Oracle Regional Managing Director for ASEAN and SAGE Cherian Varghese
By Indika Sakalasooriya
As the Redwood City, California-based computer technology firm Oracle Corp. is aggressively expanding its autonomous product offering with its Co-founder, Executive Chairman and Chief Technology Officer Larry Ellison announcing a Linux-based autonomous operating system that will complement the firm’s already launched autonomous data warehouse, a top Oracle official overlooking the Asian region said their Sri Lankan customers are excited to come on board with Oracle’s autonomous journey.
“I can tell you I met a few customers in Sri Lanka. They are absolutely on the autonomous journey,” Oracle Regional Managing Director for ASEAN and SAGE Cherian Varghese told a group of Asian journalists during Oracle OpenWorld 2019, held in San Francisco, this September.
Announcing Oracle’s autonomous operating system Ellison assured that the vulnerability in the code below its autonomous data warehouse would be completely eliminated as the Linux-based OS configures, patches and scales itself while running.
According to Varghese, the autonomous Linux is path breaking.
“For me autonomous Linux is a big wake up call to the industry. It’s path breaking.”
During the Oracle OpenWorld held in Singapore this March, Varghese said the Oracle Autonomous Database was showing tremendous growth in the ASEAN and SAGE regions. ASEAN represents a block of 10 countries and SAGE stands for South Asian Growing Economies, scaling up to Pakistan to towards smaller economies such as Sri Lanka.
According to Varghese, probably the biggest and most impactful announcement made at Oracle OpenWorld 2019 in San Francisco was Oracle’s massive data centre expansion drive, where the company plans to launch 20 new facilities over the next 15 months. Ellison said by the next OpenWorld, Oracle would have data centres covering a total of 36 regions.
“This resonates so strongly because it shows who we are. Oracle was always termed as being slow on the cloud. They said we were late to the party. There were all those classic words, which I heard over so many years. But I think that commitment to show that we will be 36 regions in a year’s time was a big wake up call to all our competition,” Varghese said.
In comparison, Microsoft Azure is currently available in 54 regions, followed by Amazon Web Services (AWS) with 22 regions and Google Cloud Platform in 20 regions.
However, as Varghese pointed out, the icing on the cake is the Oracle Cloud, which is now in its entirety is on Gen 2.
“Gen 2 is so secure that it has got its own security component at every layer, which truly differentiates us from other cloud data centres. Across the globe no matter which names you take, they are all on Gen 1,” he said.
With old technology, when a breach happens in one server, it could enter the network and spread though that domain into all other zone. But the beauty of Gen 2 is that, when a breach happens at a certain layer, it can’t penetrate the network. With technologies like autonomous, that breach is repaired with no downtime.
Autonomous Linux and Exadata
One of the biggest announcements at this time OpenWorld San Francisco was the Linux-based autonomous operating system, which is self-healing and self-patching. With this, according to Varghese, Oracle has been able to take autonomous into every single area of its product offering.
“Because our machines have to become autonomous, our operating system is becoming autonomous; our security systems are becoming autonomous and they have to follow instructions based on machine learning. In a technological standpoint, these are path breaking,” he said.
OpenWorld San Francisco also saw the unveiling of Oracle’s new hardware appliance, the Oracle Exadata Database Machine X8M. This offers 100Gbps networking and enables the database to directly access data stored in Intel Optane DC Persistent Memory. This is much faster than flash storage, making input-output 10 times faster than the previous Exadata release, Oracle said.
“With all this, I think what we are bringing to the table is very unique. We offer the customer choice. We offer on premise solutions. We have clouded customers and you could also have a public cloud. This gives us that unique proposition. This is very relevant to our Asian customers and to our region, because we have a lot of customers on all the three,” Varghese said.
“As an organisation, we are ready to allow the customers to choose. We have options. As I always like to say, what we offer is an à la carte menu. Today, with Oracle Cloud, we are able to service our customers with every single flavour. Whether it is infrastructure, platform, applications or data, we are able to traverse with our entire portfolio. What we have is a fully-integrated cloud,” he added.
Another groundbreaking announcement made at OpenWorld San Francisco this time that stunned many was the interoperability partnership Oracle had struck with Microsoft. It was unthinkable for anyone who has followed Oracle’s competitor-bashing founder Larry Ellison to imagine that he would ever utter “… and Microsoft has a lot of good technology” in his keynote. But the unthinkable has happened and it seems that Oracle and Microsoft are teaming up to give a good fight to their mutual rival, Amazon.
“I’ve lived my life in Oracle for very long years in multiple regions. I would not have ever dreamt that I would be on the same stage with Microsoft to say, okay, let’s go and sell together or let’s pitch the solution together. But I think cloud interoperability is becoming the key notion,” Varghese said.
Further pointing out how his customers in Asia would benefit from this partnership, he said a bridge between clouds of Oracle and Microsoft would become real handy as a lot of customers have both large Microsoft and Oracle footprints.
“Nine out of 10 times we meet a customer, they have a very strong Oracle footprint as well as a Microsoft footprint. Now imagine they both are hosting on two different clouds. If you are able to have a bridge connectivity between these two organisations towards the data centre, the customer would ultimately have an outstanding experience,” he explained.
“This is also a big message to the industry. Gone are the days where you can dominate as a silo dinosaur in the cloud world. Now it is about cooperation, it is about interoperability. It is all about working out right partnerships.”
Right space at right time
Concluding his brief chat with Asian journalists and influencers, Varghese said Oracle is at the right space at the right time by fate or by accident.
“I can only say that by fate or destiny, we are in the right space at the right time. Everybody is talking about data. The ability slice data and put meaning to that data is going to be what differentiates organisations from each other. Oracle is very much in that right spot with all its technologies to interpret data. If you see our mission statement, it talks about using data insights to create endless possibilities. I think the last two words stand out in our data journey. So we are very bullish about future,” he said.