Oracle puts faith in grid

9 Oct 2003

Last month Oracle Ireland introduced its first grid computing technology, 10g database, as part of a global product launch.

The product was unveiled at the Helix Theatre, DCU, which was filled with over 300 customers and partners. Speaking at the event, Phil Codd, account director with Oracle Ireland, predicted a bright future for the technology. “We believe grid is the next important wave in computing today. The concept allows you to take much greater advantage of existing IT infrastructure.”

The term ‘grid computing’ refers to the clustering of server systems into a single supercomputer, resulting in a utility-like environment for the user and greater efficiency of computer use. Gary Pugh, marketing director, Oracle UK & Ireland, said that the growing complexity of the corporate computing environment combined with the drive to cut IT costs had created a demand for technology that would squeeze more capacity out of existing IT systems and simultaneously reduce cost. That technology, he asserted, was Oracle 10g (‘g’ standing for grid).

“The evolution of computers from the original mainframe systems has brought a lot of benefits. For instance, they are cheaper and more powerful. The downside is that companies have more servers to manage, maintain and look after than ever before. Also, we are running machines at a fraction of their capacity – the utilisation of servers is only about 60pc on average. So grid computing is not about buying new assets; it’s about using the assets we’ve got.”

He added that the adoption of grid systems was being accelerated by other complementary market trends such as the growing popularity of Linux, networked storage technologies that create mobile pools of storage capacity and the advent of faster connection systems such as fibre channel. “All of these technologies are the reason why we should start thinking about the grid,” said Pugh.

The benefits, he said, include better asset utilisation, lower hardware acquisition and maintenance costs and a pay-as-you-go payment model whereby users can add capacity as they need it rather than pay for it up-front. “It’s a continuation of our march towards software as a service rather than just a piece of software wrapped in a box,” said Pugh.

Despite the grid’s association with large-scale computing, Codd claimed it was equally suitable for smaller organisations that want to get the most from their existing IT systems. “Grid does not mean huge enterprises. Irrespective of the size of your organisation you can implement 10g,” he remarked.

Oracle also recently announced the global launch of a new database specifically tailored to the needs of small business. Oracle Standard Edition One is a single-processor version of the Oracle Standard Edition database. Features include easy, rapid installation, simplified management and greater affordability.

Irish pricing for 10g or Standard Edition One has yet to be announced.

By Brian Skelly