Oracle to join grid computing revolution


7 November 2002 Database giant Oracle is expected to unveil its strategy for grid computing next week, in an announcement that will centre on its database clustering technology and open-source Linux software.

Grid computing is intended to provide computing resources on demand, like a utility. The idea is that computers are linked together over the Internet to provide computing resources – such as storage, databases, or applications – on demand to users.

Oracle will announce a grid computing toolkit at the OracleWorld conference in San Francisco, California next week. The Oracle Grid Developers Kit will be available free to members of the Oracle Technology Network, the company’s online developer community.

The company said it had taken the open-source grid computing toolkit developed by The Globus Project, an open-source grid computing development group, and customised it to work with Oracle’s database and applications. Oracle claims this toolkit will help developers design applications for its E-business suite to use computing resources on a grid.

Linux will be Oracle’s preferred operating system for grid computing. Oracle will also try to tie the company’s grid computing strategy to its flagship 9i database’s Real Application Clusters (RAC) technology. The company claims that RAC enables organisations to scale the power of their applications, both transaction processing and data warehousing, by simply plugging in additional processing power.

In recent months, Oracle has been heavily marketing RAC’s cost and performance benefits using Linux software and running on Intel microprocessors. However, customers have been slow to purchase RAC software, according to analysts.

Oracle’s grid computing announcement follows similar announcements by systems giants IBM, Sun Microsystems and Hewlett-Packard.

According to analysts, Oracle’s entry into this market could shift the emphasis towards data grids, where networked users access huge silos of data from anywhere. So far, companies such as IBM have focused largely on computing grids where users can access large volumes of processing power to run applications, and data grids to a lesser extent.

“Our strategy is to make it very easy for Oracle customers to do grid computing. We want to make it possible for every Oracle customer to move to the grid,” Benny Shouder, Oracle’s vice president of distributed development told InfoWorld.

Just last week, IBM CEO Palmisano presented the company’s vision for computing on demand, of which grid computing is a key component. To deliver this and other new technologies, Palmisano said IBM will invest $10 billion (€10.1bn) in research and development and acquisitions.

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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