Oracle wants to control the grid with 10g
Grid Computing is a revolutionary concept that has the potential
to change many computing paradigms, but till date, it has largely attracted
academic interest alone. However, the entry of Oracle into this space with Oracle
10g could spark off corporate interest in Grid Computing and forever change
the way we look at enterprise computing itself, say Srikanth R P and Rahul
||Oracle India managing director Shekhar Dasgupta says
that Oracle wants to recreate its success in the Internet computing space
in Grid Computing
While the concept of Grid Computing is all about strength in numbers and applying
this idea to tap the huge unutilised power of networked PCs, in reality, this
concept has not taken off as expected. But the coming of Oracle 10g could change
the way Grid Computing is looked at todayfrom being a tool of interest
to the scientific community to a vital enterprise application. The enterprise
applications major is positioning Oracle 10g as an infrastructure software comprising
of a database, application server, enterprise manager and developer software.
What does this mean for enterprises? Till date, enterprises had to allocate
dedicated hardware for specific applications. Take for instance, an organisation
like the National Stock Exchange, the third largest stock exchange in the world
in terms of volume of transactions. The organisation uses different sets of
hardware for applications like index calculation and monitoring (run during
market hours) and settlement and reconciliation (run after the market closes).
The first set of hardware is busy during the day, but lies idle after market
hours. Similarly, once the market winds up for the day, the settlement and reconciliation
systems that lie largely under utilised get cracking to complete the processing
in finite time. Incidentally, NSE.IT happens to be one of the organisations
that has conducted beta testing for Oracle 10g in India. Now, NSE could hypothetically
use the Grid Computing facility in Oracle 10g to utilise idle capacity in the
two systems by provisioning some of the processing power of the settlement system
to the online monitoring system during market hours and vice-versa during post-market
Under utilisation of resources among enterprises is said to be as high as 40
percent to 60 percent. Using a Grid Computing architecture like Oracle 10g could
help organisations achieve effective utilisation of resources. The bottom line
is that by using Grid Computing features of the new software, an organisation
can use existing infrastructure to handle increasing loads for much longer than
individual sets of servers with their dedicated applications.
Says Shekhar Dasgupta, managing director, Oracle India, While Internet
computing had a fairly pervasive effect, it still faces certain issues. First,
it has created islands of computation. Because of the sheer size of each application,
what organisations tended to do was to create separate servers
for different applications. Additionally, there are certain times when a particular
application requires a huge amount of computation resources whereas the others
dont. A typical enterprise user reacts by putting in additional
resources. But invariably, this addition of resources leads to under utilisation
Dasgupta says that Oracles new architecture would help businesses treat
groups of servers and storage equipment as if they were a one large system and
assign computing resources to applications on an as-needed basis. Thus, instead
of having to predict how much capacity theyll need to run their applications
and running the danger of buying too much, an IT department can reassign resources
from elsewhere in a network as and when they are required. Oracles architecture
would also allow an application to switch over to a different server if a particular
server goes down. The 10g application server will also have new provisioning
features that make it easier to shift software configurations from one group
of servers to another.
||According to Gaurav Verma, existing Oracle customers
would gain most from 10g as a simple upgrade would give them close to a
one-third performance improvement and a 50 percent reduction in management
Unlike other vendors, Oracle has a clear advantage. For starters, Oracle has
a clear lead in the database segment in India. Oracle now wants to reach out
to the same market base and expose them to other service offerings. To encourage
adoption, Oracle has priced the Oracle 10g product in the same range as Oracle
9i products. In fact, existing customers of Oracle who are under annual support
for earlier versions of Oracle software are entitled to a free upgrade to Oracle
Adds Gaurav Verma, manager marketing, Oracle India, Existing Oracle customers
are in the most advantageous position to gain from this development as a simple
upgrade would give them close to a one-third performance improvement with a
reduction of 50 percent in management costs. Additionally, as the software
allows the creation of grids made of groups of inexpensive Intel-based servers
(including blades) running Linux OS, it allows organisations to deploy systems
at a lower cost. The Linux angle is key as many organisations in India are looking
at adopting a combination of Intel and Linux.
Even in terms of performance, Oracle 10g database is about 28 percent faster
than its predecessor, Oracle 9iwhich Oracle claims is still the fastest
database for running applications. The third important fact is manageability.
A significant part of an organisations expenditure is spent on managing
database resources. Oracle officials claim that management of a typical database
in the Oracle 10g environment would take 44 percent lesser time and 47 percent
fewer steps than in earlier environments. The self-managing nature of the database
could prove to be important for smaller and mid-sized organisations, as they
would need lower investments in database administration (DBA) skills since database
administrators would be able to handle more databases from a single location.
Organisations can also use the grid control feature to allocate provisioning
of resources dynamically.
Dasgupta claims that Oracle has made the complexity of clustering and the grid
so invisible that the end-user will not know what is happening at the back-end.
The improved Enterprise Manager will now have an Automatic Storage Management
system. You dont need separate utilities and manual intervention
to manage storage. There are some 500 new updates added to the Enterprise Manager,
Dasgupta explains. The grid control feature will provide unified and simplified
management of the entire gamut of systems, ranging from storage, database servers
to application servers. This automated process is predefined in the software
itself, and is not visible to the user.
Oracle India has been busy chalking out an aggressive marketing strategy for
10g. Says Dasgupta, Oracle 10g holds a lot of promise for SME organisations
in India. The highly automated and self-managing nature of Oracle 10g means
that smaller organisations have to invest less time and money on managing information
within their organisations. Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) and integration
partners are another important link in Oracles India strategy. Besides
the ISVs, the Oracle India Development Centre has also contributed significantly
to the development of Oracle 10g.
While the standards for Grid Computingmeant to ensure that products from
different vendors will interoperate, are still in their infancyOracle
has addressed this by basing its architecture on the Open Grid Services Architecture
framed by the Global Grid Forum. Additionally, as Oracle has a lead in the database
segment, it can use the reach of its database to power adoption of its Grid
Computing architecture. While other vendors are also working on their own Grid
Computing strategies, the main difference between other vendors and Oracle could
be the strength and reach of Oracles databases.
While Oracle has a huge opportunity to cross-sell its other enterprise offerings
with Oracle 10g, the launch of this software is significant for Oracle as the
company has been trying to lower the cost of maintaining Oracle databases. This
would help it in increasing reach to mid-sized customers, a market where Microsoft
has been strong with SQL Server. A confident Dasgupta says, When we talked
about Internet computing, it was received with a fair amount of scepticism.
Today, nobody talks of a client-server type of environment. We feel the same
thing will happen in the Grid Computing space too.
- New self-management capabilities allow users to automatically identify
performance problems and perform back-up and recovery.
- Automatic storage management allows users to manage files and distribute
- New deployment option offers a single processor version of the
database software, dubbed Oracle Standard Edition One.
- Users can install the software via a single, 17-minute CD
- Oracle 10g will support HP-UX, Linux, Mac OS, Windows and Solaris