Colleges Are Learning the Benefits of Autonomous Databases
Each year, Brendan Tierney’s students at Technological University Dublin (TU Dublin) take a course where they use technology to solve real-world problems for different charities. Last year, one group of students decided to work with a hospital in Dublin that treats people with mental and physical disabilities. After one meeting with staff and patients, the students realized they needed a different technical environment in order to make progress on their project.
Tierney, who is a lecturer at TU Dublin, worked closely with them and saw a way to assist. “I said, ‘You need a database environment and a couple of other things,’” he recalls. “And within 5 minutes I had everyone working in Oracle Autonomous Database.”
What’s an autonomous database? It’s Oracle’s cloud-based database that uses machine learning designed to reduce, or in some cases eliminate, the human labor associated with tasks such as database tuning, security patching, software updates, data backups and other routine efforts. Introduced in 2018, this family of cloud services frees database administrators and other users to do more valuable work.
Free for Educators
To help remove as many barriers as possible for professors and students to realize the benefits of the cloud, Oracle has launched Oracle Cloud Free Tier, including new Always Free services. This means that anyone—from large and small organizations to developers to students to educators to IT professionals—can try services and build applications on Oracle Cloud. The Always Free services are a set of core resources that include two Autonomous Database instances, two compute virtual machine instances, 100 gigabytes of block storage, 10 gigabytes each of object and archive storage, network and load balancing, monitoring and notifications–all available at no charge with no expiration date, as long as it’s still in use.
Tierney applauds this move, noting that it provides assurances to professors that the cloud database they start using in their classrooms will be with them for the long haul. For students, he adds, it means that they’re learning on the best database in the marketplace. And students, whether or not they’re using Oracle Cloud Database for a classroom project, will be able to spin up a separate cloud instance for any side project they’re engaged with—be it pro bono work or an entrepreneurial plan.
In addition, Oracle Academy institutional member educators and their students will be able to access these cloud services and free credits through a new Oracle Academy Cloud Program that includes new training for teachers and curriculum for Oracle Autonomous Database to help students expand their skillset and gain hands-on experience.
Cloud in the Classroom
Professors and students are starting to learn the benefits of the autonomous database for classroom use, as these five examples demonstrate.
- Students can get to work almost instantaneously. “I can go in and get the students up and running within a matter of minutes,” says Tierney, who’s also an Oracle Groundbreaker Ambassador. “It used to take days, weeks or even months.” If the cloud brought nothing else to the classroom, he says, this would be enough. Jenny Tsai-Smith, Oracle vice president of database product management, hears this advantage cited often by professors she works with: “They love anything that saves them from the drudgery of