IBM says users show grid is commercially viable

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IBM says users show grid is commercially viable

Arif Mohamed
IBM announced a range of government and corporate customers for its grid technology, as IT managers and researchers gathered last week at a major grid conference in Brussels, Belgium.

Auto industry manufacturer Karmann has rolled out a grid implementation based on a Linux cluster of 116 IBM eServer xSeries x335s. It is being used to accelerate business processes including engineering simulation, design and crash test analysis.

Five other corporate users and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) were also highlighted as IBM said that grid computing was now a commercially viable technology.

The EPA is using IBM's Grid Toolbox, Red Hat's Linux Enterprise 2.1 and IBM's pSeries of supercomputers to carry out improved air quality modelling.

An enterprise grid is a form of datacentre computing where low-cost servers are clustered to provide a scalable server farm. This allows extra processing power to be added or taken away by the addition or removal of servers.

The 12th Global Grid Forum conference brought together people who have been experimenting with grids and grid middleware for a number of years, and are defining best practices and standards for enterprise grid computing. The event united grid veterans from automotive, financial, pharmaceutical, aerospace and other industries.

A Global Grid Forum statement said, "Organisations are realising that grid computing is moving past the 'hype'. Grid computing in commercial and research organisations is making an impact through business process improvement, reduced cycle time and increased utilisation of IT resources."

Rob Hailstone, research director at analyst firm IDC, said Oracle which, like IBM, has been heavily promoting grid computing, had powerful products.

"Oracle's grid manager certainly looks as though it is effective at making the best use of resources that are given to the Oracle environment," he said.

IBM needed to develop technology so that small and medium-sized enterprises could take advantage of grid computing, he added.

"To take the initiative, IBM needs to make it easier, particularly for SMEs, to put in a virtualisation layer that can share resources across apps regardless of technology," said Hailstone.

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