Oracle OpenWorld 2017

On return from summer holiday, our colleagues had a great surprise for us: “You guys are going to San Francisco!” From October 1 through 5, together with 60,000 others, Jan Hoekstra and I would get to see what Oracle has been up to and what their plans are for the coming years. For Wehkamp we had a mission to get new ideas on the future of our back-end systems which are largely based on Java and the Oracle Database. With only a few weeks to go, we quickly booked our hotel and flight tickets. Off we went!

If you’re not familiar with it, OpenWorld is an annual conference with talks, workshops and demo's by Oracle and speakers from other multinationals about the latest developments and best practices in database and development land. To make life easy, we got to choose from 1,820 sessions.

The Ultimate Cloud Experience?
Hot topics were, of course, machine learning, blockchain, big data, microservices, and everything Oracle has to offer in these areas. Especially from within their new Cloud platform in which they invested heavily over the past few years.

During keynotes, the general message was that Oracle is now a serious competitor in the world of Cloud computing, both on the IaaS and PaaS layer, as well as on the SaaS layer. Oracle offers Blockchain as a Service, Cassandra as a Service, Kafka as a Service, just to mention a few. “But…”, says Oracle chairman Larry Ellison, “You’ve got to be willing to pay less!”. He literally promises to cut your Amazon bill in half. Quite a bold statement.

In addition, Oracle announced its ‘Self-driving Database’. A database in the Oracle Cloud that tunes itself, patches itself and scales automatically based on machine learning. There is no human interaction involved. What will the DBA’s be doing then?

Oracle's Autonomous Database promises less than 30 minutes downtime a year

The future of the DBA
That is why Jan and I have mainly focused on sessions about the use of microservices and Kafka which mainly form our new data platform within Wehkamp. Furthermore, we attended sessions on the development of the Oracle Cloud and the future role of database admins as the traditional role of DBA, like other classic IT roles, is changing. The focus is shifting more and more towards working in DevOps teams, the orchestration of Cloud infrastructure and giving advice on datastore usage. We have seen some interesting talks on how to adjust and get up to speed with this change.

One of the more interesting talks we've seen, by vincentkok from Atlassian

What's in it for Wehkamp
All in all, lots of info for us to take in and to put to practice at wehkamp. Together with our Product Owner we are discussing our learnings and will be implementing them in our roadmap for the Java/Oracle back end. Thanks to our visit we now have new insights and perspectives on these matters.

About the hard work
In addition to our busy schedule of sessions, we also managed to participate in a cycling tour over the Golden Gate Bridge. We attended CloudFest ’17 with a performance by Ellie Goulding and The Chainsmokers and finally concluded our week with a nice sailing trip along Alcatraz sponsored by Qualogy.

Biking across the Golden Gate

In the end, we had a super inspiring and educational week in San Francisco. An awesome experience. Wehkamp, thank you!

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