The modular approach to computing underlies the major IT evolution that is currently taking place. And although the evolution itself has been called many things - grid, utility, adaptive enterprise, on demand - its main impetus is to enhance interoperability and to help the IT industry deliver better products at reduced costs, said Guy Cross, director, Business Development, Oracle Asia Pacific Linux Business Unit.
Speaking at the recent LinuxWorld in Singapore, Cross noted that while Linux is not a silver bullet, it nonetheless plays a critical role in what is happening in the IT industry.
Central to the IT evolution is the idea of virtualisation and the grid - taking standard, modular components and getting them to work together as one computer, resulting in greater flexibility and responsiveness in the IT infrastructure. And Linux is the optimal operating system for grid computing, said Cross, adding that Oracle was the first to make a commercial database available on Linux, back in 1998.
The benefits of the grid, from Oracle's perspective, include savings through the use of low cost modular components, low incremental costs, the availability of enterprise services at a low cost, and no single point of failure. "It does not matter if individual components go down," said Cross.
In contrast, the deployment of large dedicated servers involves expensive, costly components; high incremental costs; the danger of a single point of failure and high services cost.
To leverage on Linux and the grid, Cross advised enterprises to take the following steps:
1) Standardise. Take inventory to find out what you are running, and ask if the vendors will be around in 10 years, he said. "Do research and find out what the vendors are rallying behind." The answer, he said, lies in the "O3 zone" - open source, open standards and open systems.
2) Consolidation. Have a 360 view of your business and start to migrate to do more with less, so that there is less cost to manage. Start at the hardware layer and then move to the database and then applications, to higher levels of abstraction.
3) Automate. Take advantage of grid computing by deploying groups of small, cheap servers, or leverage on Oracle on demand to have software delivered as a service, so that the enterprise can focus on its core business.