Blades open new markets

Companies that don't make blade servers are beginning to develop products to complement them. Oracle Corp., for example, has a database product called 10g that is optimized for grid computing, a form of clustering.

Grids work on problems that are chunkable, or divisible into small tasks that individual processors can perform, said Timothy Hoechst, senior vice president of technology in Oracle's Government, Education and Healthcare Division.

By contrast, "our problem—running a database—is not chunkable," he said. "Modern databases are all about concurrency, not about separation."

Oracle developers have been dealing with clusters for a while, Hoechst said. "What we've been focusing on recently is taking that next step so [a user has] not two big Unix machines operating as a cluster, but racks of blade servers acting as a grid," he said.

"There is a level of convenience that comes with blade servers," Hoechst added. "Blade servers give us the ability to have in a single rack lots of computers that are working independently but collectively on a problem. They take up less space; they use less power."

The management capabilities that Oracle 10g offers are essential for controlling ever-growing implementations, said Larry Callant, a research associate at the Environmental Protection Agency.

Callant handles digital images and geographic information for the Environmental Protection Agency's Superfund program, and he is leading a project to develop a service that will provide the data quickly to first responders.

Agency officials will be implementing blade servers soon to move the massive task off of desktop workstations' development environment.

"The blade servers are going to give us a faster response and enable us to handle data much better," Callant said. "The con is price, and you have to have a location that's going to set it up. We're going to need a lot of storage."

FCW in Print

In the latest issue: Looking back on three decades of big stories in federal IT.


  • Anne Rung -- Commerce Department Photo

    Exit interview with Anne Rung

    The government's departing top acquisition official said she leaves behind a solid foundation on which to build more effective and efficient federal IT.

  • Charles Phalen

    Administration appoints first head of NBIB

    The National Background Investigations Bureau announced the appointment of its first director as the agency prepares to take over processing government background checks.

  • Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.)

    Senator: Rigid hiring process pushes millennials from federal work

    Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) said agencies are missing out on younger workers because of the government's rigidity, particularly its protracted hiring process.

  • FCW @ 30 GPS

    FCW @ 30

    Since 1987, FCW has covered it all -- the major contracts, the disruptive technologies, the picayune scandals and the many, many people who make federal IT function. Here's a look back at six of the most significant stories.

  • Shutterstock image.

    A 'minibus' appropriations package could be in the cards

    A short-term funding bill is expected by Sept. 30 to keep the federal government operating through early December, but after that the options get more complicated.

  • Defense Secretary Ash Carter speaks at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco

    DOD launches new tech hub in Austin

    The DOD is opening a new Defense Innovation Unit Experimental office in Austin, Texas, while Congress debates legislation that could defund DIUx.

Reader comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group