Larry Ellison on stage at Oracle Open World in San Francisco
Larry Ellison once again took the stage to tout Oracle's new autonomous database and unveiled automated cybersecurity to complement it PHOTO: R Ray Wang

Oracle CTO Larry Ellison was in his element as he delivered the keynote address at his company's annual user conference Oracle Open World. 

The crowd of 60,000 who descended on San Francisco this week arrived eager to learn about the new innovations the Redwood City, Calif.-based company would unveil, as well as to hear the snarky remarks Ellison inevitably makes about the competition.

Ellison watchers might also be wondering if he has figured out how to use a clicker yet. More on that later.

Ellison Spills the Beans Once More

The co-founder of the world's second largest software company is at his best when he has something to prove, whether it's a better database than SAP Hana, booting Salesforce CEO Mark Benioff from presenting on his keynote stage, or denigrating AWS with his new autonomous database play, as Ellison did only a few weeks ago.

But what we, and many analysts, didn't expect last night was for Ellison to double down with greater specificity as to why Oracle's 18c Autonomous Database costs less to run and is faster than AWS, but also why it is more secure and less hackable.

Though Oracle's "Highly Automated Cybersecurity" product will be formally introduced on Tuesday, Ellison once again jumped the gun to brag about the genius behind it and the reasons it is so urgently needed.

"People are getting better at stealing data, we need to get better at protecting it,” he said. “The safest place to store data is specifically (in) Oracle’s autonomous database,” he said.

Oracle Adds 'Highly Automated Cybersecurity' to 18c

Ellison used the Equifax data breach as an example of where Oracle’s new automated cybersecurity product would have prevented the problem, noting the patch needed was available but that the staff had failed to apply it. Ellison speculated that the system administrators wanted to avoid downtime.

"We have to automate our cyber defenses. And you have to be able to defend yourselves without taking all of your computer systems offline or shutting down your databases,” he said. Oracle's highly automated cybersecurity solution can spot breaches and apply patches without any human intervention, he said.

Oracle's autonomous database and cybersecurity solutions leverage machine learning (ML), a branch of artificial intelligence (AI). They work by training them on massive amounts of data, clustering similars and sending out alerts and applying fixes when something out of the ordinary occurs.

Ellison used a fictitious 3 a.m. Ukraine-based system login by someone who purports to be the CFO of an American company. "If he is traveling in the Ukraine, OK ..." said Ellison, inferring this wasn't the case. Oracle's highly automated cybersecurity solution could handle the problem without the need to wake anyone up, he noted.

Not only that, but Oracle's solution could have prevented the Equifax breach and its CEO being fired, according to Ellison.

"Equifax's CEO lost his job, but that doesn't bother me, I'm not the CEO," he said. 

Comparing Oracle and AWS Data Warehouse Solutions

The rest of the opening keynote went into detail, using demos as to why Oracle's 18c database was faster, cheaper and better than Amazon's Redshift.

Oracle Automated Security Solution speed tests
PHOTO: Holger Mueller

In the side-by-side, real-time speed comparisons, Ellison pushed the "button" for Redshift before he pushed it for 18c, intentionally giving Amazon's solution a head start because he was so certain the Oracle solution was that much faster. He also noted Oracle could get the job done at half the price, something the company is willing to guarantee in writing.

"If you want to use Oracle's, the shock is you have to be willing to pay much less,"said Ellison.

Is this impressive? Yes, according to Constellation Research CEO Ray Wang. “Ellison is hitting hard on data,” he said, adding that the crowd was enthused by what they heard.

Constellation Research principal analyst Holger Mueller concurred. "Oracle is up to something and has found a possible innovative edge for RDBMS (Oracle's database). The key point to make is that when RDBMS moves, it moves to Oracle's cloud."

Now back to that clicker. "It's fake," said Ellison, explaining all his clicker does is prompt a human to go to the next slide.