Oracle Rolls Out First Grid Solution

The new application server offers nearly 600 new features, including advancements in integration and the Web services infrastructure. Oracle officials say the early adopters of 10g and of grid computing in general are coming from a variety of industries.

"We're getting interest from the traditional innovators in financial services and the government sector, and we've gotten a surprising amount of interest from customers in the automotive industry, who are looking for a lot better efficiency in how their infrastructure is used," says Robert Shimp, Oracle's vice president of technology marketing.

Application Server 10g supports and enables J2EE, enterprise portal software, high-speed caching, business intelligence, identity management, rapid application development, wireless capabilities and Web services. Grid-computing capabilities are designed to reduce the time, labor and cost of IT management by pooling servers, storage and software as needed, letting companies use their grid for all enterprise applications rather than buying more capacity for separate applications. Application Server 10g allows organizations to run existing applications on enterprise grids without modifications.

Oracle's pitch for grid has centered around how easy it is for companies to implement slowly without overhauling their entire infrastructure.

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"You can start slowly with a few servers and add more elements as you integrate applications on the grid," Shimp says. "Many customers are moving toward a grid framework and don't even realize it, but the more devices and applications you put onto the grid, the better it works."

He adds that the grid model should appeal not only to large organizations, but also to SMBs that use outsourcing partners to help run their networks.

Oracle partners that are helping the company implement its grid vision say the concept is constantly evolving. One such partner is Platform Computing, a longtime grid software developer in Toronto that also resells Oracle solutions and works with other VARs that are trying to break into the grid space.

"It absolutely helps the grid market to have Oracle on board," says Ian Baird, Platform's chief business architect. "The definition of grid changes every day, but the general notion of it stays the same. It's best-suited for technical computing, analytics, data mining and other heavily computational sectors."

Application Server 10g is available in three versions: Java Edition, which costs $5,000 per processor or $100 per user; Standard Edition, $10,000 per processor or $200 per user; and Enterprise Edition, $20,000 per processor or $400 per user. The company plans to release its grid-enabled database by the end of the year and the developer tools in January or February.