9i clusters ties in servers

Clustering is nothing new, but Real Application Clusters are just starting to hit their stride, according to one IT manager.

The city of Coquitlam, B.C., is starting on a new Web venture. The city, along with at least one other community and several organizations, including libraries, school boards and colleges and universities, is creating an e-community for its citizens.

The Smart Choices Community Portal, which will be found online at www.citysoup.ca when it is launched later this year, will be a local, comprehensive gateway to personal, business and government information and services. The overall goal of CitySoup.ca is to enhance the way community members interact with each other, with local businesses and community groups, and with governments.

Rick Adams, manager of information and communications technology for Coquitlam, said this e-community will help provide a more efficient service to the public and they will be to reduce front-counter staff, which will allow them to move those employees to other areas.

In order to prepare their data, Adams said the city is upgrading to Oracle9i, and one benefit of the change is Oracle9i Real Application Clusters (RAC), which bolts onto the Oracle9i enterprise edition database. It lets users run the database across multiple servers as if they were all the same server.

“Oracle9i Real Application Clusters enables the city to run its business on one common infrastructure, thereby reducing administration of multiple applications on multiple server configurations,” Adams said.

He added that 9i is well designed for the Internet and online transactions. “So, it has a lot of pre-built code or applications that we can take advantage of right out of the box.”

Warren Shiau, a software analyst with IDC Canada in Toronto, said with RAC Oracle has people managing multiple instances of the database as one.

“The central database is acting as one implementation,” he said. “When you are scaling up, you can add in another server. In a lot of cases you would have to shut down, here it’s pretty much plug and play.” He noted that when administrators add servers to a cluster, downtime often results. But with RAC technology, that shouldn’t happen.

Brent Chin, national solutions manager for Mississauga, Ont.-based Oracle Canada, said if there are two or three node clusters, 9i will share the database amongst those clusters. “Each node serves to act as a link to the database. If one node goes down, others will pick that data up.”

According to Chin, as system requirements grow, the database will not have to be changed. He said the clustering allows large amounts of data to flow across multiple servers in a single view.

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