IBM Grid Package Targets Insurance Industry

Big Blue's Grid and Grow offering, which inludes blade servers and Director management software, will help life insurance companies with actuarial calculations.

IBM is bringing its grid computing capabilities to the life insurance industry.

The Armonk, N.Y., company is rolling out the Grid and Grow for Actuarial Analysis grid solution, a combination of BladeCenter blade servers, Director management software and middleware designed for insurance agencies from a variety of software makers. Other grid software vendors—DataSynapse and Platform Computing—also have offerings for the bundle.

The solution, announced July 26, is available now. It supports both Linux and Microsofts Windows operating system.

Actuaries in the life insurance industry crunch numbers and perform calculations to determine such factors as risks and life expectancy. Using the IBM bundle will help speed up that work and improve the accuracy of the models, said Ken King, vice president of grid computing for IBM.

"With grid computing, infrastructures are faster and more resilient, automatically circumventing hardware failures or capacity issues to ensure complex queries complete in an accelerated fashion," King said in a statement. "For insurance companies … the ability to understand the complex and ever-changing balance between risk and reward in a timely manner is crucial to success."

The blade servers are powered by Intels newest dual-core Xeon 5100 family, formerly code-named Woodcrest. The bundle includes software such as SunGards iWorks Prophet, DFA Capital Managements Advise and GGYs Axis software.

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IBM kicked off its Grid and Grow program in August 2005 as a way to offer packaged grid solutions—bundles of its industry-standard technology and specialized software from ISVs—to various business sectors, including financial services and medical archiving. IBMs Grid and Grow Express programs offer easy installation and deployment options for companies with little or no experience in grid computing.

The company also offers a host of other grid packages for specific industries, including aerospace, automotive and life sciences.

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