Oracle Pushing New Application Grid

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Oracle introduced a new application grid that employs technology acquired through its purchase of BEA Systems.

Application grids eschew the traditional approach that dedicates a piece of hardware to serving a particular application. Instead, the grid format creates a pool of resources that can be provisioned dynamically at runtime.

This can help IT shops respond to spikes in demand for a given application. For example, a bank may have certain hours of the day when its online banking application is heavily hit, and therefore needs more resources, whereas an account reconciliation program might need additional power at a different time of day, said Rick Schultz, vice president of product marketing, at the OpenWorld conference in San Francisco on Tuesday.

Oracle is talking about application grids now because of the recent BEA purchase, but also because many customers who have applied grid technology to their database tiers are thinking about implementing a similar model at the middleware level, according to Schultz.

Oracle WebLogic Application Grid components include Oracle Coherence, an in-memory data grid; JRockit Real-Time and JRockit Mission Control, the Java virtual machine and accompanying toolset Oracle gained from BEA; and Oracle WebLogic Operations Control, another BEA-developed product, for managing the service-level agreements (SLAs) of grid-enabled applications.

The stack is "application-server-agnostic," able to work with competing products such as WebSphere and JBoss as well as Oracle's own WebLogic Server, according to a FAQ sheet.

Speciality vendors such as Gigaspaces and Appistry also sell application grid technology.

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