Oracle says grid software can save money

Upgrading to Oracle Corp.’s grid-based software actually can save money by providing for system uniformity, an Oracle official stressed during a panel session at the OracleWorld conference in San Francisco last week.

Frequently, customers believe they must choose between upgrading or saving money, said Dave Dargo, Oracle’s vice-president of platform partners, Linux and performance. But the reality is the longer customers go without upgrading, the higher the operational costs imposed on an organization, he said.

Oracle customers tend to run multiple versions of the database, which drives up expenses, Dargo argued during panel session entitled, “Linux and the Grid.”

“Running multiple versions…really increases your operational costs,” Dargo said.

Grid computing, however, provides for standard processes to cut costs, he said.

“We actually have the ability to manage a single image and clone that image through our deployment tools,” Dargo explained.

Oracle this week introduced grid-enabled versions of its database and application server, version 10g of the products, which are expected to ship by the end of the year. Grids enable multiple systems to be linked and compute resources to be pooled together and apportioned to specific applications.

Asked if grids represent a radical departure for customers, Dargo said, “Radical departures are sometimes good and the radical departure here is something customers have really been clamoring for.”

It’s not just a matter of 10g representing a radical departure, he said. “I think 10g represents a solution to a radical problem out there and that is how (to) manage all these disparate systems that IT is attempting to manage,” Dargo said.

While Oracle is promoting grids for deployment on Linux, the grids will function on any of the operating systems Oracle supports, said Dargo. Linux, however, offers the advantage of not being owned by any single vendor, which allows for a certain amount of tailoring to Oracle’s database, he added.

While Oracle has not yet released pricing details of its 10g products, Oracle chairman and CEO Larry Ellison recommended that the common per-processor pricing model be replaced with a flat annual fee that allows businesses to use as much software as they want.

Dargo said there would be a role for partners, such as Hewlett-Packard Co. and its HP OpenView management software, in Oracle’s grid plan.

“There’s a lot of room for different types of management within the software stack,” Dargo said.