IBM’s Expanding Grid Services

IBM Friday unveiled grid and autonomic computing services that combine business consulting knowledge with research and technology to help customers get the edge on their competitors by saving themselves time and resources.


Once a concept trapped in the computer science realm, grid computing
— the idea of drawing computing power from many IT
resources and running them as a single computer — has been gaining
popularity. So, too, has autonomic computing, which is IBM’s technology for
helping computers self-manage and regulate themselves.


Both grid and autonomic methods have opened up new opportunities in the IT
sector and many vendors are looking to offer both technologies to compete.
Other companies including Oracle, HP
and Sun Microsystems, have embraced both the grid
approach and autonomic features into their products and business models.


IBM’s news that it plans to bring together staffers from IBM Business
Consulting Services and IBM Global Services with experts in emerging
technologies at IBM Research are indicative of IBM’s dedication to the grid
concept. More broadly, grid practices dovetail with IBM’s company-wide
practice for delivering computing resources on demand, so that customers can
control how much utilities they use.


Sageza Research analyst Charles King said grids allow companies to better
realize the value and power of computing infrastructures, and ensure support
for critical business processes. But, he cautioned, widespread adoption may
be a bit off in the distance.


“While companies besides IBM are also developing grid solutions, vendors are
waiting for businesses to catch up with grid as both a concept and an
available solution,” King said in a research note. “To that end, IBM’s new
service offerings provide customers concrete methods of measuring the
potential benefits of grid, and of efficiently deploying grid environments.
By educating its customers about grid, IBM is also demystifying a still
relatively arcane technology with real-world applications and benefits. At
the end of the day, by helping others IBM is also potentially helping
itself.”


The new services include:

  • IBM Grid Value at Work practice, an assessment methodology that
    provides customers with a total cost of ownership analysis and roadmap for
    grid computing

  • IBM Business Impact of Technology Services, which help customers
    identify the impact that grid computing can have on business processes, as
    well as revenue generation

  • Grid Solution Deployment Services to help customers design and run
    grids based on their business goals

  • Autonomic Computing Readiness Engagement services to help customers
    increase systems management automation

  • Autonomic Computing Design and Implementation Services, which employs
    IBM Global Services and IBM Research experts to assist customers in the
    architecture and design of autonomic environments.

Document management provider Bowne & Co. was one of the
first customers for the new services. Bowne used them to respond to monthly
and quarterly spikes in demand for the processing and printing of critical
financial documents and to add processing power for projects on the fly.

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