Oracle Unveils Autonomous JSON DB for App Developers

Oracle recently announced the availability of a new JSON-only document database service for its "self-driving" Autonomous Database platform. The aptly named Autonomous JSON Database was designed to make it easy and cost-effective to build JSON-centric applications.

JSON (JavaScript Object Notation), the lightweight data interchange format that started as a serialization format for JavaScript objects and became the de-facto messaging format for Web applications, has become the main data model for many new applications—including the database tier.

"Developers love JSON," said Oracle software developer and JSON maven Beda Hammerschmidt, in a blog post, "because it supports dynamic schemas, and hence, makes schema changes easy. Instead of normalizing data into a fixed relational schema with tables and columns, developers can use JSON documents to also gain agility on the data tier when making application changes."

Oracle didn't build the new JSON DB service from scratch, Hammerschmidt said. It was built on the Autonomous Database platform. "This service provisions new databases in minutes, scales up and down with no downtime to the application, patches databases online, takes automatic backups with point-in-time recovery, provides disaster-recovery capabilities, and has advanced security features," he said. "The goal of an autonomous database is zero administration, so that developers can spend more time on their application and less on setting up and managing a database."

The Autonomous JSON Database stores data natively as JSON docs and collections, which are accessed via Oracle's own SODA API (Simple Oracle Document Access). SODA is a set of NoSQL-style APIs that let developers create and store collections of documents in the Oracle DB, retrieve them, and query them, without needing to know SQL or how the documents are stored in the database. So no knowledge of SQL is required; users can run all the core create-read-update-delete (CRUD) functions through Java, JavaScript, Node.js, Python, C, or via REST API.

"While SQL is a great language for analytics or complex reporting, many developers prefer a simpler and more flexible way to interact with JSON data," Hammerschmidt said. "Consequently, Oracle added… SODA… for common programming languages, including Java, JavaScript and Python. Developing applications with JSON and SODA is as easy with Oracle as it is with NoSQL databases like MongoDB."

In fact, Oracle is claiming that the Autonomous JSON Database provides all the core capabilities of MongoDB, and it's selling it for 30% less than comparable MongoDB Atlas configurations. The Autonomous JSON Database is elastic and does not rely on fixed hardware configurations, so users can choose the number of CPUs. And it's cost includes backup and simple connectivity to BI tools, both of which cost extra for MongoDB Atlas.

Because the Autonomous JSON Database is part of Oracle's Autonomous Database product family, it shares all the core features for automation, lifecycle management, security, availability, scalability, and elasticity with all other Autonomous Database services.

About the Author

John K. Waters is the editor in chief of a number of sites, with a focus on high-end development, AI and future tech. He's been writing about cutting-edge technologies and culture of Silicon Valley for more than two decades, and he's written more than a dozen books. He also co-scripted the documentary film Silicon Valley: A 100 Year Renaissance, which aired on PBS.  He can be reached at [email protected].