With 10g, Oracle gets on the grid

With the latest release of its flagship database suite, Oracle Corp. has embraced the grid-computing concept of pooled resources.

The software reflects a move toward low-cost blade servers and fast networks, said Charles A. Rozwat, Oracle's executive vice president for server technologies, speaking last week in Washington.

Oracle 10g, announced last month, will arrive in December with a database manager, an application server and a Java tool called Enterprise Manager, which coordinates a grid of many small servers acting as one large computer, said Charles Phillips, an executive vice president.
Most enterprise servers operate far below capacity, he said, so balancing peak loads among them can reclaim wasted capacity and reduce the need to buy new servers.

Factors driving grid computing include inexpensive blade servers based on Intel processors, the growth of networked storage, and fast interconnect technologies such as Gigabit Ethernet and InfiniBand, Phillips said.

The company is not trying to compete with longstanding open-source and academic grid efforts such as the Globus Project, Rozwat said. Oracle belongs to the Global Grid Forum and will include the Globus toolkit in 10g, he said.

The company has not yet announced 10g pricing, but Oracle9i has a variety of per-processor, per-user and enterprise license arrangements.

Mapped out

Oracle has mapped its existing database, application server and e-business application suite to the Federal Enterprise Architecture and will do the same for 10g, said Mark Johnson, Oracle's vice president for federal sales.

At the product launch, two federal speakers described their experiences with Oracle products.
Harry House, database applications leader for the Wisconsin district of the Geological Survey's Water Resources Division in Middleton, Wis., said he looks forward to installing the Oracle 10g suite as soon as it comes out. 'We're not one of these groups that wait a year for it to stabilize,' he said.

At the moment, his division has one database administrator trying to watch over 35 servers in a mixed environment of Red Hat Linux and Microsoft Windows 2000 Server, House said.

His group uses Oracle products to run the National Water Quality Assessment Program data warehouse, which incorporates data from the legacy National Water Information System database.

Larry Callant, an Environmental Protection Agency software developer in Chicago, said his group's current Oracle database has been running for three years without a crash. He said the group wants 10g because it supports aerial photograph formats and vector graphics.

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