Enterprise grids prep wider technology vision: Oracle

With recent fanfare surrounding the direction and delivery of grid computing technology by major systems vendors including Sun, IBM, and HP, Oracle has started deploying the technology within the enterprise as a precursor to trans-data centre grids, according to Oracle Australia’s director of technology and business Roland Slee.

“Grid computing is here today inside the data centre,” Slee said. “10g delivers grid computing today where resources under the database can be controlled dynamically. The commercial attractiveness of grid computing is there and enterprises are beginning to deploy it.”

Slee was specific about how grid computing differs from clustered computers.

“True grid computing is at the hardware and software level such that in a virtual machine, which is made up of many machines can run applications transparently,” he said. “This is why people speak of a five to 10-year vision for the technology.”

According to Slee, Oracle’s vision embraces the idea of a geographically dispersed data centre, which can be utilised wherever and whenever needed.

“Although Oracle’s grid technology does not go beyond the data centre, it is possible to take a piece, or all, of an Oracle database and plug it into another grid which can be on another architecture,” Slee said. “An important distinction between Oracle’s grid technology and that in the realm of scientific research is that ours will run business applications such as general ledger. Grid is the only IT architecture that delivers information without limits or trade-offs.”

Regarding the system architectures that will be used to make grid computing more pervasive, Slee said the advantages of the scale-out model are clear.

“Today the system depends on the physical machine and can be no more scalable,” he said. “By building grid systems from low cost components the computing architecture is more flexible and with fault tolerance is more reliable.”

Oracle’s 10g RAC scales to 64 nodes which Slee described as a capacity which “exceeds real-world requirements”.

In response to IBM’s claims (CW Oct 20, p10) that Oracle’s grid technology is limited to 10g systems, Slee said this is false.

“Oracle has market leading capabilities with heterogeneous databases,” he said. “We have a mature and proven capacity to integrate heterogeneous platform environments in a way that IBM has never been able to. DB2 cannot do what 10g does and we can do grid computing with heterogeneous data sources now.”

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