11g: Where’s the Grid?

By Derrick Harris

July 16, 2007

Hear ye, hear ye! All hail Oracle Database 11g, the world’s greatest grid-ready database solution. Well, maybe not so fast …

Although it was introduced on Wednesday with much pomp and circumstance, including an introduction by renowned historian and author James Burke, and over a 2-plus-hour time span, presentations by Oracle bigwigs Charles Phillips, Chuck Rozwat and Andy Mendelsohn did little to explain how, exactly, 11g has advanced its grid capabilities beyond those of its predecessor. But that doesn’t mean the word wasn’t peppered throughout the morning’s stage show.

Oracle President Phillips, for his part, stated that “10g was about innovating and getting the grid out there,” which might lead one to believe that 11g, which he referred to as a “customer release,” was about advancing those grid capabilities. Perhaps it is, but I, for one, didn’t get that impression. Rather, it seems that while a few years of listening to the needs of customers and developers certainly led Oracle to making some impressive improvements and adding some cool features (see the announcement for details), they didn’t necessarily focus on the grid aspect. Of course, Phillips also noted that Oracle is gaining market share among grid users and seeing more adoption of its Real Application Clusters (RAC), which in no way means the majority of 10g users are utilizing its grid capabilities. This, actually, could go a long way toward explaining why there doesn’t appear to have been much customer feedback around the grid management aspects of the software.

Rozwat, Oracle’s executive vice president of server technologies, shed a little more light on the subject when he noted that grid processes and transactions can be accelerated when they are accessing a compatible database, which would seem logical, but the same easily could be said about processes or applications running on any type of platform. While 11g’s new features will no doubt help to optimize grid performance and might even ease transition to a grid platform — Rozwat cited new real application testing and automated task features as enablers — very few of the ones mentioned during the launch ceremony did much to back up Rozwat’s assertion that 11g is “all about growing the grid.”

However, even though 11g might not be the fantastic, grid-facilitating solution Oracle would like us to believe, that does little to diminish from the fact that many customers are using its database solutions successfully in grid environments. The company trotted out four customers to the stage, two of whom specifically noted the impressive quantities of data they are handling thanks to 10g. Mason Ng, director of engineering operations for Yahoo!, explained that since starting with a four-node RAC in 2002, the Web giant now utilizes hundreds of RACs across hundreds of thousands of servers in its datacenter. In addition, he said, because the company is managing, all told, well more than 100 petabytes of data, it is growing toward the point where Yahoo! will be regularly deploying 10-node RACs averaging around 50TB apiece. Fidelity National Information Services also took the stage and discussed its Oracle 10g infrastructure, which requires a grid platform in order to handle the inherent availability and scalability needs of managing hundreds of millions of documents for customers worldwide.

But before I’m accused of putting words into Oracle’s mouth regarding the grid features in 11g, I should point out that Betaland.net has posted an article that quotes Oracle Senior Vice President of Database Server Technologies Andy Mendelsohn as acknowledging that grid definitely wasn’t at the forefront in terms of 11g development:

Mendelsohn did concede that 11g lacks extensive support for grid computing, even though the “g” in both 10g and 11g refer to grid technology. “We’re doing a lot of work in grid technologies for the next release, which will make grid infrastructure even easier to adopt,” Mendelsohn said.

Maybe the lower-case “g” is fitting for the time being; perhaps we can expect to see a capital “G” when Release 2 comes out. I’ll also be interested to see how, if at all, Oracle decides to incorporate the Coherence data grid technology it acquired from Tangosol into any future releases. While Coherence is a far cry from a relational database, it is a valuable distributed data technology that is a natural fit for grid environments. Oracle currently includes Coherence as a component of its Fusion Middleware.

In non-Oracle-related news, be sure to check out this week’s article on Infosolve Technologies, a data quality solutions provider that is taking a novel approach to utilizing Sun’s Network.com. At the risk of putting myself out there as a Sun Grid evangelist (something rare, indeed, in its sea of skeptics), I’m once again impressed with what I’m seeing, although this time it is the user, not Sun, that is impressing me. Infosolve relies almost solely on Sun’s resources to run customer jobs, and claims it is saving hundreds of thousands of dollars per year by doing so. In fact, the company says Sun’s utility computing offering has led to a new software-as-a-service-based business model where both Infosolve and its customers reap the benefits. If companies with SaaS-type solutions can convince customers to hop on board with the on-demand model — and see results like Infosolve has been seeing — perhaps Sun might have found the ideal type of user for its oft-maligned service.

