Oracle Gen 2 CI & Autonomous Database – Saving Your CEO

Cutting through all the marketing jargon, Oracle’s go-to-market approach for their Generation 2 Cloud Infrastructure and Autonomous Database is all about covering your CEO’s back.  I must admit, it was very refreshing to hear Larry Ellison say this in slightly different words during Oracle’s Q4 earnings call.

When asked about what is going on in the infrastructure software market and why Oracle outperformed other infrastructure companies in Q4 – having their best constant currency growth rate in years — Oracle’s response was direct and enlightening.  Mark Hurd stated that the difference is that Oracle has hot new products, such as Autonomous Database, but Larry Ellison stole the show with a strong sales pitch by opening:

“How would you like to outsource the security detection and patching responsibilities to somebody who does this for a living?  So, you never have to read the name of your company above the fold on the front page, talking about how much data you just lost.”

In today’s world of data breaches routinely making the headlines and the resulting fall from grace of company CEOs, this is a very compelling message.  Expect to hear something similar from your Oracle account executive.  You may even want to prepare your senior leadership for such messaging.  But can Oracle deliver on this promise?  Let’s take a look at what Oracle is claiming about its Generation 2 Cloud Infrastructure and Autonomous Database.

Generation 2 Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI2)

Oracle built OCI2 with data security strictly in mind.  Essentially, there are two computers — one computer that only customers have access to for customer data, and one cloud control computer for the Oracle code that only Oracle has access to.  This segmentation creates a barrier that prevents a breach into the Oracle code from also becoming a breach into customer data, and vice versa.

Additionally, there are various customer zones that create many additional barriers within the computers housing the customer data and can keep any security threats isolated, assuming a threat is able to penetrate the cloud perimeter protection that Oracle has created.  Having all these layers and barriers is one means of enhancing security.

Oracle has also enhanced security threat detection and resolution by developing AI robots that constantly monitor for security threats and are able to combat the speed of the robots hackers use.  In the past, you had people monitoring security threats from robot hackers.  This now levels the playing field.

Autonomous Database

The Autonomous Database is also built for security by enabling patches immediately while running, with no downtime.  This capability ensures customers have the latest database patches immediately deployed, thereby maximizing security.  Before this, customers would have to manually deploy database patches during scheduled downtime to avoid impacting workloads. This was a much more time-consuming process which could take weeks or even months for some companies to deploy, thereby creating a security threat exposure for an extended period of time.  The Autonomous Database eliminates this risk and ensures that the security of a customer’s database is continuously up to date.  It reasons that the lesser time a security vulnerability exists, there is a reduced likelihood it can be exploited resulting in a data breach.

It’s also worth noting that in addition to these enhanced security features, which Oracle says nobody else in the market can currently provide, Oracle claims that customers will realize faster processing capabilities and lower costs.  During OpenWorld 2018, Larry Ellison even stated that running Oracle on Oracle is 3 times faster and half the cost than running Oracle on AWS.

What Does this Mean for Current and Potential New Oracle Customers?

First, customers will need to validate these claims for themselves, which many appear to be doing as Oracle has announced thousands of free customer trials over the past year.  But the real proof will come at some point in the future when there is enough market penetration and customer adoption to analyze a substantial amount of statistical data.  If Oracle’s claims are indeed true, and customers can operate their businesses more securely with greater performance and at a lesser cost, then this can be a game-changer for Oracle.

In today’s business climate, few things concern CEOs and boards of directors more than security breaches, as evidenced by the ouster of numerous executives at organizations that have experienced them.  This is an issue that keeps CEOs up at night, which is what makes Larry Ellison’s sales pitch so compelling, provided Oracle can deliver on its claims.

For organizations who are evaluating and seriously considering OCI2 and Autonomous Database, your susceptibility of entering into a poor contract is significantly heightened by the fact that executives are prone to making quick decisions.  They sometimes decide without consideration of the ancillary consequences of entering into a poor contract with a high annual expense that will continue to grow exponentially into the future.  The good news is that your negotiation leverage will never be higher than your first cloud deal with Oracle, provided your executives do not mistakenly give it away.

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