Dude … Where’s My Decade? If anything sums up my IT career’s arc since 2010, I’d say it’s that phrase. Somehow, I’ve managed to keep my head above water through the transition from HDD to SSD, from custom-built servers to Exadata Database Machine, and at least five different versions of the Oracle Database. Along the way, I’ve been fortunate to fulfill a personal goal of becoming an Oracle ACE Director for the the last half of that decade. That gave me the chance to meet IT folks on six different continents at dozens of Oracle conferences and OUG meetups.

Heck, I even got to chauffeur one of my heroes, Tom Kyte, to a Chicago Oracle User Group meeting!

As I enter my fifth decade in IT, I see 2020 as full of amazing opportunity, whether you’re a total Oracle newbie or a seasoned professional. Here’s where I think we’re headed:

Autonomy: The End of Tedium for “Helicopter DBAs” 

Based on my deeper experimentation with both ADW and ATP this past year – especially with the new Autonomous Dedicated option that offers elimination of “noisy neighbors” –  it’s apparent to me that the new role of Enterprise Data Architect can leverage that autonomy to further her career. With the announcement at Oracle OpenWorld 2019 of the upcoming launch of the Autonomous JSON database projected for early 2020, it sure looks like we’re going to be able to leverage key-value stores much more effectively than we have in the past.

The new Automatic Indexing features I’ve experimented with are just the tip of the spear. (You can download and then read more about my experiments in a recent white paper I published for Viscosity North America; if you are pressed for time, there’s a neat little video on that page too.) And I’m sure there are other autonomous features planned for later in 2020 that will finally free forward-looking DBAs from the tedium of normal day-to-day activities, especially just “keeping the lights on” for their databases. 

A/I and Machine Learning: Nearing a New Singularity?

Based on the massive interest in AI and ML I’ve observed at conferences this past year, I think we’re nearing a new singularity in data-driven decision-making. I’ve spent some time recently experimenting with the Oracle Machine Learning (OML) features already built into Autonomous DB; if you’ve got a spare five minutes, be sure to take a look at this short video that shows how easy it is to leverage those features with just a little bit of SQL and a few mouse clicks.

The best thing about these ML toolsets is that they’re already built into the Oracle Database, so I don’t necessarily need to learn a completely new set of analytic functions or ML algorithms to take advantage of them. I’m going to continue my research in 2020 on several fronts, particularly in learning how to better visualize hidden patterns within my data with Oracle Analytic Cloud (OAC), so stay tuned!

The Converged Oracle Database

Though it’s taken some time to get there, it appears we’re headed towards a new data-centric paradigm: Let’s get our business users exactly the data they need, from exactly where it’s currently stored – either intra-RDBMS, or extra-RDBMS! – exactly when they need it, with the utmost concern for its security. From the discussions I’ve had with folks at Oracle like Jenny Tsai-Smith, Oracle’s new Converged Database strategy is focused precisely on achieving these goals, so expect to hear and see a lot more about related offerings in 2020.

It’s Vegas, Baby!

Finally, if you want proof that the 2020s are going to be quite different from the past decade, I offer up this evidence: Oracle OpenWorld 2020 will be held for the first time, not in San Francisco, but in Las Vegas instead. It’s going to be quite the ride, my friends and colleagues! I look forward to exchanging knowledge with you all at upcoming OUG meetings, COLLABORATE20, KSCOPE20, and of course OOW20. Stay safe, have a great 2019 holiday season, and Happy Computing!