Oracle users in no hurry to embrace grid computing strategy

Oracle's grid computing strategy may have grabbed the attention of users, although several admitted it would be some time before...

Oracle's grid computing strategy may have grabbed the attention of users, although several admitted it would be some time before they implement it in their own companies.

Oracle officially unveiled its 10g family of products this week at the OracleWorld 2003 database user show, providing the cornerstone of its grid computing platform.

The grid concept works by allocating available enterprise resources to handle computing demands as needed, maximising existing IT investments and boosting scalability and performance. Oracle executives claimed that customers can rely on multiple low-cost blade servers which are added as demand spikes, rather than on large, expensive mainframe or Unix boxes, which often are underused. 

However, a couple of users at the show said there are some obstacles for to overcome before they will feel ready to implement Oracle's grid vision. 

For Arthur Fleiss, senior manager at the information systems department at Colgate-Palmolive, the biggest challenge will "be a change in mindset" in his company beyond the one application and one server configuration.

Colgate-Palmolive runs 30 Oracle production databases, including Oracle9i and 8, and is interested in exploiting grid computing to improve reliability and performance. It has been been beta-testing the 10g database since last month. 

Other Oracle users at the show agreed that they were in no rush to implement grid computing. 

"As far as our environment goes, I don't see a need for Oracle's grid architecture," said Jeremy Forman, computer systems analyst at the New Mexico State Highway and Transportation Department.

While Forman sees the potential benefits of harnessing all that CPU and server power, he believed his department is too small for it. "Performance-wise, we're pretty happy how the apps work," he added.

Marc L Songini writes for Computerworld

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