Oracle Grid Index Underlines Importance of SOA

By Nicole Hemsoth

June 26, 2006

Oracle unveiled the fourth Oracle Grid Index, which charts the global adoption of Grid computing and investigates related technological issues and their implications for the business world. The latest research confirmed that Grid computing is a maturing technology and highlighted the rise of service-oriented architectures (SOA) in maximizing the business benefits of information technology (IT).  

The fundamental research conducted is dedicated to mapping the world's journey to Grid computing. At a global level, measured on a scale of 0 to 10, the Oracle Grid Index has risen to 5.4 from its previous value, in November 2005, of 5.2. All of the underlying indices making up the overall Grid Index — Foundation Readiness, Knowledge & Interest and Adoption Lifecycle — show steady increases in virtually all geographies. Analysis of the Grid Index numbers over its previous three cycles reveals a pattern of a maturing technology in the process of crossing the chasm between early adopters and mainstream use.  

So far, Grid computing has been embraced by the early adopters and now has such a large presence in this section of the market that its adoption rate, as shown the Adoption Lifecycle Index, has not jumped massively (an increase from 2.9 to 3.2). However, respondents' view of their adoption of Grid computing reveals a significant rise from the previous cycle:

  • “Modest use in some areas” jumped from 10 percent of organizations to 40 percent.
  • In total, 70 percent of organizations now deploy Grid computing “in some areas,” up from 19.5 percent in the previous cycle.

This reveals a major increase in pilot projects and departmental grids, as opposed to major migration of legacy environments. These “new” Grid computing projects are at the leading edge, and point to a significant future rise in Grid computing as pilots get rolled out across the rest of organizations' IT.

Examination of the changes in Oracle Grid Index values from the previous cycle (November 2005) reveals several notable facts:

  • Asia Pacific continues to progress fastest, with adoption rising significantly. Overall, the region's Oracle Grid Index jumped the most, from 4.9 to 5.3. Furthermore, within the region, understanding of Grid computing is at last transforming into action — the Adoption Lifecycle Index increased the most, from 2.0 to 2.5.
  • The United States continues to lead the other regions in Grid computing. The overall Grid Index number for the United States remains higher than Europe or Asia Pacific, despite being unchanged at 6.1. This index stability indicates that the maturation process among early adopters in the region is furthest along here, since the United States has historically held a higher Grid Index number than the other regions.
  • Progress across Europe on the journey to Grid computing is evening out. The variance of Grid Index numbers across the various European countries is smaller in the latest cycle as the Southern European countries make faster progress. 

“All regions show positive movement in the awareness, understanding and adoption of Grid computing,” said Charles Phillips, president of Oracle. “Organizations around the globe are taking advantage of this market-changing technology — adoption is increasing and Grid computing is exhibiting the classic patterns of a technology that is approaching maturity and preparing itself for entry into the mainstream.”

SOA is an important modern approach to technology that enables IT better and faster to serve business needs.  While 76 percent of the IT respondents had heard of SOA, 55 percent of business respondents remained unaware of it. A further 25 percent of these respondents had heard of SOA, but had little in-depth knowledge.

Among respondents who were familiar with it, the SOA concept was clearly seen as being important:   

  • Over half of these respondents (57 percent) saw SOA as important, highly important or critical.
  • Fifty-two percent of these respondents are already moving toward an SOA — either through a major migration to a single architecture, through ensuring that all new functionality is SOA-based, or through modernizing existing applications.
  • Only 17 percent of respondents have no plans to move to an SOA at this stage.

There is a community of experts among the interviewees — nine percent of respondents had implemented an SOA.  These “experienced gurus” have a much stronger understanding of the business value an SOA offers:

  • SOA is important: When asked how important they saw SOA as being to their business, nearly 87 percent of these experts rated it as being highly or critically important.
  • SOA is manageable: Respondents overall either rated managing an SOA as “a nightmare” (nine percent) or predicted that a complete re-work of management tools would be needed (31 percent). Among the experts, none saw managing SOA as a nightmare and just 12 percent saw the need to replace management tools.

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