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Globus Gains Commercial Acceptance

The open source Globus Toolkit took a couple of giant steps toward commercial acceptance this week, winning support from IBM as well as its first commercial adoption.

At Global Grid Forum 5 in Edinburgh, IBM announced that it has become the first major IT vendor to provide commercial support and distribution of the Globus Toolkit. And leading Grid computing firm Platform Computing, which in February became the first company to offer a commercial version of Globus, announced that Sandia National Laboratories had selected Platform Globus 2.0 in the industry's first commercial end-user adoption of the Globus Toolkit.

The packaged solution from IBM, available to businesses by CD or as a download, includes the unaltered, open-source Globus Toolkit software enhanced with quality documentation and a set of installation scripts specifically designed for IBM's eServers running Linux or AIX, Big Blue said.

"Grid computing represents the next significant breakthrough in managing IT infrastructures," Tom Hawk, IBM's general manager of Grid computing, said in a statement. "As Grids move beyond academic and research institutions into the commercial arena, IBM is committed to working with the open community and our partner companies to help businesses harness IT resources through the deployment of Grids."

IBM also announced that an IBM eServer p690 supercomputer sold last week to the Research Councils UK would form one of the major processing engines of the UK National Grid, a Web of supercomputers that is being built for both academic and commercial use. The IBM supercomputer offers the potential to double the processing power of the UK Grid and be used in everything from drug design for commercial use to studying the structure of the earth, IBM said.

The IBM Grid Toolbox for Linux and IBM Grid Toolbox for AIX feature ease-of-use enhancements for installation and configuration, enhanced security tools, plus the addition of IBM service and support from IBM Global Services, the company said.

The toolbox, which IBM is offering free of charge, is middleware that allows users to share IT resources, data and applications as easily as information is shared over the Web, Big Blue said. Grids join large numbers of disparate systems into a single virtualized computing environment. The Globus middleware joins together the various Grid services and resources a company may require. Using the software, developers can also create Grid-based applications and take advantage of either the AIX or Linux operating systems' advanced scalability and high-availability features.

The IBM Grid Toolbox for Linux and the IBM Grid Toolbox for AIX will be used in conjunction with a range of IBM and third party software technologies such as Avaki, DataSynapse, Entropia, Platform Computing and United Devices, and open source technologies including OpenPBS and Condor.

"A complete infrastructure requires many technology components, and IBM is working closely with these key business partners to build Grid solutions for its customers," the company said.

Sandia Selects Platform Globus in First Commerical Adoption of Globus Toolkit

Also at Global Grid Forum 5, Platform Computing announced that Sandia National Laboratories had selected Platform Globus 2.0 in the industry's first commercial end-user adoption of the Globus Toolkit.

Sandia will use Platform Globus for the ASCI (Accelerated Strategic Computing Initiative) Grid, which securely connects three U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Labs, including Sandia National Labs (Albuquerque, N.M.), Lawrence Livermore National Lab (Livermore, Calif.) and Los Alamos National Lab (Los Alamos, N.M.), in the world's largest Grid.

"Platform Globus offers us numerous benefits, such as multi-platform commercial technical support, quality assurance and cost effectiveness," Steven Humphreys, ASCI Grid Services Project Leader at Sandia, said in a statement. "We made initial steps in hardening the Globus Toolkit for use with Kerberos, and are now collaborating with Platform to enhance the initial integration. Kerberos support allows us compliance with our approved security framework, and the opportunity to leverage our in-house Kerberos expertise."

The ASCI Grid enables scientists and engineers to access massively parallel supercomputers for collaborative modeling and simulation work. Based on the June 2002 Top 500 Supercomputer List, the ASCI Grid connects the second, sixth, seventh and 15th fastest computers in the world. These supercomputers include, respectively: ASCI White at LLNL (IBM RS/6000 SP); ASCI Red at Sandia (Intel-based); and ASCI Blue Mountain and Q at LANL (HP AlphaServer SC and SGI Origin). Platform Globus will interface with multiple cluster-level workload managers, including Platform LSF, PBS, NQS and DPCS in this Grid.

"Sandia's adoption of Platform Globus for the ASCI Grid is a significant milestone for the Globus Toolkit, clearly demonstrating the evolution of Grid computing from Enterprise Grids to Partner Grids," said Rene Copeland, Platform's vice president of sales for government and life sciences.

Security was a primary challenge that the three labs needed to address in establishing the ASCI Grid. Kerberos is one of the components being utilized to meet the requirements of these geographically distributed organizations. As part of the ASCI program, Sandia modified an earlier version of the Globus Toolkit to use Kerberos security and has now contributed these modifications back to the Globus Toolkit, as well as releasing this software and other capabilities built on top of Globus under an open source license.

"As the only platform-independent provider of a commercially supported distribution of the Globus Toolkit, Platform Computing is playing a key role in the evolution of Grid computing," said Ian Foster, Globus Project co-lead and Associate Director of the Mathematics and Computer Science Division of Argonne National Laboratory. "Platform's collaboration with Sandia is a significant event in the history of the Globus Project in that it demonstrates commercial acceptance of an open source technology for Grid computing."

Platform Globus 2.0 includes the Globus Toolkit software, documentation and technical support, and a range of comprehensive professional services, including installation, configuration, customization and training. Platform works closely with the Globus Project to perform quality assurance, improve documentation, and achieve interoperability and seamless integration with commercial workload management and Grid computing applications. Platform also shares source code changes from the porting process with the Globus Project.