Oracle 10g: Its the Automation, Stupid

By Lisa Vaas  |  Posted 2003-12-17

Oracle 10g: Its the Automation, Stupid

Welcome to the promised land.

Were finally pulling in to the world of Oracle grid computing. Last week we got Oracle Application Server 10g, earlier today it was Oracle Identity Management, and in early January comes the jewel in the crown: Oracle Database 10g.

Now that were finally getting our hands on components of Oracles grid platform, its time to ask: Will it live up to the hype?

As far as Oracle Application Server 10g goes, Craig Read, IT director at MTrilogix Inc., in Toronto, and also president of the TOUG (Toronto Oracle Users Group), is giving it a hearty thumbs-up. Read says that the application server is allowing him to quickly deploy application load across many servers, just as advertised. "Theres a bigger chunk of software that you can deploy with the application configuration. If you have a number of Windows servers, you can take the application and its configuration from one Windows server, use [Oracle Application Server 10gs] application configuration wizard, and deploy it across a group of other Windows servers," said Read. "When you do that, you can use another utility called Workload Manager to manage the application and the load on it."

Workload management: Now, thats nothing new. What is new is the fact that its now automated so that deploying load-balancing across servers is "much easier," according to Read. And thats the common theme across the board with 10g: automation. Its what Oracle is banking on to make this stuff palatable to small and medium-sized businesses, although that aspiration is likely a pipedream, given the hefty price. The Java edition of Application Server 10g is $5,000 per CPU. The Standard edition, including last weeks release plus the Oracle Portal, is $10,000 per CPU. The full Enterprise Edition is $20,000 per CPU.

So its expensive—no big surprise there. What else is there not to like about Application Server 10g?

Well, its kind of clunky, Read said. "Its a big, heavy product, only applicable in certain companies," he said. That includes large enterprises and those doing a lot of Web-based Internet or intranet work, and/or those who need to tie their business systems to their partners systems. For the average company, its probably overkill, Read said, and theres certainly cheaper alternatives in the market.

Todays release of OIM continues the automation theme. OIM is the single infrastructure that will now manage security for all products, integrating scalable, robust identity management while adding an LDAP directory service, directory integration, provisioning services and more.

Next page: And then theres Oracle Database 10g.

Page Two

Still to come is Oracle Database 10g. With that finishing touch, Oracle will be handing the market its version of dynamic provisioning: the ability to apply computing resources to a problem at hand fairly easily, without having to buy very expensive, complex equipment.

The courts still out on whether this will actually save anybody any money. As Read pointed out, this stuffs still expensive. Oracle plans to charge the same for Database 10g as Oracle 9i: $5,995 per CPU and $195 per named user for Standard Edition One, $15,000 per CPU and $300 per named user for Standard Edition, and $40,000 per CPU and $800 per named user for Enterprise Edition.

But, as pointed out by Carl Olofson, an IDC analyst, if everything goes as planned, if the product design and intent all work as advertised, maybe, just maybe, you wont have to spend the equivalent of a small countrys GNP on consulting services to get this all up and running—thanks, again, to automation. "They put in so many self-administering features," Olofson said. "Administration is more automated, with fewer options. They trimmed the number of settings from over 100 to around 30. Theyre fairly straightforward options, and all have defaults that are fairly valid."

Users and analysts attest that yes, indeed, the administration part has been simplified, node configuration now features automated recognition of newly added nodes, and, overall, most of this vast, complex beast we call 10g has been successfully automated.

True, theres a lot to this release. It has a ton of power. It can be a little scary. But, as Olofson said, its like getting a new car with a zillion new automatic features. You know theyre there, and it can be a bit intimidating if you start poking around under the hood. Maybe, Olofson said, if you tend to become overwhelmed by details, you can still take 10g for a spin.

Just keep the hood down.

Have you played with Database 10g yet? Application Server 10g? OIM? Let me know if they live up to the hype by writing to me at

Do you buy into Oracles grid vision? Click here to chime in on the discussion at eWEEK forum.

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