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Compute Backbone - JP Morgan Chase?s Grid Story

Oracle RAC Cluster Tips by Burleson Consulting

This is an excerpt from the bestselling book Oracle Grid & Real Application Clusters.  To get immediate access to the code depot of working RAC scripts, buy it directly from the publisher and save more than 30%.

Grid Computing is extending its reach beyond scientific and technical users towards large-scale commercial enterprise, as evident from the recent adoption of grid technologies at JP Morgan Chase. JP Morgan is one of the largest financial services companies in the US. With technology partners, Platform Computing and Egenera, JP Morgan has been working on what it calls ?Compute Backbone? initiative, service based architecture intended to support its capital market business.

JP Morgan and Platform Computing has collaborated and developed Platform Symphony product, which is a policy driven, real-time application execution layer, including the workload orchestration and service provisioning capabilities. It is used for grid enabling, testing and deploying the applications, and then managing them over a virtualized production environment, or ?service layer? as JP Morgan terms it. While the Platform computing contributed to the grid software layer, the other two significant contributors are the Egenera Blade servers and Linux operating system. Introduction of Linux operating system helped JP Morgan to standardize its software builds. The adoption of blade server technology provided JP Morgan a modular approach to grow its server hardware farm. With the blades platform, they are able to add blade-by-blade as the computing power need grows.

The grid set up is run as a service for internal users, and is charged for by usage. Users can buy CPU time on an hour-by-hour basis rather than having to own the CPU?s for 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. It has opted for electricity-style pricing model ? pay only for what you use. There are currently 500 Intel processors running the Computer Backbone, divided between New York and London. The Platform Symphony product gathers the utilization and allocation in the grid and the helps in decision to manage and extend the grid resources.

Source : Grids 2004: From Rocket Science to Business Service ? The 451 Group

Armed with a fair idea of what Grid computing is about, it is time to look at the buzzwords or technologies that often go hand in hand with grid. They include utility computing and on-demand computing and they often fit into the grid framework too.

Utility and On-Demand Computing

Many pundits in the IT industry agree that the computing trend is moving away from compute-inside-the-box to compute-outside-the-box, which is also called service-oriented computing. Computing is seen as more of a service and accordingly it needs to be changed. This kind of trend is very much seen in the current business policies at leading firms like IBM, HP, Sun and EMC. The so-called On-Demand Computing is seen as a perfect alignment for the business needs and current stressed conditions.

Where?s Tiger Woods right now?

Steve Evans, VP of information services for the PGA Tour, is tapping hundreds of volunteers to follow every golf pro around with Palm Pilots and survey-grade range finders. The resulting service offers real-time coverage of every player -- not just the front-runners. So how do you handle 100,000 subscribers during the golf season without buying boxes that sit idle most of the year? Outsource it to IBM?s Virtual Linux Services, of course. If you can?t tell the difference between a virtual server and a real server, then you might as well rent the server capacity on demand.

Source: Forester Research, 2003

Utility Computing is another buzzword that is often used. It is seen in the press, magazines, and IT vendor-marketing brochures. The phrase Utility Computing and Grid are often used synonymously. Either there is haziness in understanding and/or there is belief that one technology leads to another.

Although there is considerable overlap in what grids do and what utility computing can enable an enterprise to do, grid computing and utility computing are not synonymous.

It is understandable why many view them as the same. Both of these technologies deal with using computing resources. Both can be deployed internally or can make use of external resources. Both provide enterprises with opportunities to reduce computing costs. In addition, utility computing can make use of grids to provide computing power to users and applications.

However, the differences lie in the architecture and the purpose or objective.

* A Grid is a network infrastructure that exploits computing resources and storage; it is based on the idea of sharing resources. Grid finds and exploits unused computing and storage resources that reside within a distributed computing environment.

* It is the utility computing model or approach that enables computing resources and storage to be purchased or acquired on an as-needed basis. When a computer is in need of additional resources, it acquires them from another source. This usually works on a pay-as-you-go basis.

Thus, utility computing is about availability of infrastructure or switching resources in a dynamic manner. In the utility computing model, there are many ways the resource acquisition process works. Additional computing, memory, or storage resources are usually acquired using one or many of the following approaches:

* Activation of existing resources

* Reconfiguration of existing resources - to provide power/ storage to prioritized applications

* Being a part of the Grid and exploiting the extra resources

* By purchasing computing power and storage on an as needed basis from another source


This is an excerpt from the bestselling book Oracle Grid & Real Application Clusters, Rampant TechPress, by Mike Ault and Madhu Tumma.

You can buy it direct from the publisher for 30%-off and get instant access to the code depot of Oracle tuning scripts.


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