Services & Software

Oracle goes 'grid' for app server

At its customer conference next month, the software maker plans to detail the load-sharing capabilities slated for its application server and database.

Oracle next month plans to provide details on an update to its application server software and development tools, tied to the company's emerging "grid" computing strategy.

At its customer conference in San Francisco, Oracle expects to announce that Application Server 10G will take advantage of load-sharing features built into Oracle 10G database, a new release of the company flagship software.

Oracle's 10G database and Application Server 10G, which is used to run custom-written Java applications, are expected to ship next year.

The database grid capabilities in Oracle 10G allow a company to create a single pool of processing power by linking together several servers. Rather than have a one server dedicated to a single application, the database grid lets several applications draw on the combined processing capacity of the networked servers. Computing grids can save companies money on server hardware because the grid formation can dedicate processing capacity based on changes on demand, according to Oracle.

By using the 10G database and application server, a company can take an existing application and benefit from the more efficient model of grid computing, said John Magee, vice president of marketing for Oracle's application server business.

As part of the company's grid product launch, Oracle will introduce management tools that allow an administrator to schedule shifts in capacity. A company, for example, could configure the system so that more servers are dedicated to processing financial applications at the end of a quarter.

Application Server 10G will also usher in changes to Oracle's Java development tool, called JDeveloper. The updated programming tools will make it easier for developers to write applications by drawing on data stored in existing applications and databases, Magee said.

Oracle will also be retooling integration software sold in conjunction with its application server. With the new version, Oracle will support a broader range of data-sharing standards and mechanisms, including Web services standards, electronic data interchange (EDI) and e-mail.

With the planned update, Oracle will be continuing its push to gain market share in the highly competitive server software market, where IBM and BEA Systems earn the bulk of the overall revenue.

Oracle, which has been selling primarily to its installed base of database customers, in March targeted BEA customers with an offer to shift to Oracle's application server at a low price.