IBM Greases Grid Concept with Workshops

The company, hoping to persuade ISVs to grid-enable their applications, is also offering technical advice and visits to developers' sites.

IBM, DataSynapse and Paremus are each taking steps to quell fears and nudge enterprises down the grid computing path.

Commonplace in universities and research institutions, grid computing is the practice of pooling IT resources into grids to create massive amounts of computing power.

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IBM is embarking on a program to encourage ISVs to grid-enable their applications. The program includes technical advice and visits to developers sites, as well as a series of Think Grid Workshops, where developers can talk about grid computing with IBM experts, according to IBM officials.

The Armonk, N.Y., company conducted one seminar in Boston last month and scheduled another for next month in London.

The goal is to recruit several dozen ISVs into the program by the end of the year, said Al Bunshaft, IBM vice president of sales and development of grids.

Don Tucker has looked at grids from both university and commercial viewpoints. As a professor in the University of Oregons psychology department, in Eugene, Tucker knows how grid computing can improve research into brain disorders.

But as CEO of Electrical Geodesics Inc., also in Eugene, which is working to commercialize a Linux-based computing grid, Tucker has seen resistance from hospitals concerned about issues such as security and privacy, as well as adopting a new architecture.

"Its the adoption of the medical community thats an open question," said Tucker. "How can you really be open to a grid framework? Its the parochial nature of most businesses. Its really at odds with commercial businesses. Everyone wants closed systems."

To help ease the transition, Electrical Geodesics offers hospitals the option of creating a small compute cluster on-site as a way of introducing them to the grid concept.

Meanwhile, grid management software makers DataSynapse Inc. and Paremus Ltd. are doing their part to promote the grid concept.

At the Grid Today show in Philadelphia this week, the companies will unveil technologies and services to help businesses design and deploy grids in their data centers.

DataSynapse, of New York, will unveil its Gridesign service, which aims to help businesses identify which applications run best on grids, how to set up a grid and the best way for the customer to start.

London-based Paremus will demonstrate Infiniflow, a grid fabric aimed at the enterprise, officials said. The product, which works with server and networking technologies from Sun Microsystems Inc., among others, is designed to give customers tools such as messaging middleware and business workflow capabilities needed for enterprises to run grids across their data centers.

Also this week, the DCML Organization, of San Ramon, Calif., will release a specification to help enterprises create grids by bringing into play systems and applications from multiple vendors.

At the CAWorld show in Las Vegas, the group will release the Data Center Markup Language Framework Specification 1.0, an XML-based standard that provides a common language for describing resources within a data center.

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