Memoirs of an Oracle DBA and His Journey to the Autonomous CloudNabil Nawaz
I remember when I started my Information Technology career in 1997. I was fortunate for my first role as an Oracle Database Administrator at a large telecommunications company. The first version of the Oracle Database I worked on was version 7.1.6. Over the first few weeks on the job I read manuals such as the Oracle Concepts guide and the Oracle Server Administrator guide, both of which covered a wide array of topics for the Oracle Database.
We have come a long way since the late ’90s and almost everything I did back then was with the command line tools such as vi and srvmgrl, srvmgrl was used to shut down and startup the database along with SQL *Plus. I still use vi and SQL *Plus today and have learned over time to adopt the graphical user interface based tools such as Oracle Enterprise Manager(OEM), SQL Developer and most recently the Web-Based Oracle CLoud Interface to access the variety of cloud services that Oracle Corporation offers. We used to performance tune SQL using the rule-based optimizer before the release of the cost-based optimizer, since then gathering statistics has become the norm. Having indexes was an absolute must to speed up queries whereas today with Oracle Engineered systems creating an index may not always be needed. Database backups were done by putting a tablespace in backup mode and then ending backup mode. Today almost everyone uses RMAN to back up their database which can be done in parallel directly to the Oracle Cloud.
Since the Oracle Database was released, there have been numerous advancements in technology. These include backups, high availability, performance, replication, virtualization, engineered systems, Oracle Cloud and so on. Oracle just keeps on innovating and improving.
Oracle recently introduced the Autonomous Database, a revolutionary technology that uses artificial intelligence and machine learning, this really is a major transformational game changer. Just imagine you can now provision a database with a few simple inputs and your database is ready to use within a matter of seconds! This new service is based on Exadata technology using Oracle version 18c in the cloud.
The days spending time on the various administrative tasks are now a thing of the past. The Autonomous Database can now provide automated security setup, self-monitoring, backup and recovery setup, and even patch and self-tune databases with virtually minimal downtime. There is also an option of increased guaranteed availability from 99.95% to 99.995% using an automatically built standby database for disaster recovery purposes. No need to worry about setting up database initialization parameters anymore, everything is automatically setup using best practices. The Autonomous Database automatically tunes itself using machine learning algorithms including automatically creating any optimizer statistics needed to improve SQL. Users can simply load their data and run SQL without worrying about creating and tuning their database. This new service also provides a cool feature to provide online elastic CPU & Storage scaling up or down on demand based on the workload, meaning you only pay for what you use. Please note everything is secured by default with no extra effort from the DBA.
In conclusion, we have seen many changes in the Oracle Database over the last 20+ years. As we look ahead towards the future we should embrace the new changes coming ahead. I would highly recommend customers to consider the Oracle Autonomous Database Cloud Service that provides a self-driving, self-healing and self-securing platform that can automatically optimize itself. The new autonomous database service can greatly help reduce DBA labor and free up their time to help innovate the business. I am excited for this new future generation of the Oracle database and the shift in DBA responsibilities.