Keeping Innovation Alive at Oracle

Packt Publishing

May 23rd, 2016

Saurabh Gupta is the author of Advanced Oracle PL/SQL Developer's Guide. We spoke to him about his work at Oracle, and the organization’s future in a changing and increasingly open source landscape.

All of the views expressed by Saurabh are his own and do not reflect the views of Oracle.

Tell us about yourself – who are you and what do you do?

I am a Database technologist with experience in database design, development and management. I work for the Database Product Management group at Oracle where I am fortunate to work alongside some really smart minds. As part of my job, I interact and engage with the Oracle partner community to drive the adoption of database technologies like Oracle 12c, Multitenant, Database In-Memory, and Database Cloud Services in their solution landscape. I evangelize Oracle database technologies through product road shows, conferences, workshops and various user group events.

I love sharing my knowledge and I use two of the best mediums to achieve that. I have authored the first and second edition of "Oracle Advanced PL/SQL Developer Professional Guide" with Packt. I am a regular speaker at AIOUG events like Tech Days, OTN Yatra, and SANGAM. I was selected by IOUG committee to present at Collaborate'15. I'm a blogger and pretty active on Twitter – I tweet at @saurabhkg.

Tell us about Oracle Pl/SQL. What is it for and what does it do?

PL/SQL is the procedural extension of SQL (Structured Query Language). Although SQL is the de facto industry language for querying data from a database, it doesn't comply with high level programming concepts. For this reason, Oracle introduced PL/SQL language to code business logic in database and store it as a program for subsequent use. In its first release alongside Oracle 6, PL/SQL was limited in its capacity. But over the years, it has grown into one of the most mature high level languages. The language is practiced by almost all Oracle professionals who are into database development and design.

How has the Oracle database landscape changed over the last few years? How does it compare to other databases such as SQL Server?

In the last thirty years, Oracle has innovated; it has developed great products and has been a consistent leader in the database management space. Technologies such as Oracle Database, Real Application Clusters, Multitenant, Database In-Memory, Exadata smart innovations have all gained huge traction within Oracle's partner and customer community. A few years ago, Oracle focused on engineered systems family which were the smart blend of hardware and software. Oracle Exadata database machine is an engineered system that runs Oracle database in a grid computing model. The smart innovative features on Exadata help in addressing scenarios such as database consolidation, mixed workloads, and resource management.

With the industry paradigm shifting to cloud services, Oracle's service offerings span across all tiers of the enterprise IT landscape, including Software As a Service (SaaS), Platform As a Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure As a Service (IaaS). Within PaaS, Oracle is investing lot of effort in strengthening their data management portfolio. The message is loud and clear that Oracle's cloud services are designed to cater the needs of an enterprise data driven application. It includes Oracle Database Cloud Service, Oracle Big Data Cloud Service, Oracle NoSQL Cloud Service, Oracle Big Data Preparation Cloud Service, Oracle Big Data Discovery Cloud Service, and Oracle Big Data SQL. Oracle Big Data SQL, a cutting-edge technology, is a superset of SQL that allows end users to issue a query against the data lying in different data artefacts i.e. HDFS, Hive, NoSQL or RDBMS. On Exadata, Big Data SQL performance is complemented by the smart features like smart scan.

What are the biggest challenges you face - in terms of software and broader business pressures?

In the software industry, the biggest challenge is to keep innovation alive and to control adoption timelines. If you look at IT industry trends, for any given problem a consumer has multiple solutions. This state of "flux" is pushing software vendors to the limit if they are to consider what makes their product distinctive. This is where innovation comes and gives an edge to the product. If you compromise on innovation, you lose the market in no time. At the same time, it is important to control the adoption rate in the market. The user community has to be briefed and empowered to work effectively with the product. Other challenges to be grounded are cost effectiveness, product marketing, rollout strategies, and supporting the community.

What do you think the future holds for Oracle? Can it remain relevant in a world where open-source software is mainstream?

Looking at the recent technology landscape, cloud services seem to be a central pillar in future roadmaps. Oracle has announced Oracle Public Cloud machine which brings Oracle Public Cloud's PaaS and IaaS capabilities to the partner's data center shielded within the company's firewall. Oracle is taking initiatives in nurturing the startups. Oracle has recently announced the Oracle Startup Cloud Accelerator program that will help IT startups to embrace Oracle cloud services by providing sufficient resources like technology, mentoring, go-to-market strategy, investors, and incubation centres.

Well, there is no doubt that open-source community has grown steadily over the years. Developers across the world share the product code and help in developing a free software. However, I disagree with the assertion that "open-source software is mainstream". For enterprise-level IT management, you have to pick the products that are secure, compliant, and manageable and offer support services. Most open source databases are developer managed and create dependency on a limited set of resources. This is where commercial products have the edge; they satisfy compliance requirements, provide technical and business support, and invest heavily on innovation. It is advisable that Organizations must do a thorough TCO/ROI study before adopting open source products in IT mainstream. Oracle also offers some of the leading open source solutions for development

You can find a list of Oracle’s open source initiatives listed here.

Find Saurabh’s book - Advanced Oracle PL/SQL Developer's Guide - Second Edition here.