Data Management

CONFERENCE REPORT

Tackling Data Disarray Takes Center Stage at OpenWorld

Working with data and the cloud were the topics of choice for keynote speeches delivered by Intel and Oracle executives at Oracle OpenWorld 2010 on Tuesday.

“I’m going to talk about harnessing the data footprint in terms of delivering services to IT users and consumers — but more importantly, businesses — to make data more portable, more personable, and make money while doing that,” Thomas Kilroy, senior vice president and general manager of Intel, said during his keynote.

Thomas Kurian, executive vice president of product development at Oracle, dealt with issues facing businesses as they move to the cloud.

Newly appointed Oracle President Mark Hurd made a cameo appearance to introduce Kilroy, who was the first speaker.

Wrestling With Data the Intel Way

The amount of digital data in the world is getting ready to surge, Intel’s Kilroy said. Through 2009, 10 exabytes of data crossed the Internet, but year-to-date for 2010, that figure stands at 175 exabytes, he told his audience.

An exabyte is 1 billion gigabytes, or 1 million terabytes.

People are increasingly being interconnected through the Web. There are 2 billion connected devices today, and that number will grow to 10 billion by 2015, Kilroy said.

However, most of the data is unstructured, and the challenge is to make data more intelligent, more structured and more manageable, Kilroy pointed out.

Structuring data makes it more relevant, he said. It also gives data better context and makes searches less time-consuming.

“For example, when you go to YouTube and search for a video by title or topic, you may have to watch three or four videos that are not exactly what you need,” Kilroy remarked. “We must innovate to give you a better search.”

Thomson Reuters, for instance, has launched Insider, a structured video product for financial professionals that lets them search for videos of financial news by title, description or the video’s core content, Kilroy said.

High-performance hardware alone is not enough to handle and manage data, he remarked. Software has to be brought into the mix.

Oracle and the Clouds

In his speech, Oracle’s Kurian pointed out problems with cloud computing and listed technologies and products the database giant had developed for the cloud.

“Our software strategy has always been about delivering complete, open, integrated and best-in-class solutions,” Kurian said. “This year, we’ve got lots of new products.”

Oracle has delivered the complete Oracle Database 11g Release 2 and certified 11g R2 with all its applications, Kurian pointed out. The vendor also delivered six new suites in Fusion middleware, including products for data integration and a new release of its identity management suite. Oracle also unveiled new releases of PeopleSoft, Hyperion and other products for Oracle Fusion applications. All these work on a common foundation consisting of Oracle’s database and middleware, Kurian said.

This feeds into Oracle’s vision for cloud computing.

“From a system infrastructure point of view, the cloud is about getting rid of the sprawl of machines that exist in an enterprise and consolidating them into a modern, highly virtualized datacenter; second, we’re talking about how business applications and the underlying database technology needs to run on that modern data center technology to deliver software as a service,” Kurian told his audience.

Enterprises setting up a cloud infrastructure should use “high-performance engineered systems” as building blocks instead of relying on small, inexpensive systems, Kurian suggested. Such a high-performance engineered system would be Oracle’s X2-8, the next-generation Oracle ExaData Database Machine. This was unveiled at Oracle OpenWorld on Monday.

The X2-8 is a full rack system consisting of two database servers and 14 ExaData Storage servers. Each database server comes with 64 Intel CPU cores and 1 TB of memory.

However, companies running large public clouds, such as Amazon.com and Google, use racks of thousands of inexpensive x86 servers that are basically just motherboards in their data centers. These are so inexpensive that any that any that break down are just thrown out and replaced. Also, the data centers don’t need cooling, which cuts down on costs.

So, is Kurian’s recommendation for high-performance engineered systems self-serving?

Not necessarily, Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group, told TechNewsWorld.

“Most of the large vendors are pointing out that, for certain kinds of jobs, these large systems provide better return on investment because they’re purpose-built and designed,” he said.

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