9 September 2003 Oracle has taken the wraps off its latest database release, 10g, signalling its intention to capture the high ground in grid computing software.
But alongside enhanced support for clustering technology that supports the pooling and allocation of server and storage resources, Oracle 10g also moves the company aggressively into markets it has largely left to third parties ? namely, storage management, systems management and applications integration software.
Due out at the end of 2003, Oracle 10g includes enhancements to the company’s Real Applications Clusters (RAC) capabilities for automating the allocation of processing power to different databases and applications. The aim is to better meet fluctuations in demand and help optimise resource utilisation. Since its release two years ago, RAC has built a solid base of 2,500 customers, with 550 in production.
Its new ‘integrated clusterware’ aims to simplify the creation and operation of database clusters. Previously, users of RAC on different platforms — Unix, Linux and Windows — required a detailed knowledge of the cluster operations of each platform. The product now includes new cluster workload management software designed to shift computing capacity throughout the clustered database as business needs change.
Most early customers have used RAC to provide support for fail over on mid-range and high-end Unix systems. But, according to Andy Mendelsohn, senior VP for database development at Oracle, many new buyers are looking to use the technology to spread processing across low-cost, two- and four-way Intel-based blade servers running Linux — a message that dominates the marketing of 10g.
That pool of servers can be viewed as a single, virtual entity and resources provisioned to different application and database tasks through an upgraded version of the Oracle Enterprise Manager.
Its new Grid Control function provides views of a company’s computing infrastructure, enabling administrators to enforce policies, manage service levels and re-balance existing database and application resources as business requirements change. Enterprise Manager can also cluster application servers and balance their workloads.
Oracle 10g will also help the company to move into several key software markets:
- It has introduced Automatic Storage Management (ASM), a networked storage configuration and management product that will compete head-to-head with offerings from storage giants Veritas, IBM and HP.
- Process Control, part of Oracle Applications Server 10g, is an integration platform and set of adapters for applications integration.
- The company’s new Application Development Framework enables rapid development of J2EE applications through a 4GL-like environment.
- Oracle is also broadening its systems management portfolio with 10g’s Application Performance Monitoring, a tool that traces the root of web site performance problems to underlying applications, databases or networks.