Aside from this, we have announcements from SDSC, HP, IBM, DANTE, Voltaire and IDC, among others, that should be of interest.

—–

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

Subscribe to HPCwire's Weekly Update!

Be the most informed person in the room! Stay ahead of the tech trends with industy updates delivered to you every week!

IBM, D-Wave Report Quantum Computing Advances

May 18, 2017

IBM said this week it has built and tested a pair of quantum computing processors, including a prototype of a commercial version. That progress follows an an Read more…

By George Leopold

PRACEdays 2017 Wraps Up in Barcelona

May 18, 2017

Barcelona has been absolutely lovely; the weather, the food, the people. I am, sadly, finishing my last day at PRACEdays 2017 with two sessions: an in-depth loo Read more…

By Kim McMahon

US, Europe, Japan Deepen Research Computing Partnership

May 18, 2017

On May 17, 2017, a ceremony was held during the PRACEdays 2017 conference in Barcelona to announce the memorandum of understanding (MOU) between PRACE in Europe Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

NSF, IARPA, and SRC Push into “Semiconductor Synthetic Biology” Computing

May 18, 2017

Research into how biological systems might be fashioned into computational technology has a long history with various DNA-based computing approaches explored. N Read more…

By John Russell

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

Supercomputers Helping Researchers Predict Climate Change

Today’s weather and climate scientists are tasked with analyzing a massive tidal wave of data in order to better understand and predict significant changes affecting the climate. Read more…

DOE’s HPC4Mfg Leads to Paper Manufacturing Improvement

May 17, 2017

Papermaking ranks third behind only petroleum refining and chemical production in terms of energy consumption. Recently, simulations made possible by the U.S. D Read more…

By John Russell

PRACEdays 2017: The start of a beautiful week in Barcelona

May 17, 2017

Touching down in Barcelona on Saturday afternoon, it was warm, sunny, and oh so Spanish. I was greeted at my hotel with a glass of Cava to sip and treated to a Read more…

By Kim McMahon

NSF Issues $60M RFP for “Towards a Leadership-Class” System

May 16, 2017

In case you missed it, the National Science Foundation issued the request for proposals (RFP) for the next ‘Towards a Leadership-Class Computing Facility – Read more…

By John Russell

Cray Offers Supercomputing as a Service, Targets Biotechs First

May 16, 2017

Leading supercomputer vendor Cray and datacenter/cloud provider the Markley Group today announced plans to jointly deliver supercomputing as a service. The init Read more…

By John Russell

Cray Offers Supercomputing as a Service, Targets Biotechs First

May 16, 2017

Leading supercomputer vendor Cray and datacenter/cloud provider the Markley Group today announced plans to jointly deliver supercomputing as a service. The init Read more…

By John Russell

HPE’s Memory-centric The Machine Coming into View, Opens ARMs to 3rd-party Developers

May 16, 2017

Announced three years ago, HPE’s The Machine is said to be the largest R&D program in the venerable company’s history, one that could be progressing tow Read more…

By Doug Black

What’s Up with Hyperion as It Transitions From IDC?

May 15, 2017

If you’re wondering what’s happening with Hyperion Research – formerly the IDC HPC group – apparently you are not alone, says Steve Conway, now senior V Read more…

By John Russell

Nvidia’s Mammoth Volta GPU Aims High for AI, HPC

May 10, 2017

At Nvidia's GPU Technology Conference (GTC17) in San Jose, Calif., this morning, CEO Jensen Huang announced the company's much-anticipated Volta architecture a Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

HPE Launches Servers, Services, and Collaboration at GTC

May 10, 2017

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) today launched a new liquid cooled GPU-driven Apollo platform based on SGI ICE architecture, a new collaboration with NVIDIA, a Read more…

By John Russell

IBM PowerAI Tools Aim to Ease Deep Learning Data Prep, Shorten Training 

May 10, 2017

A new set of GPU-powered AI software announced by IBM today brings automation to many of the tedious, time consuming and complex aspects of AI project on-rampin Read more…

