Oracle launches the grid

Chuck Phillips, executive vice president at Oracle, kicked off the company's big OracleWorld customer show this week in San Francisco with a preview to the coming week that focused on the importance of grid computing to Oracle's future software strategy

Chuck Phillips, executive vice president at Oracle, kicked off the company's big OracleWorld customer show this week in San Francisco with a preview to the coming week that focused on the importance of grid computing to Oracle's future software strategy.

"IT shops are inefficient because they don’t use their assets efficiently," Phillips said, calling current usage models "islands of computation."

By way of example of IT inefficiency, Phillips said many IT shops have one server running at 90 % capacity while another runs at 10%.

"If you have two cars and six people to transport, you wouldn't put five in one car and one in the other," Phillips said.

Load balancing is not easily done, he said, but grid computing will solve the problem.

Phillips also ticked off the confluence of technology events that are now coming together to make the grid happen at this time: cheap computers, commodity blade servers, Internet connections, and an inexpensive OS.

Phillips then took a bit of a shot at rival Microsoft

"You need an inexpensive OS as opposed to an expensive one that acts as a tax on the user. We have that now (with Linux)," he said.

Explaining Oracle's part to play in the expansion of grid computing, Phillips said what is needed now is a software layer to virtualize all of the components.

"That is what Oracle is doing this week," he said.

However, despite the concept of grid computing as a sharing of resources, Phillips also continued the Oracle mantra of users being better served with a single software environment, from the database through the applications.

"It is the shared infrastructure between our products that makes (grid) possible," he said.

Using grid computing as a way in, Oracle appears to be moving to yet another layer of the software stack with Oracle's introduction of the Enterprise Manager Control console, which will manage all of the applications running on a grid architecture.

"Oracle and grid is the culmination of our strategy," Phillips concluded.

In a question and answer session with the press later in the morning, Phillips added that at present grid computing is meant to be done at a single location among servers in a datacentre and is not designed for computing across multiple locations.

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