Grid Index Shows Adoption Rising Worldwide

By Nicole Hemsoth

April 11, 2005

Oracle unveiled the results of its latest Oracle Grid Index research, which measures global adoption of Grid computing technologies. The overall Oracle Grid Index score for businesses across North America, Europe and Asia Pacific is 4.41, on a scale of zero to 10.

The new research builds on last year's European pilot by providing a global snapshot along with European trend information on organizations' attitudes about, and adoption of, Grid computing. Analysis of underlying indices and comparison with the overall score of 3.1 unveiled at the European launch in September indicates growing progress toward global adoption of Grid computing. This year, North America had the highest score of the three regions (4.50), while Europe showed considerable advancement (4.39) and Asia Pacific proved to be well-placed to make rapid progress in adoption of this ground-breaking technology (4.37). However, the results showed that no one region enjoys an outstanding lead on the path to Grid computing; indeed, the findings point to a finely balanced race.

Many Organizations Understand Grid; Fewer Taking Immediate Action

While organizations are increasingly aware of Grid computing and its benefits, the research, independently conducted by Quocirca, a leader in Business and IT analysis, suggests that most have yet to act on this understanding.

  • The overall Grid Index values for each region are similar, indicating that significant numbers of organizations in each of these regions are assessing, understanding and evaluating this new technology.
  • Overall, knowledge of Grid computing and awareness of its benefits are positive (indices are, respectively, 5.61 and 4.89), but this has yet to take the form of equivalent commitment and achievement or expectation of Return on Investment (ROI). The Commitment Index is 2.45 and ROI Index is 1.89. This pattern is typical of the adoption of a new technology such as Grid Computing.
  • Europe's businesses have made progress on the journey to Grid computing. The European Oracle Grid Index figure jumped from 3.1 to 4.39 — a significant increase in just six months. Each European country surveyed, and every value of the sub-indices which are aggregated into the overall European figure, showed increased index figures.
  • The sub-indices for each region show that Europe and North America exhibit similar overall attitudes toward Grid computing. Organizations in Asia Pacific, by contrast, show markedly different patterns. Standardization and Consolidation Indices are much higher across much of the Asia Pacific region than elsewhere, and there is a more marked contrast between high values for Knowledge and Benefits Awareness Indices and low values for Commitment and ROI Indices. Thus, while Asia Pacific lags on adoption, the region appears much better prepared to potentially standardize on Grid technologies.

“Visionaries and early adopters of Grid computing are already enjoying increased efficiencies in their core business systems, such as ERP, Supply Chain Management (SCM) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM),” said Oracle president Charles Phillips. “The next stage is for this technology to enter the mainstream. Oracle's Grid computing solution leads the industry in terms of its sheer practicality, and we are working with key partners to make it even more compelling. Oracle's sights are set on taking Grid computing to the masses.”

North America Leads Oracle Grid Index

Of the three regions measured, North America (Canada and United States) demonstrated the highest overall score on the Oracle Grid Index. North American companies scored particularly well on knowledge of Grid computing (6.17) and understanding of Grid computing benefits (4.86). North America also leads the other regions in Commitment (3.02) to the adoption of Grid computing technologies.

Other key findings include:

  • North America's top score reflects the region's willingness to embrace new technologies early on.
  • North American businesses are putting their knowledge of Grid computing into practice today by adopting Grid-related technologies to support mission-critical business systems, call center applications and online transaction processing systems, among others.
  • Despite its overall lead, North America's scores for standardization and consolidation are lower than those of Asia Pacific, leaving the door to global competitive advantage wide open.
  • Over 50 percent of Knowledge Leaders surveyed for the Oracle Grid Index acknowledged blade servers as a key technology they will deploy over the next 12 months.
  • Over 30 percent of North American companies surveyed will use or deploy blade servers within their IT infrastructure in the next 12 months.

“Grid computing is the natural evolution of IT,” said Keith Block, executive vice president of North America for Oracle. “In most cases, the technology is already there. Grid computing just takes it to the next level by establishing consistency, eliminating redundancy and, finally, automating processes. Consolidation and standardization in the data center is key — and Oracle is leading the way. Grid is also effective at supporting Sarbanes-Oxley regulatory compliance requirements. A dedicated node can be added to support the increasing reporting and auditing needs without adversely affecting service levels or adding risk.”

Global Knowledge Leaders Changing Perception of Related Technology

Oracle's research also carries useful information about technologies that are closely related to Grid computing, such as Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) and blade servers. Last September's Oracle Grid Index for Europe showed that organizations that understand Grid computing tend to be thought leaders who drive their companies toward adoption. Today's research reveals a community of global knowledge leaders — about 10 percent of all those surveyed — who are leading the charge in enabling their organizations to achieve benefits from Grid computing.

  • A large proportion of the Knowledge Leaders surveyed (86 percent) see the implementation of SOAs by key packaged application vendors as being of significant benefit from an interfacing and integration perspective.
  • Over 90 percent of companies that are committed to Grid computing (Commitment Index > 7.5) are either currently using SOA methodology to develop new applications or will be during 2005. For the surveyed companies as a whole, this figure is less than 20 percent.
  • Over half of the Knowledge Leader organizations interviewed make significant use of blade servers, as opposed to less than a quarter of the overall population surveyed. For those companies with high commitment (Commitment Index greater than 7.5), this figure rises to over 60 percent.

“At Quocirca, we have long seen a strong link between SOA and Grid computing,” said Clive Longbottom, research director for Quocirca. “Approaching major business problems in 'bite-sized chunks' is the fastest and most cost-effective way to implement IT systems that flexibly adapt to changing business needs. An SOA approach can deliver this most effectively. Furthermore, this technology enjoys a clear synergy with Grid computing, which marshals bite-sized chunks of computing power into an overall system. Our research, which underpins the latest Oracle Grid Index, confirms that those in the know understand and act upon this principle. These Knowledge Leaders are also moving toward a blade server architecture, gaining economies with the implementation of compute power across deployments of Grid computing systems. Further proof of such benefits comes from the research: two thirds of those organizations that are most committed to Grid computing are able simply to re-tune and re-balance their IT infrastructure to address system overloads. Others currently need to re-engineer, purchase new capacity or simply struggle through.”

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