Oracle readying standard for grid

Oracle plans to propose a standard for data movement in computing grids to the Global Grid Forum next month, an Oracle official said Tuesday at the OracleWorld conference in San Francisco.

The proposal, to be made in partnership with an as-yet-unnamed vendor, is intended to provide for a uniform method of writing applications to run in grids, said Benny Souder, Oracle vice president of distributed database development.

"You don't want to have write a different version of (an) application for every software provider," he said.

Oracle at the show this week is heavily promoting grid computing, which involves linking distributed systems to apportion compute cycles for applications as if the systems were a single system. Oracle this week introduced the 10g versions of its database and application server as grid-enabled systems, which will run applications in a grid without requiring a rewrite, according to Oracle officials. Oracle's 10g technology will be part of the grid standard proposal, Souder said.

The Global Grid Forum, according to the organization's Web site, is "a community-initiated forum of 5,000-plus individual researchers and practitioners working on distributed computing, or 'grid' technologies." The organisation is scheduled to meet in Chicago October 5-9.

Souder also said the next version ofOracle Enterprise Manager would enable provisioning of operating systems for grids. Enterprise Manager is a key component of Oracle's grid plan.

"Right now, we don't (provision) the OS but that's coming in the near term," Souder said.

Also at the show, Oracle's Jim Finn, vice president of corporate communications, had sharp words for rival IBM , in comparing IBM's on demand computing strategy to Oracle's grid efforts. Finn charged that IBM is trying to boost financial prospects for its mainframes and consulting services with its On Demand effort.

"We really view the On Demand model by IBM as much more of a financing model involving mainframes and consulting services. As you'd imagine, our approach is completely software-oriented," Finn said.

Oracle's approach is to enable customers needing more compute power to simply add a $4,000-$5,000 blade server instead of large, expensive systems, said Finn.

IBM, in a prepared statement, rejected Oracle's arguments.

"IBM's on demand strategy is based on helping customers transform their business processes while leveraging their existing IT infrastructure - hardware, software and services. The goal is to help businesses of all sizes gain more efficiencies, increase ROI and better service their customers. It's clear that Oracle has a very narrow view of what 'on demand' is all about because they can't provide customers the full breadth of capabilities necessary in today's business environments," IBM said.

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