Dell Pushes Blade Standards for Grid

By Matthew Hicks  |  Posted 2003-09-08 Print this article Print

Customers planning to deploy grid on blade servers need some help from the computing industry in the form of better standards, said Dell at this week's OracleWorld show in San Francisco.

SAN FRANCISCO—Dell Chairman and CEO Michael Dell touted the grid religion during the OracleWorld conference here, talking about how the push would improve performance, reduce costs and ease management. But the pathway toward grid computing has some hurdles in the way. Customers planning to deploy grid on blade servers need some help from the computing industry in the form of better standards, said Dell. "Wed love to see standards," Dell said during a question-and-answer session following his keynote. "(The market) is not going to go anywhere unless you have standards."
Dell declined to specify the needed blade-server standards or the companies working to develop them but said during his keynote that the market for blade servers is falling below expectations because of the need for a common blade architecture.
Dells keynote came as Oracle unveiled its push toward grid computing with the 10G versions of its database, application server and Enterprise Manager management software. Dell focused on the importance of creating a standard set of computing infrastructure—such as Dell hardware, the Linux operating system and Oracle database and applications—to allow enterprises to focus more time and money on strategic technology. Enterprises today spend 80 percent of their IT budgets on infrastructure, he said. "Without standardizing youre just feeding the dinosaurs, and they can eat truckloads of meat," Dell said. "This is not the answer." The push toward grid will take time, Dell said, and likely will become a common approach in enterprise within three to five years. Dell currently sells licensing for Oracle software and Red Hat Linux to customers, and Dell said that bundled approach has led to significant growth over the past two years. These types of implementations currently have grown 46 percent year over year, Dell said. In the future, Dell will push toward offering more services to help enterprises manage their licensing among vendors. Asked about how The SCO Groups legal action is affecting Linux, Dell said the company has noticed little impact and has not paid any license fees as the SCO Group has sought. SCO is demanding licenses from Linux users, claiming it holds intellectual property rights over portions of the open-source operating system. Linux, Dell said, has become the key operating system in the Unix world. "Linux is where its at," he said.
Matthew Hicks As an online reporter for, Matt Hicks covers the fast-changing developments in Internet technologies. His coverage includes the growing field of Web conferencing software and services. With eight years as a business and technology journalist, Matt has gained insight into the market strategies of IT vendors as well as the needs of enterprise IT managers. He joined Ziff Davis in 1999 as a staff writer for the former Strategies section of eWEEK, where he wrote in-depth features about corporate strategies for e-business and enterprise software. In 2002, he moved to the News department at the magazine as a senior writer specializing in coverage of database software and enterprise networking. Later that year Matt started a yearlong fellowship in Washington, DC, after being awarded an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellowship for Journalist. As a fellow, he spent nine months working on policy issues, including technology policy, in for a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He rejoined Ziff Davis in August 2003 as a reporter dedicated to online coverage for Along with Web conferencing, he follows search engines, Web browsers, speech technology and the Internet domain-naming system.

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