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“DBAs will be fired.. ? It’s the end of DBAs because of the Autonomous Databases..? What will be impact on DBA jobs due to Oracle 18c release?

Obviously not.. believe it or not.. now the DBAs will have more important role in Enterprises.

I have +17 years as Oracle DBA and I could tell you how this profession have been evolving, having a tendency of:

  • More elaborated and advanced features.. that’s the essence of every new release..
  • More automated tasks released by release.. the DBAs and Enterprises must realise real advantages to perform early or convenient upgrades before the “Non support of Release” force them to do it..
  • and above all.. how to become DBA each day is even more complex than before.. and who will be affected by this.. this is the main point I want to focus in this short article.

Oracle Database 18c the next generation of the industry-leading database.

Oracle introduces the world’s first autonomous database cloud. Oracle Autonomous Database Cloud eliminates complexity, human error, and manual management, helping to ensure higher reliability, security, and more operational efficiency at the lowest cost.

At the previous paragraph I have highlighted the sentences “database cloud” & “Oracle Autonomous Database Cloud“, it means.. when we are talking about Cloud Databases, Oracle Autonomous Database Cloud is just another different kind of Cloud database service, so, in this article we will call it simply as “Cloud Databases”.

Autonomous Databases/Cloud Databases.. is a subject that could be analyzed from different points of views. Most of articles and publications focus in how ideal would be a futuristic database etc..

but Let’s think for a minute about Autonomous Databases..

Who will decide under what kind of service the databases will be.. ?

Who will implant the policies for those autonomous databases ?

Who will have the knowledge to decide or estimate the cost of these services based on the regular activities of those databases ?

Who will decide the complex design of IT Infrastructure when we have more and more options.. ?

The answer is obvious.. a DBA.. not any simple DBA.. a DBA that has evolved with all this new generation of databases on Cloud.

Oracle Autonomous Database as I mentioned before is a kind of different type of a Cloud Database Service. So.. in order to move that database from “On-prem” or create it from zero, a DBA must be needed..

Oracle Autonomous Database is a kind of database with a lot of mundane tasks already automated such as:

  • Applying of Patches
  • Upgrades
  • and Tunes itself..

The more important section of this article is the following

I will use the exact smart words of my colleague Tim Hall ( Oracle ACE Director ) “18c on-prem will have very little impact on DBAs. It is the Autonomous Database suite of services that have the impact”

  • “18c on-prem will have very little impact on DBAs”, Yes.. Exactly, Oracle 18c is just another higher version, “Oracle 18c” is not a relational database manager software that will work by default in autonomus mode, in fact, Autonomous Database suite of services has been designed “Up to now” just for Cloud, not for “On-prem” databases.
  • “It is the Autonomous Database suite of services that have the impact”, Autonomous databases is a kind of suit of services that will be available for “Oracle Public Cloud”, this means that “On-Prem” databases will not work in autonomous mode “until what we know up to now..”, perhaps later that kind of service could be available for “On-prem databases”

Most of DBAs currently are in fear believing “Autonomous Databases suite of Services” will let them without job.. but the reality is not even near to that.. actually there are several kind of services to lodge a database on Cloud:

  • Oracle Database Cloud Service
  • Oracle Bare Metal Cloud Database Service
  • Oracle Database Exadata Cloud Service
  • Oracle Database Exadata Cloud Machine
  • Oracle Database Express Cloud Service

“Autonomous Databases suite of Services” will represent just other possible services you could contract

Now, we will see some important points about Autonomous Databases that perhaps most of people does not know..


Oracle self driving database ( Autonomous Database )

It will be available starting Oracle18c but there is still a huge period of support for 12cR1/R2. 12cR1 until 4 years more in comparison to this date, we are talking about until 2021 more or less..

12cR2 until April 2025 in extended support. As we know.. Customers normally are not moving so fast to a next release until they need it or until the support period is near to expire. So, Oracle 18c is a release that will be used for customers that really need it or by customers they want to be extreme up to date.


Up to now Oracle self driving database is designed to be run on Exadata, as per we know Exadata is an Engineering system very powerful but not cheap.. so.. most of customers for sure they will not be in Exadata.. it means.. Exadata has a high cost to be the regular hardware for most of regular medium companies around the world


So.. DBA’s no fear.. Oracle self driving database is not Oracle18c.. Oracle self driving database will not be the regular mechanism of your regular databases..

Then, important items to remember later of finishing to read this article:

  • Oracle 18c is not Autonomous Database suit of Services
  • Autonomous Database Service suit of Services is not Oracle 18c
  • Autonomous Database suit of Services is a kind of services available up to now just for Oracle Public Cloud
  • Autonomous Database suit of Services will run just in Exadata ( “According to the information we have up to now, later perhaps could change..”)
  • Oracle 18c is just one release more

So.. with those lines you have got the more important section of this article.

