September 25, 2003, 9:07 AM — Oracle Corp. unveiled its newly revamped product line based around the "utility" or grid computing model earlier this month at OracleWorld, including a new version of its application server software, Application Server 10g. The Redwood Shores, California, company has now taken its grid computing show on the road to customers and the press in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region.
IDG News Service sat down with Charles Rozwat, Oracle executive vice president for server technologies, during his stopover in London on Wednesday.
IDGNS: How can IT managers convince their CFOs (chief financial officers) that they should move to grid computing?
Charles Rozwat: There's a couple of things. The cost factor and the 'prove to me this really works' factor. The cost I think is easy to show: it's in the hardware, maintenance and the number of people that you need to administer the system, so there are very clear metrics to show the cost savings.
You can buy a couple of Intel (Corp.) servers that are now incredibly powerful, multiple gigahertz machines, and storage that has massive capacities for a very low cost, and you can get started with a partner application, something like expense reporting as part of financials.
You can actually do that as a low-cost entry and then, because of clusters and the technology of the grid, you can scale and just keep adding on. That's an easy way to get to that 'prove it to me' point, for literally a few thousand dollars, and then move quickly to 'ok, let's start moving everything up.'
IDGNS: What are the costs for an organization that doesn't already have the RAC (real application cluster) setup needed to use the grid model?
CR: You have to start somewhere. If you look at annual IT budgets, a lot of money is spent on hardware maintenance for existing systems and the older the hardware system, the more expensive the maintenance. A 10g investment takes those costs off the books.
One of the things that really makes grid computing popular right now is that a lot of costs come out across hardware components and storage. Storage prices have come down, and so network attached storage is a dramatically lower-cost alternative to the direct-attached storage that a lot of people have today.
IDGNS: How does an IT manager get around a company mindset of 'one application for one server?'
CR: It's hard for (IT departments) to save their company money but this smaller system really empowers them. With 10g there's a lot of things that we're doing to let an IT manager act more like a hosting manager for their entire company.