Oracle to Form Commercial Grid Consortium

Consortium will work to establish standards to open grid computing up to businesses.

Oracle Corp. is working to start a commercial grid consortium that will establish standards to open grid computing up to businesses.

The news was delivered by Executive Vice President of Server Technologies Chuck Rozwat in his keynote speech at OracleWorld on Wednesday in San Francisco.

There are currently a handful of grid consortia that were started within the scientific community, which historically has been the environs of grid computing. One such is the Global Grid Forum. Oracle, of Redwood Shores, Calif., is a member of that forum, and its executives chair some of its subcommittees.

The group that Oracle is looking to found, along with other industry partners that Rozwat declined to name, will look to establish standards for business transaction-oriented grid computing, but it wont compete with GGF, Rozwat said.

"A lot of [the GGFs] focus tends to be on scientific problems," he said. "[Many of the GGFs members] are distributed across multiple organizations across the world and have different levels of need for security and the kind of thing commercial organizations would have interest in."

The differences between scientific and commercial organizations approach to grid technology were made starkly clear by Jamie Sears, a database group leader at CERN, the European organization for nuclear and particle physics research in Geneva, Switzerland.

CERN is now beta testing Oracles 10g grid technology. The organization is running on Linux. When asked whether Linux was stable enough for CERNs needs, Sears said that the operating system is indeed reliable, but even if it werent, it wouldnt matter much. "We see it as being very stable. But were more tolerant of failure," he said. "If a job crashes, you run it again. We dont have the same pressures" as commercial enterprises, he said.

As far as other members go, Oracle is speaking with large customers in the financial services and health-care sector, as well as to players in the IT industry such as hardware and hardware components companies that "have already gone well down this path with grid," Rozwat said. "[For example,] companies that have built blades, or some amount of software. Were looking for people who can contribute based on work theyve done either as users or IT industry companies."

Ken Jacobs, vice president of product strategy in Oracles server technologies division, also addressed the commercial grid news following his OracleWorld keynote on Thursday. "Our interest here is not for just another standards body, and were not interested in competing with the other standards groups out there," he told reporters during a question-and-answer session.

Jacobs said Oracle would provide more details on the consortium later but that the focus would be on developing enterprise requirements for grid computing such as service levels, security and manageability.

"We have sound ideas of the value of this [consortium]," he said.

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