IBM last month announced that its WebSphere application server would be grid-enabled.
The latest version of WebSphere Application Server, WebSphere 5.0.2 Enterprise Edition, includes grid-computing features that let customers tap unused or underutilized resources across their enterprise and use them in the way utilities employ a grid of sources that can deliver power to users on demand.
Magee said Oracle supports the Open Grid Services Architecture (OGSA) and the Open Grid Services Infrastructure (OGSI) standards, which are focused on developing a grid systems architecture based on Web services.
Part of Oracles plans for the Oracle Application Server 10G includes Web services management features to foster reuse of applications and services. The new grid-based Oracle application server will feature an upgrade of the Oracle Application Development Framework (ADF), which will be a services-based framework for building reusable services for components applications, "which can then be provisioned more dynamically in the Oracle 10G platform," Magee said.
"Oracle is definitely on the right track in adding grid capabilities to their database, application server and management tools," said Mary Johnston Turner, Enterprise Strategies practice director at Summit Strategies Inc., a Boston-based market research firm. "Their strategy is similar to what IBM has already announced with its on-demand operating environment architecture. I expect over the next year or two we will see most major vendors offer a grid-based strategy for federating data access and managing IT resources across the enterprise. I expect grid-based integration and management will quickly prove to be more efficient than traditional approaches while providing a more flexible, standards-based way to reach across different environments."
Meanwhile, with the new Oracle 10G platform, users will be able to run existing applications without having to optimize them for the grid, Magee said.
Oracle knows it cannot pull off its plans alone. The company will focus on partnerships to bring its grid plans to life. "In particular were looking at partnerships with platform vendors that well leverage to bring grid to commercial environments…" Magee said. "You need off-the-shelf components, like blades from Dell, HP and Sun, for instance."
Magee added that what separates grid from clustering is that there is much more automation with grid computing.
Although Oracle will support all major operating systems, Linux is a very important part of this trend, Magee said. "When you look at these commodity clusters, a big fat expensive operating system sticks out like a sore thumb in this model."
IBMs grid strategy also focuses on Linux. IBM Research and IBMs software teams developed the companys WebSphere grid technology over the last two years. It is the latest effort the company has made to work grid computing into the enterprise. In January, IBM announced 10 new grid solutions for five key markets.
IBM introduced grid offerings for the aerospace, automotive, financial and life sciences industries, as well as for the government, said Dan Powers, vice president of grid strategy at IBM, in Armonk, N.Y.
IBM is partnering with DataSynapse Inc., Platform Computing Inc., Avaki Corp., Entropia Inc. and United Devices Inc. as middleware suppliers. IBM also signed reseller agreements with DataSynapse and Platform Computing. IBM will provide services in five basic areas: research and development, engineering and design, business analytics, enterprise optimization and government development, Powers said.