RealTime IT News

IT Heavies Launch 'MegaGrid' Project

UPDATED: SAN FRANCISCO -- Four mainstream IT companies are pooling resources to launch a standardized enterprise grid infrastructure based on their products.

Dell , EMC , Intel and Oracle are spearheading the enterprise-focused venture dubbed "Project MegaGrid." Based in Austin, Texas, the 128-node cluster of Dell servers runs on Linux with a vision of getting customers to consolidate databases, applications, servers and storage onto a common platform.

The plan sharply contrasts with more established grid initiatives, such as the Globus Alliance, and public grid projects, such as SETI@home, Grid.org and IBM's new "World Community Grid."

Dell Senior Vice President Jeff Clarke said the project was certainly in its early stages, and he characterized it as a "place for white papers and how-to's."

Jean Bozman, research vice president with IT analyst group IDC, said the project will eventually compete against HP's Adaptive Enterprise, IBM's e-business on-demand and Sun's N1 projects.

"What you are seeing is a group approach to standardize, but only on their products," Bozman told internetnews.com. "Running a scientific grid on standard software and Linux is easier because you can keep adding resources to the project and it continues to run. With an enterprise system, that gets ultimately harder because there are so many disparate systems."

The group said it is launching its initiative at the right time, with the grid computing market estimated to reach as much as $12 billion by the year 2007, according to a recent IDC report. Already, Project MegaGrid has named online retailer Overstock.com as its first customer.

"We are taking the scaleable approach because we're finding 99 percent of all servers are 4-processors or less," Dell Chairman Michael Dell said during his keynote at Oracle OpenWorld here.

The initiative also slights any enterprise grid work done in the enterprise by HP and Sun .

Phase one of the Dell/EMC/Oracle/Intel program will take inventory of the standard best practices in the market and then design and test one that can handle an extremely large scale of operation for less money. Oracle said its Global IT Data Center in Redwood Shores, Calif., will serve as host to test and validate the group's progress.

Partners of the consortium said they would contribute their marquee products to the venture.

EMC is offering the most products with its array of CLARiiON CX and Symmetrix DMX networked storage systems, Celerra NS Series/Gateway Network Attached Storage (NAS) systems, its ControlCenter and EMC Navisphere information management software.

Dell is donating its PowerEdge servers and related I/O technology. Intel said it is contributing its Xeon and Itanium processor architectures as well as optimization tools and other resources.

In addition to hosting the grid, Oracle is supplying its Oracle 10g suite of software Application Server, Database, Real Application Clusters and Enterprise Manager.

In addition to the technology provided by the four companies, Cramer and F5 Networks are contributing their respective telecom enterprise application software and BIG-IP switches.

A Dell spokesperson said Project MegaGrid is still an open-ended venture and there is plenty of room for other companies like Microsoft, Red Hat and Novell to join in.