By Doug Black

Bright Computing 8.0 Adds Azure, Expands Machine Learning Support

May 9, 2017

Bright Computing, long a prominent provider of cluster management tools for HPC, today released version 8.0 of Bright Cluster Manager and Bright OpenStack. The Read more…

By John Russell

Microsoft Azure Will Debut Pascal GPU Instances This Year

May 8, 2017

As Nvidia's GPU Technology Conference gets underway in San Jose, Calif., Microsoft today revealed plans to add Pascal-generation GPU horsepower to its Azure clo Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Quantum Bits: D-Wave and VW; Google Quantum Lab; IBM Expands Access

March 21, 2017

For a technology that’s usually characterized as far off and in a distant galaxy, quantum computing has been steadily picking up steam. Just how close real-wo Read more…

By John Russell

Google Pulls Back the Covers on Its First Machine Learning Chip

April 6, 2017

This week Google released a report detailing the design and performance characteristics of the Tensor Processing Unit (TPU), its custom ASIC for the inference Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Trump Budget Targets NIH, DOE, and EPA; No Mention of NSF

March 16, 2017

President Trump’s proposed U.S. fiscal 2018 budget issued today sharply cuts science spending while bolstering military spending as he promised during the cam Read more…

By John Russell

HPC Compiler Company PathScale Seeks Life Raft

March 23, 2017

HPCwire has learned that HPC compiler company PathScale has fallen on difficult times and is asking the community for help or actively seeking a buyer for its a Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

CPU-based Visualization Positions for Exascale Supercomputing

March 16, 2017

Since our first formal product releases of OSPRay and OpenSWR libraries in 2016, CPU-based Software Defined Visualization (SDVis) has achieved wide-spread adopt Read more…

By Jim Jeffers, Principal Engineer and Engineering Leader, Intel

Nvidia Responds to Google TPU Benchmarking

April 10, 2017

Last week, Google reported that its custom ASIC Tensor Processing Unit (TPU) was 15-30x faster for inferencing workloads than Nvidia's K80 GPU (see our coverage Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

TSUBAME3.0 Points to Future HPE Pascal-NVLink-OPA Server

February 17, 2017

Since our initial coverage of the TSUBAME3.0 supercomputer yesterday, more details have come to light on this innovative project. Of particular interest is a ne Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Facebook Open Sources Caffe2; Nvidia, Intel Rush to Optimize

April 18, 2017

From its F8 developer conference in San Jose, Calif., today, Facebook announced Caffe2, a new open-source, cross-platform framework for deep learning. Caffe2 is Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Leading Solution Providers

Tokyo Tech’s TSUBAME3.0 Will Be First HPE-SGI Super

February 16, 2017

In a press event Friday afternoon local time in Japan, Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) announced its plans for the TSUBAME3.0 supercomputer, which w Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Nvidia’s Mammoth Volta GPU Aims High for AI, HPC

May 10, 2017

At Nvidia's GPU Technology Conference (GTC17) in San Jose, Calif., this morning, CEO Jensen Huang announced the company's much-anticipated Volta architecture a Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Is Liquid Cooling Ready to Go Mainstream?

February 13, 2017

Lost in the frenzy of SC16 was a substantial rise in the number of vendors showing server oriented liquid cooling technologies. Three decades ago liquid cooling Read more…

By Steve Campbell

MIT Mathematician Spins Up 220,000-Core Google Compute Cluster

April 21, 2017

On Thursday, Google announced that MIT math professor and computational number theorist Andrew V. Sutherland had set a record for the largest Google Compute Eng Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

IBM Wants to be “Red Hat” of Deep Learning

January 26, 2017

IBM today announced the addition of TensorFlow and Chainer deep learning frameworks to its PowerAI suite of deep learning tools, which already includes popular Read more…

By John Russell

HPC Startup Advances Auto-Parallelization’s Promise

January 23, 2017

The shift from single core to multicore hardware has made finding parallelism in codes more important than ever, but that hasn't made the task of parallel progr Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

HPC Technique Propels Deep Learning at Scale

February 21, 2017

Researchers from Baidu's Silicon Valley AI Lab (SVAIL) have adapted a well-known HPC communication technique to boost the speed and scale of their neural networ Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

US Supercomputing Leaders Tackle the China Question

March 15, 2017

As China continues to prove its supercomputing mettle via the Top500 list and the forward march of its ambitious plans to stand up an exascale machine by 2020, Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
Share This