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IBM Pushes Grids

IBM Pushes Grids

IBM is pushing the grid button, offering to set up the supercomputing brutes for customers in aerospace, the automotive industry, the financial markets, government and the life sciences. The push could make use of a customer’s existing non-IBM infrastructure or involve buying IBM gear; it all depends on what IBM’s boys find when they map out the solution. While grids lean toward Linux and open source, they’re not exclusively implemented that way.

In a test grid IBM set up for Charles Schwab IBM wheeled in some Intel-based 330s running Red Hat Linux that were grid-enabled with the open source OGSA-compliant Globus Toolkit 3.0 to replace some non-IBM hardware and cut the processing time on a financial application from four minutes to 15 seconds.

The system hasn’t been implemented yet and may not be, but theoretically Schwab could increase customer satisfaction by responding to inquiries faster.

IBM says it’s got a nine grid offerings it’s prepared to conjure up when the situation presents itself and relationships with a handful of third-party players that’ll supply the middleware: Platform Computing, DataSynapse, Avaki, Entropia and United Devices.

Platform, apparently IBM’s key partner, is supposed to play in all five target industries. DataSynapse is specialized in the financial arena. The other three are sorta like on call. Avaki, for instance, will be used to secure wide area data access.

IBM says it can whip up an Analytics Acceleration Grid like the Charles Schwab one and an IT Optimization Grid that’s supposed to max out underutilized compute and storage resources for financial people.

It’s also prepared to provide an Analytics Acceleration Grid for the life sciences with the help of United and Entropia that should increase the number of calculations processed and so hasten drug discovery. It also envisions an Information Accessibility Grid for these folks that’s intended to exploit existing data by providing unified data access during the querying process of non-standard data formats.

Automotive and aerospace will each be offered an Engineering Design Grid to manage their costs by optimizing their existing infrastructure and a Design Collaboration Grid for data sharing and distributed work flow across partners to hasten design processes.

IBM also says it can stitch together Information Access Grids for government agencies that would give them a unified data and file interface so they can capture, compile and analyze data and facilitate information sharing better.

IBM will also be putting on workshops to entice customers to grids.

On hearing the news, Sun’s chief competitive officer Shahin Khan claimed leadership and said that 6,500 grids have been deployed using the Sun ONE Grid Engine that Sun open sourced and that Sun-based are currently going in at the rate of 70 a week. Sun’s grid clients included Ford Motor Company, Sony Semiconductors, Saab and Motorola plus a bunch of universities.

“The message that IBM seems to be delivering today,” Khan said, “is,” ‘We’ve noticed that grid computing is important and if you tell us you want one, we’ll try to pull one together with services and partners.’”

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More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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