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Sun Releases Grid Software For Enterprises

Sun Microsystems unveiled the latest version of its Grid computing software on Thursday, including a new policy management tool that Sun says gives enterprises unprecedented ability to allocate computing resources.

Sun Grid Engine Enterprise Edition 5.3 is the commercial version of the free Sun Grid Engine software that has been available since September 2000. The new software will allow the evolution of Grids from single-project "cluster Grids" to "campus Grids" that pool the computing resources of several clusters scattered throughout an enterprise, said Peter Jeffcock, group marketing manager for Sun's Client and Technical Market Products Group.

But to get different clusters to agree to work together and share resources, Sun found it necessary to provide a policy module to ensure that resources are shared and that projects receive the resources they need in accordance with company priorities. The policy module allows companies to align resources with "just a two minute exercise, with no need to take anything down," Jeffcock said. "No one else can do that now."

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Grid Engine Enterprise allows companies to pool resources while maintaining quality and power for each project. The policy module lets firms establish, monitor and maintain policies, and align resources with business goals. As projects become more important to a company's business goals, they can be allocated greater resources, a process Jeffcock said is "hard work" without the Sun policy tool.

Synopsis, for example, uses Grid Engine Enterprise to shift resources between day and nighttime use, Jeffcock said. Motorola Semiconductor uses the software to allocate additional CPUs to individual projects as deadlines approach. Both companies purchased Grid Engine Enterprise as part of Sun's Gridware product.

Grid Engine Growth

Sun Grid Engine currently powers more than 5,000 Grids, Jeffcock said, and 70 more are deployed each week, a growth rate 20% faster than just seven months ago. "No one else comes close" to that number of installed Grids, he said. More than half of those Grids are commercial, and the average Grid size is increasing, he said.

Life sciences, Electronic Design Automation (EDA), and Mechanical Computer-Aided Engineering (MCAE) are among the biggest adopters, Jeffcock said. Half the Grids are Solaris, 25% are Linux, and 25% combine both, and each user has an average of two CPUs.

Sun Grid Engine Enterprise Edition costs $20,000 for 0-50 CPUs; $30,000 for 51-100 CPUs; $50,000 for 101-250 CPUs, and $80,000 for 251-2000 CPUs.

"Beyond that, give us a call," Jeffcock said.

The freeware version of Grid Engine will remain free. More than 500,000 lines of code are open source, and the software has been ported to many operating systems, including Solaris, Linux, IRIX, Tru64, AIX and HP/ux. For more information, visit www.sun.com/grid.