RACs True Value

By Lisa Vaas  |  Posted 2004-08-02 Print this article Print

Likewise, Charlie Garry, senior program director for database research at The META Group Inc., said hes hearing good things about RAC, but scalability isnt one of them. "The stuff Ive heard about RAC is pretty positive," he said in Simsbury, Conn. "In fact, I recommend if youre going with RAC, you might as well go with RAC on Linux, since Linux is [Oracles] strategic platform, so youll get the best support. … You want to leverage the true value of RAC. Scalability is not necessarily its strong point. Its strong point is its a great consolidation platform," Garry said. "You can take your existing Oracle instances running on more expensive Sun boxes or IBM or [Hewlett-Packard Co.] boxes and take advantage of more powerful Intel [Inc.] boxes they have nowadays, put it in a single RAC and lower your licensing and hardware costs."
As it is, although interest is running high, merely running Oracle on Linux is still uncharted territory for most enterprises. According to Gartner Inc., RDBMS revenue was about $7 billion in 2003; Linux RDBMS revenue was a puny $300 million slice of that.
Click here for more details on RDBMS market growth in 2003. "Its so new, its basically kind of cutting-edge companies across all sorts of different industries" that are running enterprise databases on Linux, according to Colleen Graham, an analyst at Gartner Dataquest, in Tucson, Ariz. In essence, it requires an enterprise to ask itself if its "willing to go where no one has gone before," she added. That may change, though, what with changes to the Linux kernel that have been back-ported from the 2.6 kernel, Garry noted. "Theyre doing a lot more with I/O handling, synchronous/asynchronous stuff," he said. "A lot of stuff coming is stuff Oracle and IBM themselves have contributed back, initially to the Red Hat [Inc.] edition, but its made its way into the distributions. That makes it easier for databases to run." Oracles Mike Rocha says the Linux kernel is ready to rock and roll. Click here to read the interview. StubHubs with him there. "[Our old] Solaris box was a four-processor box with 4GB of RAM," Kernes said. "That fell well within the limit of Red Hat Linux 2.1 at the time. We felt we could have similar multitasking performance and so forth. "While we were experimenting, Red Hat 2.3 was released with memory enhancements and back-ported to older kernels by Red Hat and Oracle, which allows us to grow our database larger than we could on a single Solaris node." When the time comes, will StubHub be ready to tackle the addition of more nodes to meet its rampant growth? It will have little choice, CEO Fluhr said—lest other sites scalp its ticket growth bonanza away. "As a leader in the ticketing space—youve got concerts and college sports, every venue selling 30,000 tickets per show, with 4,000 major venues in the United States—theres a lot of, lot of tickets," Fluhr said. "Its a big task for the database and for the whole system. For us, its important that our system is able to handle that, and its related to what technologies we choose." Check out eWEEK.coms Database Center at http://database.eweek.com for the latest database news, reviews and analysis.

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Lisa Vaas is News Editor/Operations for eWEEK.com 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 eWEEK.com, 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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