Eye on Oracle

Jul 25 2007   10:03AM GMT

Grid computing: Are you chicken?

Beth Pariseau Beth Pariseau Profile: Beth Pariseau

According to a recent survey of Independent Oracle Users Group (IOUG) members, adoption of RAC (Real Application Clusters) and other clustering products is widespread, but grid lags behind. As I reported in my recent story “Grid computing adoption slow amid fears of complexity,” the main reason for this is that users are concerned about the cost and difficulty involved in deploying grid. Are these fears founded?

According to our resident RAC and availability expert, Bill Cullen, these fears aren’t surprising, founded or not:

That doesn’t surprise me at all. Tech managers are always leery of wasting money on the five-dollar solution for the five-cent problem. I’m not saying that’s what Grid is, but that’s what decision makers are fearful of. There is definitely a sense of “If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it,” and in many cases I agree. Because there is such a low availability of grid database expertise, I think many managers are scared of the complexity, training costs, and “mucking up” of existing production applications that are working well.

RAC alleviated a lot of existing issues, especially in the arena of higher availability,
and it also was the second generation of a problematic product (Parallel Server) that many people were anxious to get off of. So in this sense it cured the headaches of a lot of managers.

By contrast Grid allows additional scalability at more attractive costs but unless you are faced with specific challenges the natural inclination is to leave well enough alone.

Isn’t [complexity] always the concern? I remember when managers worried about the complexity of the 7.3 database. I may not go as far as to say “unfounded” but it is certainly missing the forest for the trees because the reality is Grid reduces complexity, makes larger environments more manageable, and lowers cost in the long run.

Fess up — how many of you are putting off grid indefinitely because you fear the effort of implementation? Or are you just afraid of change in general? ;)

If your company already has RAC in place, does it serve your purposes just fine? Are you seeing benefits? Do you have any plans to increase the number of nodes? Are plans to take the plunge into grid in the works? Let us know your position.

-Elisa

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