Still Sound Scary

By Lisa Vaas  |  Posted 2004-12-08 Print this article Print

?"> Still sound scary? Ellison pointed to the global financial data hub, which has allowed banking systems to store their data in one huge, virtual database in order to rapidly check credit and process credit cards. Such a hub, the first "modern information-age application," dramatically changed the worldwide economy, Ellison said. "This isnt a single database inside a company," he said. "This is a single database for the planet Earth. The single, global database that keeps track of all the people who issue credit and every credit-worthy individual on the planet Earth. "It has to be one database. It has to be in one place. If you put down a rectangular piece of plastic in a watch store in Switzerland and buy a $5,000 watch, I need to know as the store manager whether to give you that watch, and I have to do it in a matter of seconds."
In a similar way, Oracles Customer Data Hub will be the most important hub in a series that Oracle plans to roll out.
The only way to build such a system that scales and never breaks is to build it on top of a grid instead of a single mainframe computer, Ellison said, which is how the global credit hub works. Such a solution is a selling point for Oracles 10g grid architecture, which promises cheaper, faster performance through the tying together of many low-cost servers, as opposed to relying on a small number of large mainframes. "Grids are dramatically faster than mainframes," Ellison said. "Mainframes are no longer the gold standard of performance. … Youre buying processors … for a big mainframe, theyre at least $50,000 per processor, as opposed to $2,500 per processor for commodity servers." Whats the difference between real-time operational data stores and the data hub concept Oracle has come up with? The parameters could be instantaneous or a matter of seconds or minutes, Ellison said, depending on customer-set parameters. "But contrast that to a warehouse, which might be out of date by a month or more," Ellison said. Read more here about how data hubs will link information from multiple applications. During a news conference following his keynote, Ellison said Oracle will sell the data hub concept based on the premise that its faster, cheaper and more reliable computing. He compared Oracles version of grid and data hubs with IBMs On-Demand initiative, saying IBM has no ability to plug in additional servers as the need for computing resources escalates. "IBMs On-Demand offering is, Well give you a mainframe computer," he said. "They put a meter on the computer. If you use 12 [CPUs], you pay for 12 [CPUs]. Its a really a contract. They have no ability to plug in additional stuff." Ellison said that over the five years that Oracle itself has built a central database, the company has seen its profit margin grow to 40 percent—a doubling over the time frame. "I watched friends running businesses that are still decentralized," he said. "That is so stunningly inefficient, it prevents you from being competitive." Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest database news, reviews and analysis.

Lisa Vaas is News Editor/Operations for and also serves as editor of the Database topic center. Since 1995, she has also been a Webcast news show anchorperson and a reporter covering the IT industry. She has focused on customer relationship management technology, IT salaries and careers, effects of the H1-B visa on the technology workforce, wireless technology, security, and, most recently, databases and the technologies that touch upon them. Her articles have appeared in eWEEK's print edition, on, and in the startup IT magazine PC Connection. Prior to becoming a journalist, Vaas experienced an array of eye-opening careers, including driving a cab in Boston, photographing cranky babies in shopping malls, selling cameras, typography and computer training. She stopped a hair short of finishing an M.A. in English at the University of Massachusetts in Boston. She earned a B.S. in Communications from Emerson College. She runs two open-mic reading series in Boston and currently keeps bees in her home in Mashpee, Mass.

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