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April 7, 2008

A Slow Ascent into the Troposphere

Derrick Harris

I said last week that we would have plenty of time to delve deeper into the recent spate of cloud computing announcements, and, as it turns out, I was right.

In this week’s feature article, “Clustered Databases, Meet ‘The Cloud,’” we take a look at Elastra, a company looking to make launching clustered databases on Amazon EC2 as easy as is presently possible. What is noteworthy about Elastra’s Cloud Server offering – aside from its giving users on-demand, automatically provisioned relational databases with little to zero capital expenditures or management costs – is that it is just one element. Elastra seems to be following the trend established by other companies operating in the cloud, which is to do one thing really well and hope you can lure in a few users willing to experiment with letting a lone element of their infrastructures out of their four walls. Once they get familiar and comfortable with the service and with its reliability, word of mouth will spread and early adopters will be ready to ascend even further into the troposphere. Lucky for them, Elastra plans to offering a complete line of services as it grows within the cloud service provider market.

We also take a look this week at Oracle’s play in the extreme transaction processing (XTP) market via an interview with Vice President of Fusion Middleware Development Cameron Purdy. Purdy — who founded Tangosol and served as CEO until its acquisition by Oracle last year — has been in the XTP/in-memory data grid market since the beginning and knows from whence he speaks. He discusses how financial services is definitely the leading industry in terms of driving XTP capabilities, but the online transactional market — from e-retail to e-gambling — is making its mark, as well. Purdy also tells what life is like as part of Oracle, and how has seen demand for XTP capabilities evolve and move up the IT hierarchy from tech geeks to execs. “Our customers are no longer 100 percent rocket scientists, they’re not all eating and drinking the technology at that level anymore, so our [Coherence] software continues to evolve to be more and more IT-friendly,” he said. Purdy also gives his two cents on the future of the XTP marketplace, which he sees as being driven by the consolidation of capabilities.

Although the load was light last week news-wise, there still were some big announcements, especially in the virtualization space with VMware automating the virtual lifecycle and introducing utility-style chargeback; Citrix bringing a per-server licensing model to XenServer; and Gartner lauding virtualization ahead of its upcoming Symposium ITXpo. Elsewhere, we saw 3Tera and Layered Tech being generous with a Web analytics provider; Intel and 3Leaf forming a ‘dynamic’ duo; Woven Systems hitting 10 million messages per second; and Enigmatec and Scalent teaming on policy-based resource allocation.

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Comments about GRIDtoday are welcomed and encouraged. Write to me, Derrick Harris, at editor@gridtoday.com.