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Don Burleson Blog 







Oracle 11g Grid Computing in the IT World

Oracle Database Tips by Donald Burleson

What is Grid Computing?

According to DEGREE (, grid computing "provides the ability to perform higher throughput computing by taking advantage of many networked computers to model a virtual computer architecture that is able to distribute process execution across a parallel infrastructure."  Grids allow a computational power far exceeding what is possible on one server.


Grid computing is a type of distributed computing.  In general, a distributed computing program is divided into many parts to run on multiple servers connected via a network.  Grid computing coordinates the sharing of CPU, application, data, storage and network resources. Grid computing is the pool of computers actively glued into a virtual computing architecture by the other related components such as middleware software, interconnects, networking devices, and storage units.

Oracle's implementation of grid architecture is one of the most widely used commercial grid capable products.  The Open Grid Forum (OGF) is the current international standards body for grid computing.  OGF's members consist of 400 organizations in over 50 countries.  OGF works to increase the adoption of grid computing and create standards that facilitate interoperability.

Where is the IT World on Grid Computing?

In many ways, grid computing is a solution without any problems to solve.  The pioneers of grid computing are ready to solve the hardest problems that any industry is willing to throw at them.  The task at hand is to find more problems that need to be solved.


Main industries embracing grid computing:

  • aerospace

  • automotive

  • insurance

  • investment banking

  • finance

  • gaming

  • government

  • media

  • oil / gas / earth science

  • online advertising

  • semiconductor

  • telecommunication

  • pharmaceuticals

What is Oracle's Direction?

Grid computing software is much more complex to create than typical software.  With each release of Oracle RAC, true grid capabilities are evolving to be more feature-rich.  Database market share is ultra-competitive.  As Oracle successfully tackles various grid computing complexities and their competitors lag years and decades behind, Oracle will logically charge ahead to make their grid computing capabilities more feature-complete.   One challenge for Oracle and other grid software designers is to make grid computing simpler to use and implement.


Oracle is one of the 400 organizational members of the Open Grid Forum.  At the time of this writing, Toshihiro Suzuki is the Senior Director of Standards Strategy and Architecture for Oracle Corporation Japan.  Toshihiro is part of the OGF Operational Leadership team.  He was chairperson of the OGF ancestor organization, the Enterprise Grid Alliance (EGA).


One reason why this newfound love for grid computing has evolved is because of the appeal of power. The computational power that grid computing offers makes the Intel and AMD CPU Gigahertz race somewhat irrelevant.  Instead of waiting around for CPU power to be 1,000 times faster than it is today, an engineer can simply take advantage of the massive computational power that grid computing provides. 


For academic researchers, grid computing offers low cost CPU power that is much less expensive and freely available.  Today, Sun Microsystems offers "Sun Utility Computing."  After a simple pre-approval process, anyone can gain access to thousands of CPUs at once.   If one has ever wondered what the highest prime number a grid system can find in less than 5 minutes is, then Sun Utility Computing is the chance to find out!


This quote from Sun Microsystems states, "For each job the user submits and runs, the user's Sun Grid CPU usage is aggregated and then rounded up to the nearest whole hour. For example, if your job used 1000 CPUs for one minute, it would be aggregated as 1000 CPU minutes or 16.67 CPU hours. The software rounds this up to 17 hours and the job would be billed as US $17."

Oracle Grid and Real Application Clusters

See working examples of Oracle Grid and RAC in the book Oracle Grid and Real Application Clusters.

Order directly from Rampant and save 30%. 



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