At CloudWorld today, Oracle announced additional capability on the road to self-driving technology stacks, the Oracle Cloud Platform Autonomous Services. 




Important enough to dissect the press release in our customary style, it can be found here:

Oracle President of Product Development Thomas Kurian demonstrated the latest advances in Oracle Cloud Platform, expanding its Oracle Cloud Platform Autonomous Services beyond the Oracle Autonomous Database, to make all Oracle Cloud Platform services self-driving, self-securing and self-repairing. With its enhanced suite of autonomous Cloud Platform services, Oracle is setting a new industry standard for autonomous cloud capabilities. Oracle is applying AI and machine learning to its entire next-generation Cloud Platform services to help customers lower cost, reduce risk, accelerate innovation, and get predictive insights.
MyPOV – When Ellison announced the self-autonomous database at Oracle OpenWorld in fall 2017, something was missing: The application of the same principles to the overall technology stack. After all – what is an autonomous database good for, when it gets compromised by network security issues that do not have the benefits of autonomous capabilities. So, this is a key follow up announcement.

As organizations focus on delivering innovation fast, they want a secure set of comprehensive, integrated cloud services to build new applications and run their most demanding enterprise workloads. Only Oracle's cloud services can automate key operational functions like tuning, patching, backups and upgrades while running to deliver maximum performance, high availability, and secure enterprise IT systems. In addition, to accelerate innovation and smarter decision making, Oracle Cloud Platform is incorporating additional autonomous capabilities specific to application development, mobile and bots, app and data integration, analytics, security and management.
MyPOV – Good description. Usual 'only Oracle' claims, that others will be able to contest, taking away credit from the overall holistic approach by Oracle that is truly unique. Other vendors focus on single areas like e.g. security, server access, DevOps etc.

"The future of tomorrow's successful enterprise IT organization is in full end-to-end automation," said Kurian. "At Oracle, we are making this a reality. We are weaving autonomous capabilities into the fabric of our cloud to help customers safeguard their systems, drive innovation faster, and deliver the ultimate competitive advantage with smarter real-time decisions."
MyPOV – Good quote from Kurian about what Oracle plans to do / is doing. The key point is the benefit that mundane and routine tasks are going away, freeing up resources for other priorities.

Oracle's autonomous capabilities are integral to the entire Oracle Cloud Platform, including the world's first autonomous database unveiled at Oracle OpenWorld. The Oracle Autonomous Database uses advanced AI and machine learning to eliminate human labor, human error and manual tuning delivering unprecedented availability, high performance and security at a much lower cost. Multiple autonomous database services, each tuned to a specific workload, will be available in 2018, including Oracle Autonomous Data Warehouse Cloud Service for analytics, Oracle Autonomous Database OLTP for transactional and mixed workloads, and Oracle Autonomous NoSQL Database for fast, massive-scale reads and writes.
MyPOV – Good summary reaching back to OpenWorld, but also a reminder that the autonomous database is still all about future capabilities to be shipped in 2018.

In addition to the Oracle Autonomous Database, Oracle Cloud Platform autonomous capabilities for application development, mobile and bots, integration, analytics, security and system management, are scheduled to be available in the first half of calendar year 2018. Oracle Cloud Platform services all share foundational autonomous capabilities including:
MyPOV – Important information here – all the below capabilities seem to be catching up to the database announcement, which means that Oracle likely has held back on the announcement and building capabilities in quiet… notice though that none capabilities are explicitly mentioned. 

• Self-Driving to Lower Costs and Increase Productivity: Eliminate human labor to provision, secure, monitor, backup, recover and troubleshoot. Automatically upgrade and patch itself while running. Instantly grow and shrink compute or storage without downtime.

• Self-Securing to Lower Risk: Protect from external attacks and malicious internal users. Automatically apply security updates while running to protect against cyberattacks, and automatically encrypt all data.

• Self-Repairing for Higher Availability: Provide automated protection from all planned and unplanned downtime with up to 99.995 percent availability, resulting in less than 2.5 minutes of downtime per month including planned maintenance.

MyPOV – Good summary of the benefits of a self-driving platform – or as Oracle calls it an autonomous platform. The good news for customers here is that it's a win / win for them as providers – like Oracle – try to improve availability and increase SLAs.

