SAN FRANCISCO — Oracle CTO Larry Ellison teased a “highly automated” security technology that will integrate with Oracle’s new fully autonomous database during his Sunday night keynote at Oracle OpenWorld 2017.
“The biggest threat in cybersecurity is data theft,” he said. “And the safest place to store your data is on an autonomous Oracle database.”
The security product — which Ellison promised to reveal more details about in his Tuesday keynote — will work with the database to prevent data theft. He said that automation, which reduces human error, will play a key role in both technologies.
“We do everything we possibly can to avoid human intervention,” Ellison said. “It’s our computers versus their computers in cyber warfare. And we’re going to have to have a lot more automation if we’re going to defend our data.”
While the security system will only be partially automated, compared to the fully autonomous database, “make no mistake: we are headed toward full autonomy in cybersecurity as well,” Ellison said.
Oracle first announced the fancy new database during its first quarter 2018 earnings call last month. “Based on machine learning, this new version of Oracle is a totally automated, self-driving system that does not require a human being either to manage the database or tune the database,” Ellison said on the conference call. He added that it is better and cheaper than Amazon Web Services’ database.
During the keynote, Ellison said the Oracle 18c database will be available for warehousing applications in December. The online transaction processing (OLTP) version will ship in June 2018.
The database will run on Oracle’s bare metal cloud infrastructure. The company guarantees less than 30 minutes per year of planned or unplanned downtime. And it’s “truly elastic in its use of computer resources,” Ellison said, adding that it can allocate more processors as needed.
“I know it’s called the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud, but it’s just not elastic,” Ellison said. “In other words, Amazon’s database Redshift cannot automatically increase the number of processors for a bigger workload and then decrease the number of processors.”
The database debut at Oracle OpenWorld was expected. The security announcement, however, was a surprise.
Automated Security System
The new technology is designed to detect threats when they first occur and then direct the database to automatically remediate the problem while the database is running, Ellison said.
“The cybersecurity system identifies a threat, and then it says ‘OK, we need to combat this threat.’ It might mean we have to patch the database, and the database has to be able to immediately patch itself, not wait for a human being to schedule downtime in a month or two. We have to automate our cyber defenses and be able to defend yourself without having to take all your computer systems offline or shut down your database.”
The security system and automated database share the same underlying technology, Ellison added. “And that technology is every bit as revolutionary as the Internet itself and it’s called machine learning.”
Right on cue, Ellison’s presentation, seemingly activated by a hand-held clicker, skipped ahead. He had to ask an assistant to move the slides back.
“All my button does is notify a human being,” he joked. “It’s not automation at all. It’s fake automation. If it was real automation, that wouldn’t happen.”
A human, not a machine, advanced the slides for the rest of Ellison’s talk.