With 10g, Oracle latches onto the grid

Oracle Corp. is retooling its flagship product to embrace the grid-computing concept of pooled computing resources.

The changes in Oracle's software reflect today's "do more with less" trends, said Charles A. Rozwat, Oracle's executive vice president for server technologies. Rozwat and other Oracle executives spoke yesterday at a meeting in Washington.

Oracle 10g, first announced at an Oracle users' conference last month, will start shipping in December, Rozwat said. The 10g product will consist of a database, an application server and a Java-based management tool called Enterprise Manager, which runs the grid infrastructure.

Oracle defines grid computing as the coordinated use of many small servers acting as one large computer, said Charles Phillips, an executive vice president with the company. Since most enterprise servers operate far below capacity, balancing peak loads among them means that agencies wouldn't have to buy a big new server to run a new application, but could instead take advantage of the capacity they already have.

Factors driving grid technology include cost-cutting pressures, inexpensive blade servers based on the Intel processor architecture, the development of networked storage and fast interconnect technologies such as Gigabit Ethernet and InfiniBand, Phillips said.

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

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

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.

Patricia Daukantas writes for Government Computer News magazine.

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