Using FlexFrame For Oracle To Implement A Virtualized Service Oriented Infrastructure - InformationWeek

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9/23/2008
07:58 PM
Roger Smith
Roger Smith
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Using FlexFrame For Oracle To Implement A Virtualized Service Oriented Infrastructure

An overflow crowd of 400-plus people at an Oracle OpenWorld Executive Solution session at Moscone Center in San Francisco today heard Jörg Tettenborn, director of the Oracle Strategic Alliance for Fujitsu Siemens Computers, describe how to create a lean and agile IT infrastructure by virtualizing and consolidating Oracle Application Server and Database applications with FlexFrame for Oracle (FF4O).

An overflow crowd of 400-plus people at an Oracle OpenWorld Executive Solution session at Moscone Center in San Francisco today heard Jörg Tettenborn, director of the Oracle Strategic Alliance for Fujitsu Siemens Computers, describe how to create a lean and agile IT infrastructure by virtualizing and consolidating Oracle Application Server and Database applications with FlexFrame for Oracle (FF4O).As Tettenborn described, FF4O leverages the grid computing capability of Oracle 10g to create the first dynamic IT solution for Oracle application and database services, which can result in a reduction of operating costs by up to 60% and a rapid improvement in efficiency when it comes to running business-critical applications.

FlexFrame for Oracle is a joint development of Oracle and Fujitsu Siemens Computers, and follows the example of another hardware, software, and services product that Fujitsu Siemens released in 2002, FlexFrame for SAP, that dynamically assigns servers to SAP applications on demand. Tettenborn explained that Fujitsu's concept of Dynamic Data Center and Oracle's Grid Computing both share an architecture that separates servers from data and separates servers from applications. In a Grid Computing environment, IT components such as applications, storage, and processors are dynamically allocated (provisioned) and freed again to serve other requests when they're not being used. He said key technologies for both Dynamic Data Center and Grid Computing include virtualization, dynamic provisioning, and automation, that is, integrated administration and management where, for all practical purposes, the grid or dynamic data center can manage itself.

IDC analyst Tom Meyer credits Fujitsu Siemens Computers with being a pioneer in delivering service-oriented infrastructures with FlexFrame solutions for both SAP and Oracle. "As service-oriented architectures gain increasing importance, the need for infrastructures with the ability to dynamically allocate resources to services grows," says Meyers.

While service-oriented architecture or SOA is widely gaining traction in the IT Industry, service-oriented infrastructure or SOI has lagged in adoption. This is now changing, with the availability of SOI solutions like Application Server Grids, Database Grids, Virtualized Servers, and Virtualized Storage. As Tettenborn explained, an end-to-end SOA solution requires SOI. "Your SOA should run on a SOI. A service should not terminate if a server goes down, which is what happens in a typical silo-ed infrastructure." SOI also has the advantage of accelerating business responsiveness, significantly lowering total cost of ownership, and improving disaster recovery efforts. "Plus, SOI is easy to scale: you just plug in a blade." Tottenborn joked, "It's so easy, even I can do it!"

Tettenborn said a European railway company, who he wouldn't name, was able to use FF40 to implement a server consolidation project that reached break-even profitability in two-and-a-half years with projected savings of 3 million euros after 8 years. A 5.5-billion euro company, the state-owned railway had a network of 640 legacy Oracle database apps running on single servers for ticket machines in each railway station. The company was able to use FF40 to significantly reduce the high operational costs for Oracle deployments on single servers, to reduce Oracle support costs for outdated Oracle 7 and Oracle 8 database apps, and to cut overall Oracle licensing costs by more than half.

University of Massachusetts CTO Michael Poole closed out the hour-long session by describing a FF4O project he was heading, which has the goal of consolidating 500 servers down to 175 physical servers, and reducing IT overhead by 30% to 60%. With the aid of virtualization, automation, and integration, the university's underutilized SPARC environment that serves 75,000 students, staff, and faculty over five campuses was being replaced by a dynamic infrastructure that would allow transferring of system resources on demand and the rapid, automatic relocation of services in the event of system failures. This is especially important, Poole said, since the university's dedicated legacy IT environment usually worked at less than 20% capacity, and only reached peak load during spring and fall registration. He also said that the university needed the flexibility of a dynamic FF40 IT environment since UMass was in the process of partnering with two universities in China to deliver an online curriculum to an unknown, "potentially huge" number of students. Poole said that UMass IT department had been using VMWare and other server virtualization products for the past four years, but was standardizing on FF40 and Oracle server virtualization software since this SOI solution best supports the university's requirements for on-demand availability of applications and database services.

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