From the Editor
Answers SharedBy Tom Haunert
Oracle Grid Computing meets the changing needs of business.
Many years ago, a developer at work offered to install some required source control software on my new office desktop computer. I accepted the offer and left him to do the installation.
I came back a little earlier than planned, and I found the developer running the then-new SETI@home program on my machine. I cleared my throat to let him know I was back, and he started telling me about—or maybe selling me on—the software and its approach.
He explained that the software would run only when processor cycles weren’t being used for anything else. He further explained that my computer would be one of thousands on the internet, each analyzing a very small chunk of the recorded noise of the universe in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence.
I thanked the developer for the explanation and respectfully asked him to remove the software (which he did). But I also remember being sold on the general idea of splitting up big tasks to different computers and processors. (SETI@home just wasn’t for me or for my work machine.)
From Problems to Business
When I looked up grid computing on Wikipedia recently, I found it defined as “the application of several computers to a single problem at the same time”—and by that basic definition, SETI@home can be considered an example of grid computing. For business, however, grid computing is much more than that, beginning with the fact that you’re always dealing with more than “a single problem.” For business, grid computing enables groups of networked computers to be pooled and provisioned on demand to meet changing needs.
Different business users have different needs and questions, and they use different applications to do their jobs. So instead of dedicated servers and storage for each application, Oracle Grid Computing enables multiple applications to share computing infrastructure. This sharing produces a cascade of benefits, including improved performance, scalability, manageability, availability, and power efficiency—all while reducing costs.
Improved performance typically means faster performance, and faster performance can shave fractional seconds or even minutes off a process. The best process performance improvements will also impact business at the bottom line, by producing better business performance and providing competitive advantages. With Oracle Grid Computing, faster process performance can be exponential and can take business performance and competitive advantage to another level.
In “Lead with Intelligence,” Oracle customers describe their use of Oracle data warehouse, business intelligence, and enterprise performance management solutions. The search for business intelligence is different for each customer; each uses different Oracle products and technologies and different infrastructures. Allegro Group, one of the world’s largest internet auction sites and the largest e-commerce company in eastern Europe, uses Oracle Database; Oracle Business Intelligence Suite, Enterprise Edition Plus; and the HP Oracle Database Machine to answer questions. This software—plus the grid computing power of the machine’s eight database servers with 64 processor cores, storage grid of 14 HP and Oracle Exadata Storage Servers with 112 processor cores, and Oracle Real Application Clusters—produces business-changing answers.
“A query that used to take 24 hours to complete now runs in less than 30 minutes on the HP Oracle Database Machine,” says Christian Maar, CIO of the Allegro Group in Poznań, Poland. With Oracle software and the HP Oracle Database Machine, Allegro Group has also gone from producing biweekly reports to providing daily business intelligence, and Maar expects that eventually information will be available even faster than that. “By the end of 2009, we plan to offer real-time information—information with a maximum of 30 minutes delay.”
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Tom Haunert, Editor in Chief