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RealTime IT News

Grid Pioneers To Launch Company

The creators of the widely-used Globus Toolkit have formed a company to provide commercial software, services and support for the open source software that has become the de facto standard for grid computing.

Steve Tuecke, Ian Foster and Carl Kesselman, who pioneered Grid computing in the mid-1990s with the development of the Globus Toolkit, founded Univa Corp. to help enterprises deploy Globus-based solutions.

Platform Computing, the top private grid company, also offers commercial versions of the Globus Toolkit, and the list of IT companies using technologies and standards based on Globus software includes Fujitsu, HP, Hitachi, IBM, NEC and Sun Microsystems.

"Univa is providing what enterprise customers, large IT vendors and systems integrators have been asking for — a company that can deliver high-quality commercial software, technical support and professional services for Globus software," said Tuecke, who will be CEO of the new company. "We're committed to delivering and supporting enterprise grid solutions based on Globus technology."

The company plans to launch its first products next year.

"The open source Globus Toolkit was embraced early on in scientific computing because its use simplified the development and deployment of computationally and data intensive applications," said Dan Kusnetzky, IDC's vice president of system software research. "Bringing this virtual environment software technology into mainstream IT departments is the next challenge. Organizations' IT departments expect levels of support, documentation and training which are difficult for open source communities to deliver. Organizations such as Univa are a necessary precursor to widespread adoption of this technology."

Insight Research says the worldwide market for grid technology and services is doubling every year and will reach $5 billion by 2008.

The company launches with plaudits from IBM, with which the Globus Alliance worked to merge Web services and grid computing standards, and organizations such as the Global Grid Forum and the Enterprise Grid Alliance.

"IBM has worked extensively with the founders of Univa in the development of open source grid technologies," said Ken King, IBM's vice president of grid computing. "We expect Univa to play a key role in accelerating enterprise adoption of grid solutions by providing commercially-supported software, professional services and technical support for Globus-based software."

Univa said it is "committed to open grid standards and to contributing to the open source Globus Toolkit." The company and its founders will continue to participate in industry standards initiatives in organizations such as the Grid Forum, the Enterprise Grid Alliance and OASIS.

Foster and Kesselman will serve as Chief Open Source Strategist, and Chief Scientist, respectively. Rich Miller, a veteran Silicon Valley executive, will serve as COO. Bob Mandel, with 18 years of executive experience in finance at Baxter Healthcare, Price Waterhouse, Tellabs and Unilever, will serve as vice president of finance and operations.

Univa's advisory board includes Eric Dean, former CIO of United Airlines; Shahin Khan, former head of Sun Microsystems' High Performance and Technical Computing group; and Steve Yatko, global head of IT Research and Development for Credit Suisse First Boston.