Database, BI Solutions Drive Grid Growth in the Enterprise

Grid computing finds enterprise killer apps

Grid computing has long been a technology in search of a killer enterprise application. If a new survey from research firm Evans Data Corp. is any indication, however, those applications may be here.

According to Evans Data’s Summer 2004 Database Development Survey of more than 500 database developers and managers, grid computing adoption is on the rise, with a 75 percent increase in the number of database developers who are implementing or planning to implement grid computing architectures. Fully 37 percent of enterprise developers are now working on grid-based projects, says Evans Data researcher Joe McKendrick.

So what killer apps are driving this growth? Business Intelligence (BI) solutions, to a large degree: one-third of database programmers are developing grid-based solutions destined for BI software targets.

On a related note, BI—more than any other technology—has benefited from an increase in IT budgets (in comparison to previous years), says McKendrick, who notes that IT organizations are increasingly freeing up budget money for BI-related development efforts. All told, 34 percent of companies are developing for BI platforms such as OLAP, data mining, and real-time. That’s an increase of almost 30 percent this year alone, says McKendrick.

"While we're still in the infancy of grid computing, the technology looks very promising for database sites struggling with capacity issues," said McKendrick, in a prepared release. "We just can't keep throwing more hardware at the problem. Data warehouses, for example, will only keep getting bigger. Companies can't afford to keep upgrading their systems and hardware to support these massive repository and associated tools. Grid computing offers an intelligent way for companies to better redeploy IT systems existing within their enterprises."

Speaking of killer apps, databases—and BI solutions in particular—have long been touted as potential killer apps for the emerging crop of (near) commodity 64-bit architectures, such as Intel Corp.’s IA-64. Evans Data’s latest survey shows that an industry-wide flight to 64-bit database platforms may well be underway. Forty-four percent of database developers say that they’re currently migrating or will migrate to 64-bit databases within the next year—a sharp uptick of more than 60 percent since the last survey period.

Elsewhere, Evans Data says that 93 percent of organizations are providing some manner of real-time access to analytic data—an increase of 10 percent from the last survey period.

Finally, mobile database development starts are up 60 percent from their low point during the IT slowdown; 60 percent of developers are working on solutions for mobile database platforms.

About the Author

Stephen Swoyer is a Nashville, TN-based freelance journalist who writes about technology.