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IBM’s Grid Computing On-Ramp

IBM has unveiled a new packaged set of software, hardware and services designed to provide an entry-level system for companies getting into grid computing. Announced at the 2005 LinuxWorld Conference in San Francisco, IBM’s new Grid and Grow solution is aimed at industrial operations, public sector companies and financial firms of all sizes.

Grid and Grow is “a very easy on-ramp to adopt the technology,” says Al Bunshaft, IBM’s VP of grid computing. “It’s the first building block that allows a company to put in the environment and get significant value out of it.”

IBM has enlisted Intel to collaborate on the solution. Intel will provide education through its business partner channel, solution blueprints, and joint customer engagements.

“We see grid computing becoming a key strategic element in the alignment between business and IT,” says Robert Fogel, Intel’s director of grid strategy and business development. “Grid solutions based on interoperable building blocks, such as IBM BladeCenter, facilitate IT infrastructure that is easier to manage, lower in [total cost of ownership] and is less complex.”

The standard Grid and Grow package includes:

- BladeCenter Grid Hardware: Customers can select from a choice of BladeCenter servers to power their Grid computing offering, including the Intel-based IBM BladeCenter HS20, IBM POWER-based BladeCenter JS20 and the AMD Opteron LS20 blade. The standard Grid and Grow offering will include one BladeCenter chassis featuring seven blades, although customers can easily expand to a full BladeCenter. IBM Director is also available with IBM BladeCenter to simplify management of the complete solution.

- Grid Scheduler: Depending on the type of workload and the industry, customers can select either Altair PBS Professional, DataSynapse GridServer, Platform LSF or IBM LoadLeveler to manage compute resources as a shared pool, scheduling application work to increase the overall utilization while reducing the time to complete jobs.

- Operating System: Grid and Grow offers a choice of three operating systems, including Linux from Red Hat or Novell SuSE, Windows and AIX 5L.

- Services: Grid and Grow customers will also receive IBM Global Services, such as expertise for application assessment, Grid scheduler installation, tuning, testing and client training.

Optimized software from IBM’s Tivoli portfolio is available as part of Grid and Grow, including dynamic server provisioning, software license tracking and management of grid storage.

“We are seeing more and more customers constrained for computing capacity turning to grid to expand their capacity without having to completely rip and replace their existing computing environments,” Bunshaft says. “We chose a LinuxWorld rollout because of the very close relationship between the explosion of grid technology and Linux as a primary operating platform.”

More information about IBM’s Grid computing business is available at: www.ibm.com/grid.

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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