Oracle Bolsters Cloud Services, Automates Security

eWEEK NEW-PRODUCT ANALYSIS: At its annual OpenWorld conference, the company introduced Autonomous Linux, additions to its partner ecosystem and cloud region accessibility, more options for tighter security, improvements to virtual infrastructure and numerous ways to infuse intelligence into systems.


SAN FRANCISCO—If Oracle didn't have use of the terms “fastest ever,” “autonomous,” “acceleration” and “flexible,” co-founder and Chief Technical Officer Larry Ellison wouldn't be able to describe anything his company creates.

As each generation of databases, connective middleware, business-critical applications and new cloud services takes its turn at bat and then either gets a hit or strikes out and heads for the dugout, the venerable company nonetheless keeps populating its annual Oracle OpenWorld conference with plenty of news to discuss. This year is no exception.

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The Redwood Shores, Calif.-based database and business software maker is still in the early stages of imploring its many institutional customers to move as much of their Oracle systems as they can to the cloud—even though many of them have invested multiple millions of dollars into Oracle database and server hardware over lots of years. There is still a lot of convincing to do in order for Oracle to reach its goals, but the word on the street is that progress is being made.

On Sept. 16, the company introduced something called Autonomous Linux, additions to its already impressive partner ecosystem and cloud region accessibility, more options for tighter security, improvements to virtual infrastructure and numerous ways to infuse intelligence into systems to make them easier to use and more reliable in processes.

Here are the key new-product offerings announced on Day 1 of OOW 2019 here.

Autonomous Linux

Oracle launched Autonomous Linux, which combines a cloud-optimized virtual machine image with a native cloud service called Oracle OS Management Service (OSMS) to help ensure higher reliability, security and more operational efficiency at the lowest cost. Autonomous Linux is an Oracle Linux-based image that executes automated patch management updates and tuning. It incorporates Oracle Ksplice, which updates components and security patches without a reboot.

Oracle OS Management Service complements Autonomous Linux instances with automated patch management, security and compliance reporting and configuration management.

Flexible Infrastructure

Oracle believes its core services should be fully elastic to accommodate changing workload requirements. To enable this, the company is launching flexible models for compute and storage. The elements include:

Oracle Cloud Infrastructure Next-Generation Compute Platform:

  • Custom instances with fully flexible compute core and memory sizing;
  • Scale cores up and down non-disruptively; and
  • Scale memory up non-disruptively and down with a restart

Oracle Cloud Infrastructure Next-Generation Storage Platform:

  • Flexible storage capacity and performance
  • Pay for massive performance or optimize for cost
  • Scales storage capacity and performance up or down, non-disruptively

Free Tier: Free Oracle Cloud Services for Everyone

The company launched a new package called Always Free services, to help developers, educators and IT professionals try services and build applications on Oracle Cloud. This comprises of a set of core resources, including two Micro compute instances, 100GB of block storage, 10GB each of object and archive storage, and two Autonomous Database instances. It also includes limited usage of APEX, SQL Developer, Monitoring, Notifications and Email Delivery services that are available at no charge for an unlimited amount of time. It's all complemented by the company's existing Free Trial program, which offers a broader set of services free for 30 days.

New Services in Cloud Data Platform

Oracle announced a host of new cloud data services to augment its portfolio of structured and unstructured data management tools, including:

  • Data Science: a service for building, training, deploying and managing machine learning models
  • Data Flow: a serverless Apache Spark service for data processing at scale
  • Data Catalog: a catalog service to inventory and govern data assets for easy discovery and access by other services
  • Database Migration: a migration service to easily bring a wide range of databases into Oracle Cloud
  • Data Integration: a data lifecycle service to extract, transform and load data into data lakes and Oracle Autonomous Database
  • Oracle MySQL service: a brand-new flexible and scalable MySQL database service
  • Oracle MySQL Analytics Service: an extreme performance real-time analytics service with in-memory capabilities that can be deployed in Oracle Cloud and on-premises
  • Oracle Big Data Service: a Cloudera-based service for big data exploration

Simplifying, Automating Cloud Security

Oracle announced what it describes as a new approach to cloud security. Customers of Oracle Cloud won’t bear the burden of designing secure architectures from scratch and will be better protected from misconfigurations than in other cloud environments, the company claimed. These new services include:

  • Oracle Maximum Security Zones: This new service provides a combination of automated preventative and detective means to enforce security controls and practices to customer-defined configurations of Oracle Cloud resources. Customers effectively lock down resources to known secure configurations, automatically prevent configuration changes, and continuously monitor and block anomalous activities.
  • Oracle Cloud Guard: This new service continuously works to analyze data, detect threats and misconfigurations automatically, and then hunt down and kill those security threats without requiring human oversight.
  • Oracle Data Safe: A unified control center for automating database security and improving visibility into security issues with data, users and configuration. Oracle Data Safe provides vital security controls, including monitoring database activity, discovering sensitive data and masking databases to minimize or eliminate security risk. Available now on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, Oracle Data Safe is included with all Oracle Database Cloud services.

Ecosystem: Offering Major New Choices for Customers and Partners

As part of its philosophy of building an open cloud to enable customers to use the tools and software of their choice, Oracle has been active on the partnership front. It has forged new alliances with leading vendors that make the cloud platform more flexible and give customers the freedom to use what they want, without sacrifices in compatibility.

It also helps the company compete against the Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azures and Google Cloud Platforms of the world in improving cloud-service market share. Oracle is trying to break into the world's top 5 cloud-service providers.

Here are the highlights:

  • Expansion of Oracle and Microsoft Partnership: In the next few quarters, Oracle will be globally expanding the interconnect between Oracle Cloud and Microsoft Azure to include U.S. West, Asia and Europe.
  • Cloud Marketplace Unified Billing: Oracle enabled direct billing for third-party software in its cloud marketplace, in which customers can use Oracle Universal Cloud Credits to purchase solutions across a wide and expanding list of partners.

Accelerated Global Expansion of Cloud Regions

Oracle plans to open an average of one new cloud region every 23 days over the next 15 months, adding 20 additional regions (17 commercial and three government), which will bring the global footprint to 36 total regions. Eleven countries or jurisdictions will have region pairs that facilitate enterprise-class, multi-region, disaster recovery strategies to better support those customers who want to store their data in country or in region.

You can find the list of new regions here.

Oracle Open World 2019 continues through Thursday, Sept. 19.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 15 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...