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New Working Group to Develop DRM Standards

A group of technology companies has formed a not-for-profit organization to develop a group of standards for distributed resource management (DRM), which they define it as "the management of network-wide computing resources." Called the New Productivity Initiative (NPI), the group is seeking to establish standards that will enable organizations to better capitalize on distributed computing capabilities—including peer-to-peer computing—by managing data, hardware, software, and other resources over platform-independent, geographically dispersed computing environments.

"DRM builds on [P2P] by adding a management layer," says Ian Baird, chair of the NPI steering committee, and chief business architect for Platform Computing, Inc. "It makes decisions to adjust workloads, taking advantage of underutilized systems. DRM tools empower networked computing resources to function as a single, integrated system. Basically, it builds a fast infrastructure out of a whole group of resources."

Specifically, the group is working to develop a layered, open, API specification for DRM.

DRM's close link to enterprise computing differentiates it from other productivity enhancement concepts, Baird says. For example, the peer-to-peer computing model enables a direct exchange of information or sharing of services among computers acting as equals. DRM goes a step further, offering a network-wide view of resource consumption and availability, which gives users the ability to manage the balance between resource supply and application demand. DRM automatically optimizes the balance between the supply of computing cycles and the demand for them created by applications.

"The demand will always outpace the supply when it comes to compute resources," Baird says. "As soon as you add more compute power, designers, application engineers, and others will create new systems that will require even more power to do the next big thing. But DRM allows you to feed that demand with a supply of computers that are being underutilized and undermanaged. All of those machines can now be tied together and harnessed in a significant way to yield a better return on investment for those who have spent huge amounts on their hardware and application infrastructures. It's about getting the full potential out of those systems."

Companies currently contributing to the development of the DRM standard include: Ansys Inc., Aurema, Blackstone Technology Group, Cadence Design Systems, Central Laboratory of the Research Councils), Compaq, Hewlett-Packard, Neolinear, Platform Computing, SGI and TeraPort Corp.

Baird says the NPI is very interested in attracting new members. For more information about the group and its DRM project, send an email to info@newproductivity.org, or visit the Web site at http://www.newproductivity.org. Ian Baird can be contacted at ibaird@platform.com.

About the Author

John K. Waters is a freelance writer based in Silicon Valley. He can be reached at john@watersworks.com.

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