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Oracle Database 23ai: Taking Enterprise AI to the Next Level

Oracle Database 23ai: Taking Enterprise AI to the Next Level

The News: Oracle Database 23ai, the latest release of Oracle’s converged database, is now generally available as a broad range of cloud services. Oracle Database 23ai is available in Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) on Oracle Exadata Database Service, Oracle Exadata Cloud@Customer, and Oracle Base Database Service, as well as on Oracle Database@Azure. Read the full press release on the Oracle website.

Oracle Database 23ai: Taking Enterprise AI to the Next Level

Analyst Take: In the landscape of modern data management, the need for robust, AI-capable databases has become paramount. As businesses increasingly rely on rich, data-driven insights, the architecture of databases has had to evolve significantly. The advent of relational, graphical, and vector AI capabilities within databases represents a fundamental shift toward more dynamic and intelligent systems. These advancements are not just enhancements; they are essential to the integration of AI with core business processes.

Traditional databases were primarily structured for simple query and transaction processing. However, today’s applications demand rapid, on-the-fly analysis of vast amounts of unstructured data—ranging from texts and images to complex data vectors. To address these needs, databases must support retrieval augmented generation (RAG) and vector processing capabilities. These features enable databases to understand and interpret data contextually and semantically, rather than through rigid, predefined schemas.

AI requires a streamlined, efficient database architecture to operate effectively. Databases that can seamlessly integrate AI functionalities enable more advanced data analysis, predictive insights, and personalization at scale. Simplifying the integration of AI capabilities into databases reduces the overhead and complexity of managing separate systems, thereby enhancing the speed and agility of data-driven decision-making.

Oracle Database 23ai: Bringing the Power of AI Vector Search to Enterprises

Accordingly, Oracle Database 23ai employs new AI Vector Search capabilities designed to enable customers to securely combine search for documents, images, and other unstructured data with search on private business data, without moving or duplicating it. This long-term support release includes Oracle AI Vector Search and more than 300 additional major features focused on simplifying the use of AI with data, accelerating app development, and running mission-critical workloads.

Oracle Database 23ai seeks to bring AI algorithms to where the data lives, instead of having to move the data to where the AI algorithm lives. This approach can allow AI to run in real-time in Oracle databases, and potentially improve the effectiveness, efficiency, and security of AI.

Key new capabilities include Oracle AI Vector Search, Oracle Exadata System Software 24ai, and OCI GoldenGate 23ai. Specifically, Oracle AI Vector Search prioritizes easing customer searches of relational data, images, and documents based on their conceptual content rather than specific words, pixels, or data values. As such, AI Vector Search makes it possible for LLMs to query private business data using a natural language interface and helps LLMs provide more accurate and relevant results.

From our view, AI Vector Search enables developers to add semantic search capabilities to new applications and existing applications. As a result, all the mission-critical features now transparently work with AI vectors, enabling Oracle customers to run AI Vector Search for even their most mission-critical applications. Through storing and processing business and vector data in the same database, customers can integrate AI Vector Search into existing business applications to implement new and innovative AI use cases without compromising data security.

Let the Application Development Acceleration Commence

For accelerating application development, Oracle Database 23ai supports JSON Relational Unification (i.e., JSON Relational Duality), Graph Relational Unification, and free developer databases. We are keen on JSON Relational Duality as it addresses the long-standing challenge of object-relational mismatch. This data modeling capability allows data to be read and written either as JSON documents or relational tables, providing developers with greater flexibility.

Key benefits include allowing efficient storage of data in relational tables to be accessed as simple JSON documents alongside offering lock-free concurrency control, which is vital for building massively concurrent applications. Also, it simplifies application evolution as they add new use cases without requiring new copies of data.

Taken together, with over 300 new features and thousands of enhancements in Oracle Database 23ai, we find that Oracle is covering a lot of ground to deliver innovative technologies for AI, developers, and mission-critical applications. For developers, Oracle’s grand unification of JSON Relational Views and Graph with Relational means that developers no longer must choose a single data model. They get the benefits of both models on the same data while gaining the consistency, storage efficiency, and flexibility inherent in the relational data model of Oracle Database 23ai.

Additionally, Oracle Exadata System Software 24ai dramatically accelerates AI Vector Search, enabling high-performance applications that can handle large volumes of data and support extensive user bases without compromising on speed. This is coupled with enhancements in OCI GoldenGate 23ai, which facilitates real-time data integration across diverse cloud environments, ensuring that AI applications have access to the most current and comprehensive data sets available. The Operational Property Graph feature offers new ways to explore data relationships and patterns, which is crucial for applications requiring complex data interactions, such as financial analysis and predictive modeling.

Plus, developers can try AI Vector Search, JSON Relational Duality Views, and Operational Property Graph in free trial versions of Oracle Database 23ai. Through this unification, we discern that Oracle is taking major steps forward to accelerate developer productivity. And organizations have the flexibility of running it all on Exadata Database Service in OCI or Exadata Cloud@Customer, providing a wide range of flexible enterprise deployment options.

