Oracle OpenWorld 2016: The Top 3 Takeaways

Oracle World

Last week’s Oracle OpenWorld was the year’s biggest gathering of people that care about databases, which should be almost everyone who runs nearly any application. Bottom line: If they were here, they had a database. The five-day event took over San Francisco’s Moscone Center and attracted nearly 60,000 attendees. From over 2,000 educational sessions, hundreds of demos and hands-on labs, and over 400 exhibitions, there is no shortage of takeaways to discuss.

For those who were unable to attend the event (or even those that were able to attend), below are some key trends that struck a chord:

1. Oracle Goes Head To Head Against Amazon For Cloud Leadership

If we learned anything this week from Larry Ellison, it’s that Oracle is going to battle with Amazon for cloud infrastructure as a service. During his Sunday keynote address, Ellison declared that Amazon’s “lead is over” and that they are about to get some “serious competition going forward.” This is not the first nor will it likely be the last time the Oracle chairman takes aim at big competitors; however as Amazon Web Services is the dominant cloud infrastructure business, it will be interesting to see how this all plays out. Oracle’s acquisitions and tech initiatives into the cloud certainly help the company’s momentum, but they’ve got a long road ahead to beat out Amazon.

2. Rise Of Machine Learning

There was also an emphasis on democratisation of machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI). The CEO of InfoSys, Dr. Vishal Sikka, addressed the topic of AI in great depth during his keynote on Tuesday afternoon. We’ve seen machine learning evolve from IBM Watson a few years ago to most recently with Salesforce and Oracle. Coming off the heels of Salesforce’s Einstein, Oracle announced an AI strategy that allows enterprise cloud applications to learn as they gather new data.

Currently there have only been few big successes with machine learning and AI to date. This is due in large part to companies trying to figure out how to get the true value out of this new technology. While there will be false starts and initial mishaps companies will face while trying to crack the code, given the current number of organisations turning to AI and machine learning, we are likely to see more successes in the future. This will help bring innovations faster to market, especially from a wide range of industries.

3. Database Monitoring Moving To The Cloud

As database monitoring is decades behind, a big trend I see is database monitoring moving to the cloud. While database technology has been moving at a shockingly fast pace with the evolution from traditional SQL databases to Open Source, NoSQL, and cloud-native databases, there is a problem.

The problem is that database administrators are still trying to monitor and manage the new world of databases with 90’s era tools. While core database technology has continued to sprint forward, database monitoring and management technology is decades behind. Today’s database monitoring capabilities are still focused on an on-prem, bare metal, traditional SQL world, and that doesn’t come close to matching customer’s real world environments.

Outside of database monitoring, the world of application monitoring saw a major shift with features introduced by platforms such as New Relic and AppDynamics. The new move towards SaaS-based application monitoring has allowed companies to be more nimble, ship more often, and resolve issues sooner. While this has been a great step forward for performance monitoring, the data layer has been neglected. If there’s anything as important as making sure an app is running, it’s making sure the data underneath it is available as well.

From Oracle vs. Amazon to machine learning to database monitoring in the cloud, these are just a few of the many highlights that come to mind when I reflect on the whirlwind week. What were your takeaways from the event?

Mike Kelly

Mike Kelly is CTO at Blue Medora.