M&E Daily

Oracle’s Ellison: Company’s Autonomous Database Gives it Edge Over AI Rivals

Several companies, including Google, have all invested heavily in artificial intelligence (AI), just like Oracle. But one huge differentiating factor that separates Oracle from its AI rivals is that it’s the only with its own true database, according to Larry Ellison, its chairman and CTO.

“Google’s really good at machine learning, I think,” Ellison said during a financial analyst meeting that was webcast from its OpenWorld conference in San Francisco Oct. 5. He added: “Amazon’s really good at machine learning. Tesla’s really good at machine learning. There are a lot of people that are really good at machine learning.”

But the “problem” for those other companies is simple, he said: “They don’t have a database to automate.” Instead, Oracle’s rivals have just “picked up a chunk of open-source stuff that is, I think, 20 years out of date,” he argued, calling rival systems “primitive and slow.”

Automating security patching while a database is still running is hugely important, he said, noting that’s something the Oracle Autonomous Database Cloud provides, but rival offerings don’t.

Oracle used its OpenWorld conference that kicked off Oct. 1 to introduce the industry’s first autonomous database cloud, as well as expanded artificial intelligence (AI) offerings and an Oracle Blockchain Cloud Service.

The Oracle Autonomous Database Cloud “eliminates the human labor associated with tuning, patching, updating and maintaining” the database and includes capabilities that the company said include self-driving functionality, providing continuous adaptive performance tuning based on machine learning, automatically upgrading and patching itself while running, and automatically applying security updates while running to protect against cyberattacks.

Oracle’s “primary concern” today is “preserving our majority market share in the database business,” Ellison went on to tell analysts Oct. 5. The company would like to increase “our market share at a higher rate than we’re currently increasing it at,” he conceded. Although Oracle’s database business “continues to grow, we think it should be growing much faster,” he said, noting his company accounts for “more than half of the market” today, but would like to have an even larger share.

Ellison also called Oracle “the big winner” in Software as a Service (SaaS), predicting it will be tough for any rival to beat it in enterprise SaaS, which he called a “phenomenal business with phenomenal margins” and one that’s “much better than the on-premise business … because you’re adding much more value.” Oracle has been the top seller of SaaS applications globally in revenue for the past two years and will achieve that once again this year, he predicted.

He also stressed Oracle’s strength in database security, citing its long history in the sector and saying: “We think the vast majority of our customers will be more comfortable and actually feel safer if someone else is protecting [their] data against theft as opposed to them.”