Oracle Revs Up Grid Computing Drive In India

by Hinesh Jethwani    Jul 16, 2004

With a plethora of next-generation technologies hitting the enterprise front, grid computing is slowly creating a distinguishing mark for itself. Two features that are working to its advantage are an intelligent framework and a model that looks increasingly practical to embrace.

Oracle is spearheading the grid computing movement with its first ever grid-enabled database, version 10g. The concept is finally receiving a much-needed thrust from multiple vendors who have extended their support to Oracle’s Enterprise Grid Alliance (EGA).

Speaking to CXOtoday, Brajesh Goyal, principal product manager, grid computing, Oracle Corporation, said, “The grid computing concept first surfaced four years back, and its primary aim is to make computing a utility. I wouldn’t like to brand grid computing as a ’revolution’, because it’s a practical model that businesses can leverage benefits from, and not futuristic. Evolution is the more likely term for it, as it takes the objective of virtualization of computing resources a step ahead. Oracle 10g grid allows enterprises to create one large computer out of their entire server infrastructure.”

Oracle has been using grid computing in its own organization since 1999, and the company has already managed 300 beta customers worldwide. NSE.IT, the first beta-test users of Oracle 10g in India, plans to harness 10g’s grid functionality by coupling its risk management systems and systems running settlement activities together into a virtual grid.

“The primary problem that enterprises face today with distributed computing is the fact that general applications like ledgers, ERPs, etc. cannot be broken down because of their complexity. To counter this, we have grid-enabled our entire database platform, so that anything that runs on top of 10g automatically becomes grid-enabled. The challenges ahead are immense - I am spearheading the effort to build a grid glossary, as there are a lot of confusions and misunderstandings surrounding grid computing today,” explained Goyal.

Another inherent benefit of grid computing is that it reduces granular transparency between the management and technology infrastructure through virtualization. For example, if two servers out of an array of five face downtime, application requests will be immediately routed to available machines. System admins can conveniently reboot servers without the top-level management having any idea that some servers are not functioning. CIOs can effectively distance themselves from lower level problems by turning their IT infrastructure into a virtual grid.

Describing the technical enhancements that Oracle 10g has over 9i, Goyal said, “There is a dedicated grid component called ’listener’, which receives and allocates all queries to available servers. It functions on a specially designed algorithm, which allows queries to be prioritized into master-slave requests. The Real Application Cluster (RAC) feature has been significantly improved in 10g. Since we are backward compatible, even if grid computing evolves, there will be no need for 10g users to rewrite applications. This is the strongest point that we are trying to convey.”

So what advice does Goyal have to give CIOs still using Oracle 9i? Goyal replied, “My recommendation is that they play around with the grid computing features of 10g on the Tier-2 and Tier-3 application side. When they get their proof of concepts right, they can gradually scale to the mission critical front.”

Bhabha Atomic Research Center (BARC) has also successfully deployed a full-scaled grid network at its campus, bringing the commercial enterprise model closer to reality.

HP, IBM, Sun, and Apple have all joined the grid computing race, making it truly a technology to watch out for this year, according to Gartner’s top ten prediction.

Based in Massachusetts, USA, Brajesh will be traveling to promote grid computing in other states of India as well.

Tags: Oracle