The conclusion is that “Oracle 18c” will have little impact for regular “On-prem” databases and databases services related to “self driving”


Now, Let’s extend this conversation..

But Let’s wait a minute.. Let’s analyze every one of those.. how it can be done today with the regular “Oracle Database Cloud Service (DBCS)” and how we think Oracle will do it.. We talk about “How Oracle will do it.. because the debut of Autonomous Datawarehouse Database Cloud will be in December 2017.

Applying of Patches:

Nowadays, if you want to apply a Patch using DBCS is just to go to the console, see on the screen if there is any available patch for that database and make some clicks to apply it.. So simple..

So.. I think is not “so difficult” for Oracle Corp, replace our clicks for an automated process..

There are some patches that require the database must be stopped because they change binaries.. etc.. well.. most probable Oracle had already a mechanism in order to apply patches having the database running and they have decided to release it now.. if we imagine how work the database inside running sequentially sentences.. etc.. every sentence.. operations.. etc all this can be coordinated so that patches affect in some way “post” sentences.. etc.. in a general way what I’m trying to say is.. the fact of applying patches by itself is not the big thing taking into account the level of development of the Oracle product during years.. So.. the applying patch by itself is just a step forward related to levels of automation.



Up to now when you are working with DBCS the only way to upgrade a database already working in the cloud is creating another service which will have another compute node and we apply a regular procedure to upgrade that database. However, we have to remember that Oracle has been working very hard in establish very advance mechanism to manage PDB. Nowadays we can clone PDB in hot, we can move PDBs from one container to another container in hot.. basically is very alike to the mechanism implanted to move a datafile online.. so.. this technology is extreme mature by the Oracle Software in these times.. So.. Upgrade a database must be surely a procedure a alike to what is done with PDB, the CDB in its root definition has the binaries of the corresponding version and we move just the data. I’m “sure”.. that’s the mechanism the Oracle software will use to upgrade databases in hot. So.. if we realise all I have commented.. all this is just a technology that we are using with the current release.. difference in autonomous databases is that they are applying this procedure with complete databases under this kind of new service.


Note : later of writing this article my colleague Tim Hall ( Oracle ACE Director ) had helped me to clarify that element, these are the exact words of Tim

“Oracle have explained how the upgrades and patches will work. These systems are based on 18c running on Exadata. Since 18c allows rolling upgrades and patches for everything, including OJVM, they are able to do online patches for these services“

Thanks Tim!!


Tunes itself:

is even more easy to explain.. when you tune queries using adaptive technics.. etc.. all this can happen with the databases running.. rebuild indexes online.. etc.. must of tune operations nowadays can be done online.. it’s not so difficult to have an AI ( Artificial Intelligence ) engine collecting data and taking some decisions based on internal tests.. statistics.. etc.. so.. this new level of automation/autonomous is just what we have but being done automatically.


Let’s talk with what frequency we do these tasks:

Applying of Patches: time to time.. It’s not so frequent.. so.. there are not too much changes to appreciate in the time we employ in this task

Upgrades: even less.. it’s very seldom when we apply upgrades to the databases.. so.. there are not too much changes to appreciate in the time we employ in this task

Tunes itself: tuning.. yes.. many companies.. consultants.. etc.. employ a lot of time in constant tuning to databases for many reasons.. it’s very common that some objects.. some queries.. some code.. etc are added, removed.. changed in the database and of course this generate variations in the performance. This point could impact relatively highly the cost of many enterprises, because tuning a database constantly imply constant high costs. Of course.. we have to see how good the engine can be doing this. We have to remember that currently we have available “Tuning advisors” and they are not perfect.. sometimes we apply some recommendations and the performance of some executions.. etc.. become worst.. so.. the factor of “Tuning itself”.. really.. thinking very honest.. we have to see how that will work. If the results are very good and convenient.. definitely this factor will reduce a lot of cost to enterprises and of course will affect in some way DBAs specialized or in charge of tuning.


So, autonomous databases promises the following:

Less time on Administration

– Less time on infrastructure

– Less time on patching, upgrades

– Less time on ensuring availability

– Less time on tuning


More time on Innovation

– More time on database design

– More time on data analytics

– More time on data polices

– and very important.. More time on securing data

So.. with databases on Cloud, DBAs must strength their skills in Security


Author Names:
  1. Joel Pérez is an Expert DBA ( Oracle ACE Director, Maximum Availability OCM, OCM Cloud Admin. & OCM12c/11g )
  2. Skant Gupta is an Oracle Certified Cloud Professional in Oracle Database 12c, an Oracle Certified Expert in Oracle Real Application Clusters (Oracle RAC) in Oracle Database 11g and 12c.