Project shows business side of grid

MegaGrid is demonstrated at Oracle OpenWorld show

SAN FRANCISCO - Hoping to prove that grid computing can work in the business world, Dell, EMC, Intel and Oracle on Tuesday announced a joint effort designed to show business users how to use the distributed computing technology.

Called MegaGrid, the project is being hosted at Oracle's Global IT Data Center in Austin, Texas, but company executives were also demonstrating the technology at Oracle OpenWorld in San Francisco Tuesday.

"Project MegaGrid really is a way for the average customer to run a business application in a grid infrastructure," said Judy Chavis, director of business development with Dell's enterprise product group. "It's more than a proof of concept; it's a real application."

Dell and the other companies involved as part of the first phase of the project have built systems that cluster together as many as 28 Dell PowerEdge 1750 servers. They intend to publish best practices guides for deploying and managing large clusters based on Red Hat Inc.'s Linux operating system and using their combined technologies.

A second phase of the MegaGrid, expected to be completed in 2005, will involve clusters of as many as 128 PowerEdge 1850 servers, and will incorporate operating systems from Novell Inc. and Microsoft Corp., Chavis said. The companies expect to eventually publish best practices guidelines for a number of enterprise applications, Chavis said.

MegaGrid is designed to show customers how they can use Dell's systems to run applications and workloads that have traditionally been considered only for large symmetric multiprocessor computers, like those sold by IBM Corp., Sun Microsystems Inc. and Hewlett-Packard Co., Chavis said. "We're taking a traditional customer workload that you normally run on a big Unix box and are running it for a fraction of the cost," she said.

The MegaGrid project has already taken a British Telecommunications PLC online transaction processing application, previously run on a $2.9 million Solaris system and ported it to a configuration of 10 Dell servers that sells for $69,000 Chavis said.

More information on MegaGrid can be found here: http://www.oracle.com/technologies/grid/megagrid.html

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