IBMs Database VP: Our Grid Scales Better

By Lisa Vaas  |  Posted 2004-11-02 Print this article Print

Q&A: Bob Picciano, vice president of database technology at IBM's Toronto lab, says the company continues to pummel main database rival Oracle in terms of price and scalability.

Sure, says IBMs database guru, Oracle is talking a good game on grid computing with Oracle Database 10g, but IBMs still pummeling its biggest database competitor in terms of price and in terms of how many nodes its technology has scaled to in production environments—try 1,000, compared with Oracle Corp.s 16. Database Editor Lisa Vaas recently caught up with Bob Picciano, vice president of database technology in the IBM Canada Laboratory, to find out what the Toronto lab has been up to lately, besides trying to wrest its reputation as grid king back from the Redwood Shores, Calif., clan. Beyond attempting to drive IBMs grid technology deep into industries such as financial services, it turns out that the database crew has been busy with the recently released DB2 (which was code-named Stinger), with Information Integrator and with satisfying customers insatiable hunger for content management solutions.
How is DB2 8.2 set to compete with Oracle Database 10g?
Great new features in 8.2 have again been met with positive reception by our clients, especially new features for 8.2 that deal with high availability. It really delivers a very simple way to set up a high-availability failover environment with a much more cost-effective value proposition than our closest competitor: up to 60 percent savings in some cases When were talking about competing in terms of high availability, were talking Oracle RAC (Real Applications Cluster) technology. How is IBM doing competing with Oracle vis-à-vis grid and clustering? There were statements by members of Oracles executive team of their capabilities in the grid space. Weve participated in over 100 new grid implementations this year [alone]. [In the meantime,] the Waters Group [which publishes the financial magazine Waters] gave us the No. 1 ranking for grid solutions. Click here to read about Sun Microsystems grid vision. What is it about the financial services industry that makes IBMs technology stand out in that vertical? Our notion is that … [database and grid technologies have] to be open and allow participation with a variety of information sources, and to do so by allowing people to use open interfaces and open application models. The interesting thing about Oracles technology is its only suited for small sources of deployment. You know the limitations on RAC: It can only scale to 16 nodes. Anything beyond that in their architecture is considered a proof of concept. Most of their grids are homogenous clusters either for availability or adding a node for computing capability. We can scale to 1,000 nodes. In DB2, weve had many customers doing that. Next Page: On to Linux integration work.

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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