IBM, Butterfly.Net Team on Gaming Grid

By Jeffrey Burt  |  Posted 2003-02-27
IBMs ultradense blade servers will be the backbone of a Linux-based grid that will enable millions of users and developers to access Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.s PlayStation 2 games on the Internet.

The Butterfly Grid for PlayStation 2—created by IBM, Sony and Inc., a pioneer in grid computing based in Martinsburg, W.V.—will be announced next week at the annual Game Developers Conference in San Jose, Calif.

The grid, which will be hosted by IBM at centers in Los Angeles and Springfield, Va., has been two years in the making, said Scott Penberthy, vice president of business development at IBM Global Services.

IBM, of Armonk, N.Y., has 175 global hosting centers, and more can be used to support the PlayStation 2 grid if demand arises, Penberthy said.

Grid computing is a way of linking multiple servers and use them to work as a single supercomputer. Resources can be dynamically moved from server to server as demand dictates.

IBM will use dual-Xeon BladeCenter servers in the hosting centers to run Butterfly.nets middleware software on the grid, which illustrates the shift of gaming from only consoles to the Internet, Penberthy said. IBMs DB2 database and WebSphere products also will be used, he said.

"Gaming is beginning to crack into the data centers," he said. "Gamers are really pushing the envelope."

The two companies will demonstrate PlayStation 2 games being used in the grid during next weeks show, Penberthy said.

Players and developers can use the grid to create and play the games online, and pay a fee to the service depending on the amount of time used.

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