Oracle Corp. chairman and CEO Larry Ellison centered last weeks OracleWorld customer conference on grid computing and, in particular, on Oracles 10g grid system, which is designed to be as expansive, or restricted, as a companys computing infrastructure requires at any given time. Immediately following his keynote speech, which championed the flexibility and low cost of the grid movement (while poking fun at Microsoft Corp. and IBM), Ellison held a question-and-answer session with a group of reporters. This is an edited version of that session.
When will grid computing take place?
Its not something that is going to happen overnight, but its going to be an inexorable move from where we are today because its great computing. The economics are compelling, the reliability is compelling and now its very easy to do.
Is moving to the grid a move away from the one-big-database philosophy that has always been Oracles mantra?
We are saying that you should keep your customer database information on one database; it doesnt matter where you keep it. You shouldnt chop it up into little pieces. We dont believe in distributed data. What we would like to do is apply tremendous computer power to that huge database, and there we want to assemble a mondo server made up of lots of standard components. Its [like] taking separate components and marshaling them to work together.
Do you end up with an Oracle-only grid?
We actually make heterogeneous environments better, but the purity of the [Oracle]-everything grid and the Oracle application server all working together is so attractive, thats what I spend most of my time talking about.
Is the grid a huge, fundamental change?
The fundamental nature of applications is changing from little fragments to the huge, information-age systems. Once we can build these highly reliable, very large grids, you can then take all your information, all your customer data, and put it in one basket. The quality of information that businesses will have will change dramatically.
Didnt you say that the technology industry is getting boring?
I dont think I ever said IT is becoming boring. The industry dynamics will go through a stage of consolidation, which at the end of the consolidation, might make the industry more boring to some.