Thanks to Steve Jones, check out this presentation from David Chappell, Oracle VP and CTO of SOA, titled "Next-Generation Grid Enabled SOA". (A shorter written article can be found in at SOA Magazine's site.) Chappell outlines the work that Oracle is doing at turning the traditional model of application scalability on its head; instead of a fixed amount of database resources and scaling the applications/services horizontally, scale the database (using a cool complex adaptive systems approach) and alleviate much of the need to scale apps and services (except for CPU bound services). For someone like me, that's mind blowing.
Add to that the fact that the data management functions are relatively homogenous (though the infrastructure may not be), and aware of its resource utilization, and you can see why they are claiming a certain amount of hardware-metric based SLAuto.
(Hardware metric based SLAuto is based in measurements of hardware components, such as CPU utilization, memory utilization and so on. Software-based SLAuto usually uses business metrics such as transaction rates, active accounts, etc. to make scaling decisions.)
The catch? Well, everything must be written to use the "Data Grid" if its to take advantage of these capabilities. Legacy applications need not apply. (Could be the deal killer for David's "Not your MOM's Bus" concept.)
It seems to me that if Oracle wants this approach to catch on, it should open source a reference implementation as soon as possible. I'm not an expert at the most recent data processing approaches, but it would seem to me that Map-Reduce approaches would be complimentary to the Data Grid. However, Hadoop implementations would generally only be integrated with a data grid if there was an open source alternative. Otherwise, MySQL will continue to be the first choice. Open Source would also speed up integration between the data grid and infrastructure automation such as Cassatt and its competitors.
Dave hints at a URL for more info on the Oracle site, but I can't find it. If anyone tracks it down, I would appreciate any help I can get.