IBM is continuing work to raise the profile of grid computing beyond scientific and research markets.
Several grid-based commercial projects built on IBM platforms have been launched, including one at the US Environmental Protection Agency.
The company has completed work with 10 more software suppliers to reshape their applications to work with grids, bringing the total to 17.
IBM attributes most of the recent surge of commercial interest in grid computing to the prevalence of more sophisticated end-to-end infrastructure .
"The business case has been strong for grids, but the inhibitor has always been, `How do I do this without having brain surgeons come in or a very large IT staff.'
"You are seeing a lot of these commercial companies pursue grid projects now because it is just becoming more do-able. Open standards evolving more rapidly has not hurt either," said Scott Hebner, IBM's vice-president in charge of developer relations.
The Environmental Protection Agency is using Linux and IBM supercomputers on a grid to carry out improved air quality modeling as well as to better predict the environmental risks of exposure to air pollution, an agency spokesman said.
"We think this open systems approach by IBM will give some added speed and better efficiencies focused on improving the nation's health by partnering with states in their implementation of new clean air standards," said Paul Gilman, assistant administrator for the agency's research and development group.
It is using IBM's Grid Toolbox, Red Hat's Linux Enterprise 2.1, IBM's pSeries of supercomputers, and the Avaki Enterprise Information software.
It will use the system to provide pay-as-you-go computing services to partners that would otherwise have no access to such resources.
Ed Scannell writes for Infoworld