One reason for the saving is that Autonomous Database is genuinely elastic: when you're not actually using ADB you only pay for storage, nothing else, Ellison said.
"It is a true case of 'you only pay for what you use, while you're using it'," he said.
Automated features include provisioning, scaling, tuning, security, fault tolerance, and back-up and recovery.
If a database failure does occur, all users see is a one to two second pause during the failover process.
"We've been working on this for a very long time," adding automation to every generation of the Oracle Database and to the infrastructure it runs on.
The result is "the world's first self-driving, autonomous database."
It frees database administrators to work on innovation for their organisations, and helps developers work faster and more productively, he said.
Autonomous Database is available in two versions. Autonomous Data Warehouse (for analytics)was released in March 2018, and Autonomous Transaction Processing (for transaction processing and mixed workloads) arrived in August 2018.
Databases are automatically tuned with the aid of machine learning. Identified changes are tested in the background, and if successful are executed once. In the event that performance decreases, the changes are backed out.
In practice, Autonomous Database is up to twice as fast as a human-tuned database for data warehouse workloads. "The automation is very effective," observed Ellison.
An expert-tuned database for complex Netsuite workloads was only slightly improved by Autonomous Transaction Processing, but that performance was achieved with a lot fewer indexes.
Planned features for Autonomous Data Warehouse include autonomous partitioning, and automatic scaling between user-selected upper and lower limits in the number of CPUs.
Among the new features coming for Autonomous Transaction Processing are the option of dedicated infrastructure (Exadata compute, storage and RDMA fabric) with isolation enforced in hardware, guaranteed 99.995% availability, support for Cloud@Customer, and additional self-tuning capabilities including automatic scaling in both directions.
The writer attended Oracle Open World as a guest of the company.