other words, DBA is still critical for Autonomous Databases in the future:

  • Who ensures the database is tuned before it gets to the Cloud?
  • Who ensures the cloud vendor is charging correctly?
  • Who ensures the backup, security, and recovery are correct?
  • Who decides what kind of service the databases will be?
  • Who will build the policies for those autonomous databases?
  • Who will have the knowledge to decide or estimate the cost of these services?
  • Who decides the complex IT Infrastructure when we have more options & vendors?

The answer is obvious: A DBA, but not a simple DBA; A DBA that has evolved with all this new generation of databases on Cloud.

Where Do You Start?

You can try out the Autonomous Database for 30 days at cloud.oracle.com/tryit or oracle.com/cloud/free.

It will take you to a screen (Figure 1) that will allow you to register for a free trial.  The free trial gives you access to many products, but you are able to continue to use the Autonomous Database indefinitely (as long as you are using it regularly).  Go through the registration process and then log into your account

Auto DB Figure
Figure 1: Set up your free trial today

Figure 2 shows some of the tools that you can also try out during your free trial.  The key ones include the Autonomous Data Warehouse, Autonomous Transaction Processing, Bare Metal Database, NoSQL, and Analytics.

Auto DB Figure 1
Figure 2:  Some of the free tools to try during your 30-day trial

Figure 3 shows some additional tools that you can also try out during your free trial.  The main ones include Kubernetes, Big Data, Ravello (for migrating other types of databases to Oracle), Oracle Management Cloud (OMC), IOT (Internet of Things – not listed), and Autonomous JSON.

Auto DB 3
Figure 3: Some additional free tools to try during your 30-day trial

Once you log in,  Oracle takes you to the Get Started Screen.  Notice that if you want to continue with the free version, this also tells you which products are Always Free Eligible.  You can also select these items from the “hamburger icon,” the three lines in the upper left corner of Figure 4.

Auto DB 4
Figure 4: Get started Screen

Creating an Autonomous Database

Let’s create an Autonomous Transaction Processing (ATP) Database. Click on the “Create an ATP Database” box in Figure 4. Notice the choices that come up in Figure 5 for ATP (Autonomous Transaction Processing), ADW (Autonomous Data Warehouse), and AJD (Autonomous JSON Database). In this case, we will go ahead with the “transaction Processing” option.

Auto DB 5
Figure 5: Creating an ATP database

Once the request is submitted, the provisioning of the ATP database begins (Figure 6). In 2 ½ minutes, the ATP database was provisioned and ready for use (Figure 7).

Auto DB 6
Figure 6: Provisioning an ATP database
Auto DB 7
Figure 7: The ATP database is available

Post provisioning, one can easily scale the database up or down (CPU or DB Size) with a few mouse clicks (Figure 8). If we wish, the oracle cloud will even take care of upgrading the database to 19c at the appropriate time (Figure 9). Finally, Figure 10 is confirming that the 19c ADW database is available & ready for use.

Auto DB 8
Figure 8: Scaling databases up or down
Auto DB 9
Figure 9: Automated upgrade to 19c
Auto DB 10
Figure 10: DW database ready for use

Building an Autonomous JSON Database (AJD) is also a very similar process, select the AJD option available once we click on the Hamburger icon in the top left corner (Figure 11).  Provisioning an AJD took about 5-7 minutes. (tried it twice).

Auto DB 11
Figure 11: Creating an Autonomous JSON Database

Note: JSON became the defacto developer’s choice (over XML) largely due to its inherent simplicity and ease of use.

Autonomous Database & Machine Learning

I believe that leveraging the Autonomous Database for Machine Learning is the best use of all!  It makes it easy to use SQL & PL/SQL to leverage built-in algorithms that Oracle’s massive AI, Machine Learning, and Data Science team has put together over the past decade-plus. Figure 12 shows how to go from the Service Console to Development (includes: SQL, APEX, and Machine Learning).

Auto DB 12
Figure 12: Accessing machine Learning Capabilities for ATP databases

Figure 13 shows how to get started, run SQL, or look at some great examples templates made available by Oracle (Figure 14).

Auto DB 13
Figure 13: Access Machine Learning SQL, Notebooks & Examples
Figure 14: ML Examples provided by Oracle

But, the number of algorithms and business applications are even more numerous (see Figure 15).

Auto DB 15
Figure 15: Algorithms for Machine Learning Oracle provides & other features worth leveraging


We’ve covered a lot in this Autonomous Database white paper.  We started with why you want to use it, your new role if you’re the DBA, how to create it (ATP, ADW, AJD) with a 30-day free trial, how to leverage it for Machine Learning, and finally the benefits of the Exadata.  When you look to migrate to 19c, implement ATP, ADW, or AJD; remember to give Viscosity a call to help.


  • Oracle 19c/21c Documentation
  • Oracle12c Release 2 Performance Tuning Tips & Techniques; Richard J. Niemiec; Oracle Press
  • viscosityna.com, www.ioug.org, www.oracle.com, en.wikipedia.org, www.amazon.com, www.rolta.com, computerweekly.com, www.tusc.com, TechTarget, Pepper the Robot & technet.oracle.com
  • Maria Colgan ADWC presentation, George Lumpkin ADWC introduction, Yasin Baska ADWC step-by-step guide, Information Week, Gartner, Computerworld.
  • All companies and product names are trademarks or registered trademarks of the respective owners
  • Rich Niemiec ©2021. This document cannot be reproduced without expressed written consent from Rich Niemiec or Viscosity NA, but may be reproduced or copied for article, presentation and conference use.
  • Neither Viscosity nor the author guarantee this document to be error-free. Please provide comments/questions to [email protected][email protected]; I am always looking to improve!

[1] KuppingerCole Report – Leadership Compass – Enterprise Databases in the cloud- https://www.oracle.com/database/solutions/kuppingercole-database-compass/

[2] https://searchoracle.techtarget.com/feature/Oracle-sees-Autonomous-Database-changing-DBA-roles-for-the-good

About the Author

Rich Niemiec

Rich Niemiec is the current Chief Innovation Officer of Viscosity North America. He is an Oracle ACE Director, a world-renowned IT expert, and was a co-founder and the CEO of TUSC, a Chicago-based systems integrator of Oracle-based business solutions started in 1988. TUSC was the Oracle Partner of the Year in 2002, 2004, 2007, 2008, 2010, & 2011 (Rolta TUSC). Rich is the past President of the International Oracle Users Group (IOUG) and the current President of the Midwest Oracle Users Group (MOUG).  Rich is in the Chicago & E&Y National Entrepreneur Hall of Fame.

Oracle Autonomous Database: An Introduction