No Comparing

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

Some say the question is, quite simply, a non sequitur, like comparing apples to oranges. "What Oracle calls grid is rather different than what IBM calls grid," said Frank Gillett, a Forrester Research Inc. analyst. "Oracles talking about machines or nodes, whereas much of IBMs usage has little to do with databases and more to do with what DataSynapse does. The financial services community is using … a different definition of grid than what Oracles talking about when theyre talking about grid." At the heart of the dilemma, Gillett said, is that the industry is now host to a medley of terms defining the hazy notion of shared resources: utility computing, on-demand, N-1, adaptive.
"What Oracle is on is an interesting track," said Gillett, in Cambridge, Mass. "What theyre doing is making their equipment more sophisticated and automated, but … we believe its a subset of the grander vision, which has no clean name in the marketplace but gets called N-1 or adaptive or on-demand."
Click here to read about Suns vision for grid computing. What does the murkiness of grids definition do to IBMs desired title as king of grid? It makes it impossible to defend or to challenge, since the companys grid offerings differ so greatly from those of its biggest rival, Oracle, experts said, and it underscores the fact that rankings should be taken with a grain of salt. Oracle couldnt provide comment for this article by the time it was posted, although a spokesman agreed that the current terminology around grid computing is confusing. A follow-up article will examine Oracles strategy around the financial services market and Oracles success in getting its grid message across, now that the first anniversary of 10gs release is close at hand. 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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