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Boost to IBM grid strategy

IBM has received a massive boost to its Grid Computing strategy, thanks to a $53m (£37m) investment in the technology by the US...

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IBM has received a massive boost to its Grid Computing strategy, thanks to a $53m (£37m) investment in the technology by the US National Science Federation.

This latest cash injection will be used by IBM to build what it predicts will be the most powerful grid ever, in conjunction with Quest and Intel. On completion, it will have the capacity to process 13.6 trillion calculations per second.

The grid, dubbed the Distributed Terascale Facility (DTF), will be used by scientists throughout the US to share resources as part of the world's fastest research network.

"The DFT will be the largest, most comprehensive infrastructure ever deployed for scientific research, and it will be powered by IBM Linux clusters," commented Dan Reed, director of the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, one of the sites where the grid will be deployed.

IBM said the DFT would comprise over 1,000 IBM eServer Linux clusters based on Intel's forthcoming McKinley 64-bit processor and will be deployed by IBM Global Services at four locations. IBM will use its TotalStorage product family as the core of the grid's 600-Tbyte data store.

Grid technology is similar to peer-to-peer computing in that it uses spare capacity on computer networks to run complex applications. Grid, however, is much bigger than peer-to-peer computing and is often categorised as supercomputing.

In the past the technology has been used mainly by academics, but IBM announced at the beginning of August that it would role the technology out to commercial organisations.

IBM claims the project not only serves as a boost for Grid computing, but also for the adoption of Linux as an operating system.

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