Oracle goes for grid computing with 10g

Database giant unveils 10g offerings with enhanced self-management
capabilities designed to automate administrative tasks.

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By  Patrick Phelvin Published  September 29, 2003

Oracle introduces 10g|~||~||~|Oracle has introduced its 10g database to the Middle East. Touting a range of additional self-management and self-diagnostic capabilities, the solution promises to help automate routine administrative tasks, such as statistics collection, instance tuning and memory tuning. As a result, the vendor claims 10g can reduce management headaches, improve administration and generate substantial cost savings.

Key to 10g’s improved self-management is Database Control and Automatic Storage Management (ASM). The former is a web-based console that provides a graphical diagnostic window through which administrators can proactively monitor the database and receive alerts and advice to ensure optimal performance and reliability.

Automatic Storage Management (ASM) is designed to simplify storage configuration and management for Oracle databases. The software hides the underlying complexity of how the database deals with data files and storage subsystems while automatically distributing storage workloads.

“Oracle Database 10g is a major milestone… [it will provide] many immediate benefits to Oracle customers, such as improved performance and lower management costs,” says Husam Dajani, vice president of Oracle Middle East.

The 10g database, which will be available in the local market from December onwards, dovetails with Oracle’s grid computing strategy and ‘making the complex simple’ mantra.

The vendor argues that grid technology enables users to get maximum utilisation from their technology, thus making it possible to address peak loads with less resources. In practical terms, this means when a company’s payroll department is processing pay cheques, for instance, it can take resources or functions from other departments that are not using them.

“In businesses, the applications users want to run changes over the course of a day or a month,” explains Ayman Abouseif, Oracle Middle East’s marketing manager. “In the past, users had to size all these machines at their biggest load, but grid control makes this unnecessary as it redistributes the workload between the different computers and the network depending on workload changes,” he says.

Despite Oracle’s prediction that sales of 10g will bolster the company’s projected growth in the Middle East by between 10% and 20% per annum over the next two years, industry analysts are unsure how rapid adoption will be.

For instance, while Carl Olofson, programme director for information & data management software research at IDC, claims 10g represents a great stride forward, Gartner Group describes it as a visionary idea that has yet to be proven. Elsewhere, Bloor Research believes the grid system may prove more complicated to run than users think, especially when compared to competitor products.

“IBM claims DB2, with its integrated cluster environment (ICE), can support clusters of up to 1,000 Linux nodes, while [Oracle’s] RAC implementations are limited to single or double figures,” says Phil Howard, associate analyst at Bloor Research. “IBM reckons DB2 is easier to manage than an Oracle database, even when you only have a single instance of each database. This is probably true. If you accept this premise then as soon as you appreciate that the ICE environment is managed as if it were a single database instance, then you can appreciate the force of IBM’s argument,” he adds.

Oracle counters allegations of complexity by highlighting the grid system’s user-friendly software and its multitude of self-management features. It also argues that the software’s ability to suggest ways in which processing can be accelerated improves manageability.
“The biggest single enhancement in 10g is management,” says Abouseif. “We have done a number of things that cut out administration and we have added a significant deal of self-management to the database. It is able to figure out how much space it needs and what queries it needs to re-write to run faster,” he explains.

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