Big Blue Turns Green with Grid Computing Deal

IBM revealed a number of supercomputing projects from its
Deep Computing unit, which should whet the appetites of those following the 12th Global
Grid Forum (GGF) in Brussels, Belgium, next week.


Priming the pump for the “Grids Deployed in the Enterprise” theme of the show,
Big Blue unveiled a project in which it will help the
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) research how to more accurately model
air quality and gauge the risks of exposure to air pollution.


The EPA will use a system comprised of Grid Toolbox, which is a suite of
standards-based grid software from IBM, IBM eServer pSeries supercomputers
and Red Hat’s Linux Enterprise 2.1 operating system to provide pay-as-you-go
computing services to its partners. The agency is currently considering
expanding the project to a production environment.


“This … system from IBM provides the agency with added speed and increased
efficiency focused on improving the nation’s health by partnering with the
states in their implementation of new clean air standards,” said Paul
Gilman, assistant administrator for the agency’s research and development
component, in a statement.


In a sign that grid computing is outgrowing its academia
and research cage and moving into the larger enterprise space, the Armonk, N.Y., company
has also inked a number of commercial contracts with vendors based in Asia.


The contracts are indicative of the rising popularity of grid computing,
which harnesses unused processing cycles of all of the computers in a
network for solving problems too intensive for any one machine. IBM, which
made
a major grid push in April 2003, vies for such deals with rivals HP and Sun Microsystems .


Yurion, a Korean streaming audio provider, asked IBM to produce a grid capable of
supporting 100,000 concurrent users and 200 terabytes of storage. The grid
includes IBM BladeCenter and xSeries servers, as well as IBM TotalStorage,
SAN Volume Controller and TotalStorage FAStT storage systems.


Siemens mobile is using grid infrastructure from IBM to speed the
development and improve the quality of its mobile communications software.
The grid at Siemens mobile includes eServer xSeries servers running Novell’s
SUSE Linux.


In conjunction with the IBM Tokyo Research Laboratory, Japanese telco NTT
Communications is testing grid and autonomic computing technologies to
improve service quality at OCN, NTT Com’s Internet connectivity service.


Lastly, China’s oil product manufacturer Sinopec has tabbed IBM to create a
grid infrastructure to improve access to distributed data that resided in
multiple independent silos across the company.


While most of the contracts have been with laboratories or financial
services businesses, the interest from Asia-Pacific businesses illustrates that grid
applications are catching on in many different vertical markets.


“The range of new grid computing projects announced today, in government,
telecommunications, manufacturing, petroleum and digital entertainment, make
it clear that grid computing is a force in the commercial enterprise,” said
Ken King, vice president of Grid Computing at IBM.


Dedicated to the creation of open standards in distributed
computing, the Global Grid Forum conference
next week will allow technical managers, product strategists, and
researchers to discuss the issues of grid computing.

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