New Oracle Support on Tap

Network Appliance rolls out database management, clustering products.

New offerings from Network Appliance Inc. could enhance the manageability of Oracle Corp. databases and bolster the use of Oracles application clustering technology.

The storage software and hardware company last week rolled out SnapDrive for Oracle, software for managing Oracle8i and Oracle9i database deployments running on Windows 2000.

At the same time, Network Appliance introduced a bundled offering of its NetApp filer storage appliances along with Solaris-based servers from Fujitsu Siemens Computers for running Oracle9is clustering technology, called Real Application Clusters.

In some configurations, the SnapDrive data management software improves availability and manageability of data from enterprise applications, such as enterprise resource planning and customer relationship management systems, according to a Network Appliance official, in Sunnyvale, Calif. This is particularly true in a multitiered architecture, where the application sits on an application server that is connected to a database with network storage behind it, the official added. Through storage virtualization, the software allows a NetApp filer to present itself to the Oracle database as a locally attached device, which provides more centralized management of all storage resources.

Essentially, the technology allows applications to operate in a local disk context and use network storage in a transparent fashion, according to officials.

Along with Oracle, SnapDrive is available now for deployments of Microsoft Corp.s SQL Server. SnapDrive for Oracle costs between $3,000 and $12,000, depending on which NetApp filer is deployed.

Steven Almera, senior systems administrator at the San Diego Data Processing Corp., the IT arm of the city of San Diego, said a software tool that makes storage more transparent for Oracle running on Windows could be useful because it is often more difficult to manage database storage in Windows compared with Unix. The SDDPC runs mostly Oracle8i on Unix, although a few city agencies use Windows, Almera said.

"This could definitely be something of interest to us," Almera said. "You have to make sure you configure Windows properly, and this sounds like it makes it easier to integrate. But is it worth buying? ... Id have to understand what other value it provides."

On the hardware side, the certified Network Appliance and Fujitsu Siemens combination for Oracle application clustering is the first certified hardware combination supporting Network Appliances filer storage in the Solaris environment, officials said. It runs the NetApp filers with Primepower servers from Fujitsu Siemens, a joint venture between Siemens AG and Fujitsu Ltd. Along with certifying the combination, the two companies are cooperating on offering joint customer support.

The combined storage and server offering can be purchased as a bundle or as individual components.