Examples of additional autonomous capabilities being added to functional areas across the rest of the Oracle Cloud Platform include:

Application Development

• Automated artifact discovery, dependency management, and policy-based dependency updates increasing code quality and developer productivity

• Automated identification and remediation of security issues throughout the CI/CD pipeline significantly reducing security risks

• Automated code generation with single button deployment enabling rapid application development even by line of business users

MyPOV – Increasing developer productivity and automating the code production pipeline is key for enterprises, as they become software companies and need to build more software faster.

Mobile and Bots

• Self-learning chatbots observing interaction patterns and preferences to automate frequently performed end-user actions freeing up time for higher productivity tasks

• Unsupervised, smart bots using machine learning to learn from user conversations enabling fluid, contextual conversations

• Automated caching of API calls to the nearest data center in real time for lowest latency responses based on end user location

MyPOV – Voice is the new UI was a slogan some years ago, and the underlying benefits are still strong, it's the providers of platforms who have made it hard for enterprises to build them – and then to maintain and updated them. More self-driving bot capabilities are a good move by Oracle.

Application and Data Integration

• Self-defining integrations automate business processes across different SaaS and on-premises apps

• Self-defining data flows with automated data lake and data prep pipeline creation for ingesting data (streaming and batch)

MyPOV - Self Driving application and data integration are a no brainer for vendors in this space, and several announcements have been made, good to see Oracle joining the trend.


• Automated data discovery and preparation

• Automated analysis for key findings along with visualization and narration delivering quicker real time insights

MyPOV – Same as for data integration, one can only hope that in the near-term future an expensive, white collar worker does not have to spend time to chart a timeline and business data in tool. It's time to see this capability in action.

Security and Management

• Machine learning-driven user and entity behavior analytics to automatically isolate and eliminate suspicious and malicious users

• Preventative controls to intercept data leaks across structured and unstructured data repositories

• Unified data repository across log, performance, user experience and configuration data with applied AI/ML, eliminating need to set and manage performance and security monitoring "metadata" such as thresholds, server topology, and configuration drift

MyPOV – The traditional area where most of the activity of vendors, good for Oracle customers to see Oracle catching up here.

Oracle today also demonstrated a single Oracle Digital Assistant for users to interact across Oracle's SaaS and PaaS services including analytics. Oracle Digital Assistant provides centralized connection for the user to converse across the user's CRM, ERP, HCM, custom applications and business intelligence data and uses AI to intelligently correlate data and automate user behavior. Oracle Digital Assistant capabilities include:

• Integration to speech-based devices like Amazon Echo (Alexa), Apple Siri, Google Home and Speech, Harman Kardon (Cortana), and Microsoft Cortana

• Deep neural net based machine learning algorithms to process the message from the voice based devices to understand end user input and take action

• Intelligent routing to the Bot with the knowledge to process the end user input

• Deep insights into user behavior, context, preferences and routines that is used by the Oracle Digital Assistant to self-learn to recommend and automate across all data sets on behalf of the user

MyPOV – This maybe the more important announcement. The ability to be build bots and use all the leading speech recognition platforms is important for enterprises. Even more interesting (and important) is the reference for neural network support. More details are needed though – what type of neural network and where do they run. Does it have deep learning ability (because that is what self-driving applied to neural network means).


Overall MyPOV

Oracle could not stop with the autonomous database, the whole autonomous stack is needed, with forays into PaaS, changing the SDLC fundamentally. That was a missing part on the vision and it is good to see Oracle making up with this announcement at Oracle Cloud World. Now Oracle has to deliver in 2018, we will see how much will happen in this FY (ending in May).

More important is the assistant announcement – as it refers to a neural network – void the details though. All the autonomous capabilities need to be powered by a neural network, a deep learning one ideally (as it would not be autonomous otherwise) and exposing it in assistants is a good start.

On the concern side, Oracle that just had its stack together, has to do back to the drawing board and bolt on machine learning capabilities to realize the vision of a self-driving stack as well as fundamentally changing how software is created, integrated, and finally how data is moved, interfaced and analyzed. It's a great test of the design principles of the Oracle stack – and a validation if it is really as API driven as Oracle has said in the past. Speed of Oracle providing these autonomous features will be the proof… the timelines are aggressive – making me mildly optimistic.

But for now, exciting times. Oracle came late to cloud, and who comes late must have some serious point of attraction to get attention of the party goers. Self-driving or autonomous as Oracle calls it definitively has that – so well done. Remarkably the usual competitors have not yet matched the Oracle vision. But it's early in the year and I expect similar offerings from all infrastructure and platform players to come out later this year. Stay tuned, exciting times.