DELL, EMC, INTEL, ORACLE LAUNCH ‘PROJECT MegaGrid’

By Nicole Hemsoth

December 13, 2004

In an effort to develop a standard approach to building and deploying an enterprise Grid computing infrastructure, Dell Inc, EMC Corp, Intel Corpand Oracle announced they have collaborated to jointly form “Project MegaGrid.” The four companies are combining certain core technologies and technical resources to ease the burden of integration for their customers, and to develop a complete enterprise Grid computing solution that outperforms traditional SMP offerings at a fraction of the cost.

The initial phase of Project MegaGrid is focused on designing, testing and documenting industry standard best practices for building effective enterprise Grid computing infrastructures taking into account cost and performance requirements. These practices also include conducting a series of tests for scalability, performance and manageability of a comprehensive database, server and networked storage configuration. The working infrastructure is architected, configured and validated at the Oracle Global IT Data Center.

Investment to Deliver Enterprise Grid Computing Best Practices

Each Project MegaGrid sponsor invested technical resources to develop, test and validate enterprise Grid computing best practices. Specifically:

  • Dell — provides a complete enterprise-class networked server infrastructure consisting of dual Intel Xeon and 4-way Intel Itanium processor-based PowerEdge servers, and their related I/O technologies.
  • EMC — delivers a complete networked storage infrastructure consisting of EMC CLARiiON CX and EMC Symmetrix DMX networked storage systems, EMC Celerra NS Series/Gateway Network Attached Storage (NAS) systems, EMC ControlCenter and EMC Navisphere information management software.
  • Intel — contributes proces sor and server management expertise for both Intel Xeon processor and Intel Itanium processor architectures, optimization tools, and other resources that allow for a seamless design integration.
  • Oracle — supplies its Oracle 10g technology infrastructure (Oracle Application Server 10g, Oracle Database 10g, Oracle Real Application Clusters 10g, Oracle Enterprise Manager 10g) and is hosting the development center for Project MegaGrid at its Global IT Data Center.

In addition to the technology provided by the four companies, Cramer and F5 Networks Inc are contributing to Project MegaGrid. Cramer, a telecom enterprise application software application developer, provides a highly-scalable commercial application to Project MegaGrid featuring full-scale data sets and real-world business transaction processing. F5 Networks provides BIG-IP switches to Project MegaGrid to guarantee application availability and accelerate application performance.

Enterprise Grid Computing Delivers Increased Service Levels

The goal of Project MegaGrid is to enable commercial and enterprise organizations across all vertical industry segments to take advantage of enterprise Grid computing. By pooling disparate IT resources that can automatically provision services on demand, organizations can take advantage of enterprise Grids to improve their application service levels, to better manage their systems, and to help reduce the cost of their IT systems.

Commercial and enterprise organizations can begin to adopt Grid technologies with minimal investment and disruption by:

  • Standardizing onto cost-effective servers and storage infrastructure, using Intel processor-based platforms, Linux and an intelligent tiered networked storage approach.
  • Consolidating databases, applications, servers and storage onto a common platform.
  • Automating daily management tasks so that a single administrator can simultaneously manage hundreds of servers and terabytes of storage.
Overstock.com Deploys Grid With Support From Project MegaGrid Sponsors

Organizations can take advantage of Project MegaGrid best practices and offerings today. Online retailer Overstock.com is working with the four companies to build out an enterprise Grid computing infrastructure.

“Overstock.com runs EMC, Oracle, Dell, and Intel as the cornerstone of our information infrastructure,” said Shawn Schwegman, vice president of technology at Overstock.com. “As a world leader in Internet retail, finding ways to drive down infrastructure costs, while still retaining high quality of service is of key concern. The combination of Oracle Real Application Clusters 10g running Linux on Dell Servers, attached to EMC networked storage, enables a low-cost flexible Grid Computing infrastructure that can scale as a business grows. The work these four partners are doing through Project MegaGrid serves to further simplify and accelerate deployment and provides openly available best practices to simplify management of Grid Computing environments.”

With all this said, however, one must question whether or not Project MegaGrid is little more than an attempt for four specialized vendors to compete with turnkey providers like IBM and Sun. After all, those two can provide the servers, storage, software and processors by themselves, whereas Project MegaGrid requires four vendors to do the same. Only time will tell.

For additional information about Project MegaGrid, visit the following Web sites:

www.dell.com/megagrid.

www.dell.com/megagrid.

www.emc.com/megagrid.

www.oracle.com/megagrid.

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