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Friday, 14 August 2020 01:50

Oracle announces the Autonomous JSON Database – smarter, faster, cheaper than MongoDB Featured


Global enterprise database and application vendor, Oracle, announced its new cloud Autonomous JSON Database, bringing NoSQL APIs and SQL functionality, high performance, ACID support and all the core capabilities of MongoDB but at less cost.

The Autonomous everything
Oracle's co-founder, Chairman and Chief Technical Officer, Larry Ellison, previously announced the Oracle Autonomous Database in 2017, a cloud-hosted instance of Oracle’s flagship database product which managed its own patching, security, backups, indexing and other maintenance all without any intervention required by human operators.

This product was so innovative and successful Ellison announced the Oracle Autonomous NoSQL Database in 2018, and then in 2019 the loftier goal of a fully Autonomous cloud and the advent of self-maintaining Oracle Linux virtual machines that again took away the need for humans to expend administrative effort. “If you want self-patching, self-healing, self-encryption you have to be prepared to pay less,” Ellison joked at the time, saying customers could cancel their Red Hat Linux support agreements because Oracle’s Autonomous Linux would do all the work itself.

Ellison did not release a roadmap for where his Autonomous vision would head next, but today’s announcement clearly shows that vision is steaming ahead. What’s more, it’s progressing in ways which may be unexpected. Providing organisations of all sizes with an Autonomous relational SQL database - i.e. Oracle, the product - and an Autonomous NoSQL Database would seem to cover all bases. Yet, Oracle has cleverly created what might fairly be considered a new database type, but which slots in directly in this modern web age.

JSON, for those not in the know, is JavaScript Object Notation and began life as a serialisation format for JavaScript objects so programmers could push a data structure out to disk and load it again later, or pass it to another application, with all the elements of the data structure fully maintained without complex and pesky parsing of files or databases. As JavaScript moved to become the lingua franca of the Internet, so too JSON became the de-facto messaging format for web applications.

While SQL is well-established for analytics and complex reporting, JSON offers dynamic schemas and is popular in web applications for the agility it offers in updating applications.

The Autonomous JSON Database
Building on its existing Oracle Autonomous Database foundation the new Autonomous JSON Database provisions new databases in minutes, scales up and down without downtime to the application, patches databases online, takes automatic backups with point-in-time recovery, provides disaster recovery and has advanced security features. It delivers the world’s first zero administration JSON database.

Under the hood, the database stores JSON documents in a tree-oriented binary format so it is optimised for fast reads and partial updates. This gives low-latency CRUD (create, read, update, delete) and full ACID (atomicity, consistency, isolation, durability) consistency combined with a native document API and full SQL support. It also means developers get native JSON storage and scalable, parallel, in-memory query optimisations.

Not content to stop there, Oracle also packed it with built-in machine learning algorithms, spatial queries, a server-side procedural language, a low-code development environment, simple and fast cross-collection joins and aggregations, and intelligent search.

Yet, for all this punch Oracle is pricing the package aggressively, stating it costs 30% less than comparable MongoDB Atlas configurations, and may even be lower because the Autonomous JSON database can be elastically scaled to any required number of Oracle CPUs, and does not force customers to choose one of several fixed hardware shapes as with other public cloud providers. Further, its backups are built-in, without extra fees.

The new Autonomous JSON Database can be tested without commitment by signing up for Oracle Cloud’s Free Tier, allowing up to 20GB of storage.

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David M Williams

David has been computing since 1984 where he instantly gravitated to the family Commodore 64. He completed a Bachelor of Computer Science degree from 1990 to 1992, commencing full-time employment as a systems analyst at the end of that year. David subsequently worked as a UNIX Systems Manager, Asia-Pacific technical specialist for an international software company, Business Analyst, IT Manager, and other roles. David has been the Chief Information Officer for national public companies since 2007, delivering IT knowledge and business acumen, seeking to transform the industries within which he works. David is also involved in the user group community, the Australian Computer Society technical advisory boards, and education.

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