Built-In Mission-Critical Data Assurance

Oracle Database 23ai immediately provides mission-critical data assurance that is essential to cultivating enterprise confidence and accelerating their adoption of GenAI capabilities. This encompasses support for Oracle Globally Distributed Database with RAFT, Oracle True Cache, and In-Database SQL Firewall. For instance, Oracle Globally Distributed Database with RAFT allows data in the cloud to be stored across multiple physical databases in multiple locations instead of one database while exposing a single database image to applications. It is used to achieve hyperscale and to help fulfill data residency and data sovereignty requirements.

As such, RAFT replication between the physical databases enables automatic failover with zero data loss in single digit seconds. This is critical when building cloud-scale distributed databases that must achieve ultra-high scalability and availability. Integrating replication inside the database with the RAFT-based protocol streamlines the creation and administration of fault-tolerant distributed databases and can reduce the need for manual processes to maintain active-active availability.

Looking Ahead: Oracle Database 23ai Delivers Enduring Enterprise AI Benefits

Looking forward, we believe Oracle’s comprehensive suite of enhancements in Oracle Database 23ai positions it uniquely in the marketplace. Oracle’s extensive enterprise footprint, combined with its advanced cloud infrastructure and new AI capabilities, allows it to leverage the growing AI tailwinds effectively.

Global CIOs are under pressure from their board to implement a tangible GenAI strategy. However, many lack the time to experiment with GenAI offerings and to determine what is capable of supporting their mission-critical workloads, not only for production but also when it comes time for the unexpected such as data recovery.

By upgrading their existing Oracle Database to 23ai, we discern that CIOs gain the ability to have an enterprise-grade GenAI solution without having to spend cycles learning how to operate a separate vector database, moving data to that separate vector database, and then attempting to maintain data consistency between multiple data stores. Ultimately, AI is a bet the business, bet the career type of decision, so organizations need to select their enterprise AI database with utmost prudence.

As more mission-critical data becomes intertwined with AI functionalities, Oracle’s integrated approach ensures that enterprises can manage their data with high levels of security and reliability. From our perspective, the ability to run AI directly where the data resides, as opposed to moving data to a separate AI processing location, provides a significant advantage in terms of efficiency and data governance.

Moreover, the incorporation of AI into Oracle’s database services reduces the latency in data processing and enables real-time analytics and decision-making. This is particularly important as enterprises seek to gain immediate insights from their data to drive competitive advantage.

In conclusion, Oracle Database 23ai not only strengthens Oracle’s position in the database market but also sets a new standard for how databases are designed and utilized in an increasingly AI-driven world. As businesses continue to demand more from their data, Oracle’s innovations ensure that they are well-equipped to meet these challenges head-on, with a database architecture that is both powerful and adaptable to future technological advancements.

Disclosure: The Futurum Group is a research and advisory firm that engages or has engaged in research, analysis, and advisory services with many technology companies, including those mentioned in this article. The author does not hold any equity positions with any company mentioned in this article.

Analysis and opinions expressed herein are specific to the analyst individually and data and other information that might have been provided for validation, not those of The Futurum Group as a whole.

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Image Credit: Oracle

Author Information

Ron is an experienced, customer-focused research expert and analyst, with over 20 years of experience in the digital and IT transformation markets, working with businesses to drive consistent revenue and sales growth.

He is a recognized authority at tracking the evolution of and identifying the key disruptive trends within the service enablement ecosystem, including a wide range of topics across software and services, infrastructure, 5G communications, Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), analytics, security, cloud computing, revenue management, and regulatory issues.

Prior to his work with The Futurum Group, Ron worked with GlobalData Technology creating syndicated and custom research across a wide variety of technical fields. His work with Current Analysis focused on the broadband and service provider infrastructure markets.

Ron holds a Master of Arts in Public Policy from University of Nevada — Las Vegas and a Bachelor of Arts in political science/government from William and Mary.

Regarded as a luminary at the intersection of technology and business transformation, Steven Dickens is the Vice President and Practice Leader for Hybrid Cloud, Infrastructure, and Operations at The Futurum Group. With a distinguished track record as a Forbes contributor and a ranking among the Top 10 Analysts by ARInsights, Steven's unique vantage point enables him to chart the nexus between emergent technologies and disruptive innovation, offering unparalleled insights for global enterprises.

Steven's expertise spans a broad spectrum of technologies that drive modern enterprises. Notable among these are open source, hybrid cloud, mission-critical infrastructure, cryptocurrencies, blockchain, and FinTech innovation. His work is foundational in aligning the strategic imperatives of C-suite executives with the practical needs of end users and technology practitioners, serving as a catalyst for optimizing the return on technology investments.

Over the years, Steven has been an integral part of industry behemoths including Broadcom, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), and IBM. His exceptional ability to pioneer multi-hundred-million-dollar products and to lead global sales teams with revenues in the same echelon has consistently demonstrated his capability for high-impact leadership.

Steven serves as a thought leader in various technology consortiums. He was a founding board member and former Chairperson of the Open Mainframe Project, under the aegis of the Linux Foundation. His role as a Board Advisor continues to shape the advocacy for open source implementations of mainframe technologies.

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