UD Sees Bright Future for Grid Vendors

Far from being left behind by virtualization, United Devices sees grid computing companies as uniquely positioned to help data centers make the most of virtualization.

Like fellow commercial grid computing pioneers DataSynapse and Platform Computing, UD has been moving away from its grid roots and into the data center virtualization market.

But far from being a retreat from the grid computing market, UD CEO Ben Rouse says grid computing vendors are uniquely positioned to provide higher-level functionality to virtualized infrastructures such as VMware environments.

“There is an opportunity in the data center to provide higher-level automation,” Rouse told Grid Computing Planet. “Grid is ideally suited to do that.”

Grid, says Rouse, can create pools of virtual machines, set policies, provide automation and help meet service-level agreements (SLAs) in virtualized environments.

“I’m very convinced that grid vendors are very well positioned to solve this upper-level challenge,” he said.

Rouse doesn’t see VMware and other virtualization companies as competitors — rather, he sees UD’s virtualization offerings as complementary, helping users get the most from virtualized infrastructures.

For example, in SAP environments — the largest item in mainstream IT budgets — Rouse says UD can reduce licensing costs by as much as two-thirds.

UD recently laid off a significant portion of its HPC sales staff in what Rouse called a “decision to organize aggressively around” the data center virtualization market.

Last year, one-third of UD’s sales were in the data center, a number that Rouse expects to exceed 50 percent this year. “The lifetime revenue expectations in the data center application market are so much higher than HPC,” he said.

UD’s early sales in the data center space have been mainly to managed service providers such as telcos and ISPs, he said.

Rouse said UD remains “very committed” to HPC and grid computing, but the company has become so established in that space that “grid customers find us.”

“We’re on the short list of companies that do that,” Rouse said. “It doesn’t take a lot of sales effort.”

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