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Oracle unveils more autonomous software to boost cloud growth

Operating system can run without need for human oversight and can update itself without any downtime

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Chairman Larry Ellison says Oracle will offer a free version of its Cloud Infrastructure.

San Francisco

ORACLE Corp unveiled an operating system that runs without the need for human oversight, part of a raft of new software tools meant to ease the company's rocky transition to cloud computing.

The operating system expands Oracle's line of autonomous products beyond databases, the company's flagship software.

Chairman Larry Ellison announced the new Linux-based product on Monday during remarks at OpenWorld, Oracle's annual user conference in San Francisco. "If you eliminate human error in autonomous systems, you eliminate data theft," Mr Ellison said on stage. The feature makes Oracle's products more secure than those sold by cloud leader Amazon Web Services, he said.

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Mr Ellison said the operating system, which the company's Autonomous Database runs on, will update itself without any downtime.

The world's second-largest software maker has sought to revive sales growth after years of almost stagnant revenue. Oracle hopes that a lineup of "self-driving" programs could help differentiate the company's offerings against products from Amazon.com Inc and Microsoft Corp. Those companies are the top two in the market to rent storage and computing power, which is projected to reach almost US$39 billion in 2019.

The tools may also entice longtime Oracle customers to upgrade their technology to take advantage of artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities.

Oracle disclosed last week that Mark Hurd, one of the company's two chief executive officers, would take a leave of absence to treat an unspecified illness.

Mr Ellison and Oracle's other CEO, Safra Catz, said they would fill in for Mr Hurd, who has overseen the company's sales and marketing efforts.

The Redwood City, California-based company also announced a variety of changes and new programs to bolster its partner ecosystem: Oracle unveiled an agreement with VMware Inc to bring virtualisation software to Oracle's cloud, similar to deals VMware has signed with Microsoft and Google.

Customers will be able to buy software made by other companies in the Oracle Cloud Marketplace, which may help company partners including Cisco Systems Inc and Palo Alto Networks Inc.

Oracle also said it expanded a relationship with cybersecurity company McAfee Inc to bring its security incident software to Oracle's infrastructure cloud.

Mr Ellison said Oracle would offer a free version of its Cloud Infrastructure, giving developers, students and others perpetual access to the company's autonomous database, computing and storage.

The company plans to launch 20 additional cloud data-centre hubs, called "regions", by the end of 2020. Ellison said the company would have more regions around the world than AWS. BLOOMBERG