Issue #10 August 2005

Oracle Grid Computing on Red Hat Enterprise Linux

For nearly 30 years, Oracle has been building and refining a technology platform that delivers the highest-quality information while reducing the cost of doing business. Oracle's long-standing commitment to Linux began seven years ago in 1998, with the release of the first commercial relational database for Linux. Oracle solutions on Linux enable customers to benefit from high performance, complete reliability, and data security realized on proprietary platforms, but at a fraction of the cost.

Oracle's Linux commitment includes integrated support for the entire software platform, including the operating system. Currently, customers from around the globe tap into Oracle's 6,000-strong worldwide customer support organization for 24/7 technical support for Linux. Oracle also has a Linux Kernel Group dedicated to developing new functionality to benefit the entire Linux community. For example, Oracle's Kernel Team contributed a cluster file system to the Linux kernel under the terms of the GPL, GNU public license.

This long-standing commitment and strong support are important factors for customers evaluating Oracle® Grid Computing on Red Hat® Enterprise Linux®. What's driving the move to grid computing? Let's take a look at some challenges facing IT today.

Today's IT challenges

IT today is facing the growing concern that it is too costly, too complex, and too slow to respond to business needs. A majority of companies deploy stove-piped applications in silos of infrastructure. This is expensive both in terms of hardware costs—such infrastructure is often sized for peak loading with built-in redundancy—and management costs, while delivering a lower return on assets.

Grid computing is uniquely positioned to address the cost structure issues and the flexibility demands that a changing business places on IT. So what is grid computing? In simplest terms, grid computing is the pooling of IT resources into a single set of shared services for all enterprise computing needs—even across organizational boundaries.

Oracle Grid Computing

The Oracle Grid Computing infrastructure continually analyzes demand for resources and adjusts supply accordingly. You don't have to worry about where data resides or what computer processes you request. You request information or computing power and have it delivered—as much as you want, whenever you want. Oracle Grid Computing extends existing Oracle clustering technology to deliver two key grid concepts, resource virtualization and dynamic resource provisioning; this makes it possible to pool and share resources throughout the infrastructure.

With virtualization, individual resources (such as computers, disks, application components, and information sources) are pooled together then made available to consumers (such as people or software programs) through an abstraction. Virtualization means breaking hard-coded connections between providers and consumers of resources and preparing a resource to serve a particular need without the consumer caring how that is accomplished.

With provisioning, when consumers request resources through a virtualization layer, behind the scenes a specific resource is identified to fulfill the request, and then it's allocated to the consumer. Provisioning as part of grid computing means that the system determines how to meet the specific need of the consumer, while optimizing performance of the system as a whole.

The specific ways in which information, application, or infrastructure resources are virtualized and provisioned are specific to the type of resource, but the concepts apply universally. Similarly, the specific benefits derived from grid computing are particular to each type of resource, but all share the characteristics of better quality, lower costs, and increased flexibility.

Three steps to Oracle Grid Computing

With Oracle, customers can adopt grid computing incrementally while leveraging current IT investments, starting with three steps:

  • Standardize on low-cost, modular servers and storage
  • Consolidate application and database servers and storage with Oracle Application Server, Oracle Database, and Real Application Clusters
  • Automate day-to-day management tasks with Oracle Enterprise Manager

Standardizing server and storage technologies can significantly lower costs while forming the basis of a grid computing infrastructure. Some of the grid computing technologies that will drive down infrastructure costs include: Low-cost, high-volume Intel® or AMD® processors, blade servers, network storage technologies such as Network Attached Storage (NAS) and Storage Area Networks (SANs), Gigabit Ethernet and Fibre Channel, and cost-effective and enterprise-ready operating systems such as Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Standardization not only reduces up-front costs, but on-going maintenance costs as well.

Consolidating various layers of the IT stack, including storage, servers, databases, application servers, and even data centers, can further reduce both up-front and maintenance costs without sacrificing performance by improving system utilization. Oracle's integrated clusterware pools and virtualizes processing power so it's available on demand to any application running on the grid. And only Oracle can run existing applications in a grid computing environment with no rewrite required.

Automating maintenance is key to effectively manage a growing grid. Because enterprise grids can have hundreds—potentially thousands—of servers, a grid is simply too large to be managed manually server-by-server. Oracle Enterprise Manager 10g automates daily grid maintenance and includes Oracle Grid Control, a centralized management console for software configuration management and provisioning including complete bottom-up Linux provisioning, service level monitoring and management, comprehensive root-cause analysis, and patching. Standardization for management procedures is achieved through comprehensive management templates, predefined as well as customizable policies and a comprehensive reporting framework.

Oracle and Red Hat

Oracle and Red Hat have a long-standing partnership. Oracle has invested considerable resources in pre-testing and certifying Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4 for enterprise-class applications and grid computing. Oracle infrastructure and enterprise application products—including Oracle Database, Oracle Application Server, Oracle Enterprise Manager, Oracle Collaboration Suite, and Oracle E-Business Suite—have been certified to run on Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

Together, Oracle and Red Hat have set a number of industry-leading performance benchmarks. For example, Oracle holds the top clustered tpc-c result on Linux with world record performance of 1.18 million transactions per minute for Oracle Database 10g and Oracle Real Application Clusters [1]. Oracle and Red Hat continue to work together to boost the scalability and performance of Red Hat Enterprise Linux for Oracle Grid Computing environments.

Organizations will realize significant benefits from enhancements in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4 optimized for Oracle Grid Computing, including better support for large servers and a larger number of CPUs. Oracle's proven products and world-class support for the Red Hat Enterprise Linux operating system, coupled with additional opportunities to minimize costs through hardware commoditization, allows customers to realize the true opportunity Linux presents.

Learn more

Oracle Grid Computing delivers an innovative IT infrastructure solution that dynamically manages change by enhancing business agility, improving quality of IT service, and reducing IT costs—with a minimum of user interruption and downtime.

For more information about Oracle on Linux visit www.oracle.com/linux. For more information about Oracle Grid Computing visit www.oracle.com/grid.

[1] Source: Transaction Processing Council (TPC), www.tpc.org, as of December 8, 2003 : Sixteen-node HP Integrity rx5670 server cluster, each with 4 Itanium® 2 1.5 GHz processors, 1,184,893.38 tpmC, $5.52/tpmC, available April 14, 2004.