IBM Launches Commercial Grid Offerings

IBM launched a broad push into commercial Grid computing Monday with 10
initiatives targeting aerospace, automotive, financial markets,
government and life sciences.

Big Blue, which gave Grid computing a big boost with its entry into the
space in August 2001, said it hopes its latest initiative will “drive
the benefits of Grid computing beyond its academic and research roots
and into business enterprises.”

“The benefits of Grid computing for e-business on demand are here; it’s
now and it’s real,” said Tom Hawk, IBM’s general manager of Grid
computing worldwide. “Working with our partners and the open Globus
community, we’ve developed a set of structured capabilities and
offerings that leverage IBM’s unmatched experience in deploying IT
solutions to help businesses reap the benefits of Grid computing.”

IBM will work closely with two Grid middleware vendors — Platform
Computing and DataSynapse — both of which will play “key roles” in
helping IBM deploy Grids in the enterprise. IBM also has agreements with
middleware providers Avaki, Entropia and United Devices.

For Platform and DataSynapse, the announcement means that IBM will take
its partnerships with the two firms to a higher level, offering
marketing support and a direct working relationship. “IBM is committed
to making Grid a success in these vertical markets and see these
partners as a key to achieving that,” said spokesperson John Kerr.

Wachovia, a customer of both IBM and DataSynapse, lauded the expanded
partnership between the two.

“As a long-time customer of both IBM and DataSynapse, we are excited
about the partnership between the two companies,” said Bridget-Anne
Hampden, Wachovia managing director and CIO of Corporate and Investment
Banking. “Grid computing has already had a significant impact on our
ability to meet our business objectives. The combination of IBM’s
infrastructure expertise and DataSynapse’s ability to enable a wide
range of applications creates a compelling solution with immediately
realizable benefits.”

Five Focus Areas

IBM said its “go-to-market strategy for 2003” is built around five Grid
focus areas that address the needs of the aerospace, automotive,
financial markets, government and life science industries. These focus
areas, based on customer feedback and customer Grid implementations, are
Research and Development, Engineering and Design, Business Analytics,
Enterprise Optimization, and Government Development. The offerings
are:

  • Financial Markets (Business Analytics and Enterprise Optimization
    Focus): For the Financial Services market, IBM is offering two Grid
    options: an Analytics Acceleration Grid and an IT Optimization Grid. The
    Analytics Acceleration Grid can enhance a company’s competitiveness and
    agility in the financial trading market by accelerating its trading
    analytics operations and increasing its computational throughput. The IT
    Optimization Grid will help customers exploit available, underutilized
    compute and storage resources.

  • Life Sciences (Research and Development Focus): For the Life Sciences
    industry, IBM is offering two Grid options: one for Analytics
    Acceleration and another for Information Accessibility. The Analytics
    Acceleration Grid is designed to dramatically increase the number of
    calculations processed, which can result in accelerated times for drug
    discovery. The Information Accessibility Grid can maximize the
    exploitation of existing data resources and assets by providing unified
    data access during the querying process of nonstandard data formats.

  • Automotive and Aerospace (Engineering and Design Focus): For the
    Automotive and Aerospace industries, IBM is offering an Engineering
    Design Grid as well as a Design Collaboration Grid. The Engineering
    Design Grid will help companies in these industries manage their costs
    by optimizing the use of their investment in existing infrastructure.
    The Design Collaboration Grid will enable data sharing and distributed
    work flow across partners, which will enable faster design processes.

  • Governments (Government Development Focus): For Government agencies,
    IBM is offering an Information Access Grid that can maximize use of
    existing data resources and other assets across the enterprise to enable
    lead identification through data mining and associating diverse data
    sources and simplifying data access through a unified data and file
    interface.
  • In addition to the nine industry-targeted offerings above, IBM’s 10th
    offering will be Grid Innovation Workshops. Customized for each
    organization, the workshops are designed to help companies examine how
    Grid technologies can impact their organization.

    The Grid offerings are designed to operate in a heterogeneous
    environment and will incorporate the Open Grid Services Architecture
    (OGSA), a vision for the convergence of Grid computing and Web services
    that began with IBM and the open source Globus Project. IBM Global
    Services will support all elements of a Grid implementation with both
    IBM and non-IBM hardware and software.

    Platform Computing, a 10-year-old private company that generates more
    than $50 million a year and boasts more than 1,500 customers worldwide,
    is currently the only vendor that will engage in all five industries IBM
    is targeting.

    “This alliance extends our strong relationship with IBM and extends the reach and scope of our Grid computing solutions,” Platform CEO Robert Gordon. “Through the combined core competencies of our two firms, customers can expect solutions they can trust, that reach the market faster and that help them do more with their existing business infrastructure. By solidifying our partnership, Platform is proving our technology as the foundation for Grid computing, on-demand computing and Web services visions.”

    DataSynapse, a New York City-based provider of Grid and distributed
    computing solutions, will be part of IBM’s go-to-market strategy in
    industries requiring business analytics Grids, specifically the
    financial services sector.

    For DataSynapse, the impact of the IBM partnership could be big.

    “We are excited about the impact of our combined solution offering,” said DataSynapse Vice President Tony Bishop, the company’s IBM Global Relationship Manager. “The
    ability to leverage IBM’s expertise in infrastructure services with our
    expertise in enabling applications to leverage Grid services makes for a
    very appealing solution to address customer requirements today. The impact of this strategic partnership with IBM will serve to extend DataSynapse’s reach beyond its core financial services and energy sectors. The IBM partnership will be instrumental as we continue to move into the public and industrial sectors.”

    IBM also has agreements with three other Grid middleware vendors —
    Avaki, Entropia and United Devices — and will engage with these vendors
    in industries where they offer the greatest expertise.

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