Oracle India has transformed itself in the last few years and is focussing aggresively on its cloud strategy. Despite being a relatively late entrant to the cloud market, the tech giant is leaving no stones unturned to match its rivals Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure and is offering new products and initiatives to Indian enterprises and SMBs. Oracle recently launched a cloud platform with autonomous services, claiming it to be the first-of-its-kind solution. Premalakshmi R, Head-Cloud Platform business, Oracle India, explains the concept behind autonomous cloud, its importance in the digital world, where cyber threats are looming and discusses the kind of impact it can create on India businesses.
CXOToday: Are Indian companies open to leveraging emerging technologies for business growth?
Premalakshmi: Indian businesses are proving to be more versatile than some of their APAC peers, especially when it comes to early adoption of modern technologies such as AI/ML, Blockchain and Chatbots. Underpinning these emerging technologies is the cloud. No wonder then, that 43% of Indian businesses already have successful cloud strategies, more than many other countries in APAC, per our recent survey. In addition, there is an emerging group of Indian businesses, with more than 70% of their applications in the cloud, outperforming their global competitors.
We’re witnessing increased interest levels with Indian businesses for autonomous cloud – the next level of cloud innovation.
CXOToday: Can you explain the difference between Automation and Autonomous?
Premalakshmi: Automation is about operating or controlling a system or process using set rules instead of human intervention; but you still need human intervention for action to be taken if something out of the ordinary happens. On the other hand, Autonomous is about something that is self-governing and quite independent.
Take cars for example. Many of us drive automatic cars – where the gear box and many other functions are ‘automatic’. Their workings have been optimised to work more smoothly and minimise effort, but you can’t just get into an automatic car and expect it to drive itself. That is the dream of the autonomous car that thinks for itself.
CXOToday: How can businesses benefit from autonomous cloud?
Premalakshmi: In the world of IT, many things have been automated, but there is still a lot of effort involved. Take databases for example. While there are a lot of tasks that have been automated, running these essential data stores still takes a lot of time, effort and requires significant human involvement from database administrators (DBAs). In fact, IDC estimates that as much as 75 percent of the total cost of database management can be labour.
What if IT could manage itself, empowering these (human) resources to stop worrying about mundane tasks and instead focus on providing higher value to the business? What if IT could enable these resources to drive more innovation, the creation of new applications and better ways to serve customers, employees and partners? That’s the basic premise of autonomous cloud.
At Oracle, we believe the future of IT is autonomous cloud, which is the next level of cloud innovation. This is a whole new category of cloud services, which when mature, will bring an ideal state, where IT departments don’t have to worry about the day to day operations. There are three foundational traits of autonomous cloud: self-driving, self-securing and self-repairing.
CXOToday: How is autonomous cloud different from cloud as we know it?
Premalakshmi: In the absence of a holistic cloud strategy, most organizations end up with a number of disparate cloud systems that become too complex and costly to manage over time – defeating the very purpose of moving to the cloud. Autonomous cloud is the next generation of cloud services, which free up your most valuable and expensive resources – humans – to create more value for the business. These next generation cloud services are also much quicker to install and gain value from – for instance, the autonomous data warehouse cloud service can be installed in minutes.
CXOToday: How does autonomous cloud offer more security?
Premalakshmi: Oracle’s autonomous services use artificial intelligence and machine learning to make the system and process smarter, meaning the system automatically protects users from external attacks, malicious internal users, as well as human errors. Did you know that nearly 85 percent of breaches occur because a system vulnerability, where a patch had been available for 12 months, was exploited?
The self-securing nature of autonomous cloud offers adaptive intelligence-enabled cyber threat detection and remediation, with automatic encryption and deployment of security patches. Let me elaborate this a little more.
Safeguarding data: Autonomous cloud helps you prevent data theft through its self-securing capability. It has a cyber-defence system that automatically detects vulnerabilities, both internally and externally and fixes them before any attack takes place; and if an attack is detected, it shuts down the entire system and flags it off to the database administrators.
Auto-patching: In effect, with autonomous systems the service auto-patches itself, applying patches while the service is running, so there’s no downtime for the business.
CXOToday: In simple terms, how do you see autonomous cloud helping Indian businesses?
Premalakshmi: In recent times, Indian businesses have made a mark globally, emerging as a major source of foreign direct investment in several international markets. Consider this: Indian businesses are the third largest foreign investors in the UK and account for a vast majority of employees in Britain’s manufacturing sector. With autonomous IT, the time and budget they can save in routine IT management can be channelled towards creating new products and services, or gain deeper insights into how to make existing products and services even better. Imagine the progress our businesses can make on a global scale.
From an industry perspective, given India’s rich demographic dividend, skill challenges continue to be a challenge. Perhaps with autonomous, we can look to upskill the Indian workforce across the board. In my view, autonomous empowers us to create a smarter workforce, and an emerging economy like ours is best poised to take advantage of such accelerators to leapfrog other emerging economies. In short, with autonomous, Indian businesses can now focus on the bigger picture, solving big problems, thereby helping India to push forward on the global front.