IBM has formalised five new grid services offerings within its IBM Global Services and IBM Consulting Services groups to extend the reach of grid computing beyond the realms of academia and research.
The latest offerings are designed to help customers work with IBM to assess and plan for grid computing deployments.
"It's five formal services offerings from IBM based on the experiences that we've had with hundreds of customer engagements around the world," said Dan Powers, IBM's vice president of grid computing strategy.
Now that they are classified as "formal service offerings", these services will be deployed "better and faster" than they had been in the past, said Powers.
One such offering, called Grid Value at Work, helped convince New York financial information publishing company Bowne to embark on a three and a half month pilot grid computing project that ended in August last year, IBM claimed.
Grid Value at Work includes assessment software that shows executives the return on investment and cost savings they can expect from adopting a grid application architecture. IBM services staff enter data about a customer's computing resources and workloads, and the software provides the analysis.
"It's really a detailed financial analysis that not only the chief information officer would love, but the chief financial officer would love it as well," said Powers.
During its pilot project, Bowne worked with IBM and software supplier DataSynapse to grid-enable a statement-processing component of its Vax-based Bowne Integrated Typesetting System application. This allowed the software to be run in a distributed fashion on a handful of Windows desktops and servers when those systems were not being used fully .
Even though Bowne did save money by using existing equipment to run the grid-enabled application, the main benefit of the grid was its flexibility, said Ruth Harenchar, the company's CIO and senior vice president.
The ability to tap existing resources during busy times holds particular appeal for a seasonal business like Bowne's, she added. Each quarter, the company is deluged with work as companies rush to report their March, June, September and December financial results.
Bowne now plans to grid-enable a larger module of its typesetting system, and Harenchar is optimistic about the company's first tentative steps into grid computing. "The initial indications are that it's very much worth the effort," she said.
IBM's new offerings are:
- Grid Value at Work: The total cost of ownership assessment service
- Business Impact of Technology: For assessing the impact of grid computing on business processes
- Grid Solution Deployment: For planning and designing grid deployments
- Autonomic Computing Readiness Engagement: Helps plan systems management with IBM's self-configuring "autonomic" computing systems
- Autonomic Computing Design and Implementation, which is used for deploying autonomic systems
Robert McMillan writes for IDG News Service