Oracle grid computing and cloud computing: Special report

In this Oracle grid computing and cloud computing special report, learn about the difference between grid and cloud computing, the cloud and grid products that Oracle offers and users’ future plans for adoption.

As cloud computing soars in popularity, it leaves us with the questions -- where does grid computing fit in?  How are they different? While there isn’t always an obvious answer, and each technology may have different meanings for different people, having a clear understanding of grid computing and cloud computing in Oracle is important.  In this special report, we take a look at the definition of grid computing and cloud computing, how they compare to other technologies such as clustered computing, how grid computing and cloud computing are used in Oracle and the future of their adoption.

  Oracle grid computing definition and basics  

What is grid computing? According to this definition from, grid computing (or the use of a computational grid) is applying the resources of many computers in a network to a single problem at the same time - usually to a scientific or technical problem that requires a great number of computer processing cycles or access to large amounts of data.

In a different explanation, grid computing researcher and expert Ian Foster explores the true definition of grid computing, which he says has been somewhat convoluted by marketing hype throughout the industry.  He details a three-part checklist that constitutes a grid, including that it: Coordinates resources that are not subject to centralized control; uses standard, open, general-purpose protocols and interfaces; and delivers nontrivial qualities of service.

  Grid computing vs. cloud computing vs. clustered computing  

What is cloud computing? How does the cloud computing definition differ from that of grid computing? describes cloud computing as a general term for anything that involves delivering hosted services over the Internet, in the three categories of Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS).

Still, as expert Dana Gardner discusses in his explanation of the distinction between cloud computing and grid computing, there are many underlying technical distinctions between cloud and grid computing. He also predicts that in the coming years, grid computing will no longer be favored as a separate name and be lumped into the general “cloud computing” term.

Another term often confused with grid computing is clustered computing. When examining grid computing vs. clustered computing, however, we learn that clustered computing was essentially the first evolution of grid computing. The two work well together, as a grid can be composed of multiple clusters -- groups of systems working together as one unit. In Oracle grid computing, resources can be moved from one cluster to another on the same grid. Oracle’s Real Application Clusters (RAC) is the clustering software for its database.

  Cloud computing and grid computing in Oracle  

Oracle has a variety of grid computing features and products, some of the most popular being Automatic Storage Management (ASM), Oracle Enterprise Manager, WebLogic Server and Workload Management. Grid computing was a new concept for the Oracle 10g database, but the latest 11gR2 release contains more advanced grid and clustering features such as the RAC one-node and ASM Cluster Filesystem (ACFS).

More recently, Oracle partnered with Amazon Web Services to offer cloud computing products and services:  Deploy Oracle Software in the Cloud and Backup Oracle Database in the Cloud.  Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) can be used for these Oracle cloud deployments. These features, which were introduced at Oracle OpenWorld 2008, were Oracle’s first big move into the cloud computing industry, though CEO Larry Ellison, who only just agreed to recognize the term “cloud computing” (“I have no idea what anyone is talking about. What is it? It's complete gibberish,” he once said), might disagree.

How are organizations using these Oracle grid and cloud computing technologies? Where is Oracle’s future in cloud and grid? Check out these articles and resources to learn more:

Is your data secure in the cloud? Learn about the safety and security of your data in the cloud, which is one of the biggest concerns of cloud computing users.

Oracle desperately seeking cloud cred: Find out about Oracle's latest cloud computing tour designed to build cloud credibility among users and counter previous claims from Larry Ellison.

Oracle users balk at cloud computing: Oracle shops fear running databases in the cloud cannot match the performance or savings they can get in-house.

Oracle’s cloud confusing strategy: It’s difficult to understand what exactly Larry Ellison’s problem is in using the phrase cloud computing. His reluctance to use the term could have something to do with his belief that he has been there and done that with Oracle’s grid computing initiatives over the past decade.

Oracle database in the cloud floated at Harvard lab: A lab at Harvard Medical School was one of the first customers to test Oracle cloud computing, which they turned to while looking for an easier way to deploy and manage large databases.

Oracle releases new database, says 11g upgrade will cut costs: Read more about the new grid and clustering features that were introduce in Oracle 11g Release 2.

Grid computing adoption slow amid fears of complexity: Oracle RAC and other clustering solutions are in wide use, but adoption of grid computing is still slow amid fears of high cost and complexity, a 2007 IOUG survey finds.

  For more background on cloud computing and grid computing in Oracle  

Spotlight on RAC, grid and availability This spotlight includes news on grid computing and RAC, as well as analysis, expert advice and tips from our archives, to get you up to speed on what RAC and grid are all about.

Lessons Learned: Grid computing: Get caught up to speed on the how, what and where of grid computing in Oracle 10g.

Expert advice: Grid computing and Oracle10g: expert Brian Peasland describes the concept of grid computing and Oracle Database 10g's role in helping you achieve it in your computing environment.

How Oracle10g achieves grid computing: Expert Brian Peasland explains the concept of grid computing and how it's achieved in Oracle 10g.

Grid computing - The future from the past: The Siemon Company’s Carrie Higbie discusses the past and future of grid computing, how it has developed and the challenges it faces for the future.





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