Analysis: Oracle says autonomy now, AI with everything by 2020
Oracle CEO Mark Hurd

Analysis: Oracle says autonomy now, AI with everything by 2020

Oracle is automating and AI-enables its cloud platform. But is AI simply the new direct debit? Chris Middleton reports.

Oracle has announced that it is rolling out AI-based automation across its Platform as a Service (PaaS) cloud offerings.

The enterprise vendor says that the new machine-learning-based additions will enable its cloud platform and developer applications to self-optimise, maintain, update, and patch.

The move follows the launch of its ‘self-driving’ database last year, and extends Oracle’s autonomous capabilities across much of its cloud product line.

Cutting the drudge

Oracle’s stated aim is to reduce customer costs while enabling in-house IT teams to refocus on adding value to the business – in traditional ‘cloud hype’ style.

“We want to provide autonomous capabilities to eliminate the human labour associated with provisioning, upgrades, backup, recovery, and troubleshooting,” said Amit Zavery, executive VP of product development for Oracle Cloud.

A core challenge with PaaS is that “a lot of patching doesn’t happen automatically and a lot of systems don’t get upgraded regularly,” he added.

Also included in the product refresh are tools to enable developers to add chatbots to applications more easily, with a library of use cases that can be customised.

“Once a user defines the kinds of things he wants to integrate, we can take over connecting systems, doing the mapping, and providing endpoint connectivity,” said Zavery.

Securing the automated cloud

New security tools also use machine learning, said Oracle, and analyse user behaviour patterns to intercept data leaks.

This is in line with the new security trend of behaviour modelling. This is essential in large IoT applications, for example, where it may be impossible to secure a range of smart devices independently.

“The future of tomorrow’s successful enterprise IT organisation is in full end-to-end automation,” said Zavery.

“We are weaving autonomous capabilities into the fabric of our cloud to help customers safeguard their systems, drive innovation, and deliver the ultimate competitive advantage.”

Oracle also announced that it is opening 12 new data centres worldwide.

Another big bet on AI

Oracle is making a big bet on machine learning and autonomy in the same way that IBM has refocused its business on cognitive services and Microsoft is putting AI centre stage.

Oracle CEO Mark Hurd emphasised the point on Monday when he predicted that more than half of all enterprise data will be managed autonomously by 2020. “AI will become integrated into everything. It’s not a question of if, but when,” he added. “This has everything to do with macroeconomics, business model strategy, and technology,” he said.

In other words, business innovation and agility will be essential if and when traditional sources of growth dry up.

Which brings us to Oracle itself…

Internet of Business says

While its on-premise revenues remain five times higher than those of its cloud portfolio, Oracle’s traditional growth in on-premise tech has hit a plateau. However, its quarterly cloud revenues are up 44 per cent year on year.

So Oracle itself is being forced to get smart. After 10 years of Oracle supremo Larry Ellison slamming the cloud as vapourware, the all-too-public u-turn is complete. In traditional Oracle style, it has simply branded its logo on the cloud and pretended the previous decade was a dream.

But buyer beware. When it comes to the new mantra of ‘AI with everything’, all enterprise buyers of platform, infrastructure, and software services should consider this. As automation grows, transparency and trust will become critical issues, regardless of who the vendor might be.

When any services can simply upgrade themselves or add new features autonomously, who is approving any extra costs and any new vendor revenue streams? In these circumstances, AI could simply become the new direct debit, with all the associated problems that may ensue.

There’s no suggestion that any vendor would use AI to print money for themselves; merely that customers should manage their deals carefully and keep an eye on Ts & Cs.

Read more: Police need AI to help with surge in evidential data

Read more: An AI for an eye: DeepMind focuses on eye disease diagnosis


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