IBM brings grid to software vendors

Seven independent software vendors (ISVs), including Citrix Systems and Cognos, have been the first to take advantage of an IBM program designed to help bridge the gap between commercial software vendors and the world of grid computing.

Launched in 2003, the Solutions Grid for Business Partners gives ISVs access to IBM engineering expertise, hardware and software at four IBM Innovation Centers in the US and the UK, where they go through a very well-defined process to extend their applications, according to Steve Gordon, an alliance executive for grid computing at IBM.

"The centers are set up to support whatever configuration - within limits - they want to test with their application, " Gordon said.

IBM developed the Solutions Grid program to promote the idea of grid computing - a way of developing software so that it can use computing resources from many different systems - outside of the academic world where it was first developed, he said.

Citrix, for example, used the program to extend the load balancing capabilities of its MetaFrame software using IBM's Tivoli Orchestrator product. With the new grid-enabled MetaFrame, customers can tell the software to automatically add new servers to run the application, whenever it is being heavily used.

"What this integrated service does is it effectively automates the process," managing director of strategic alliances with Citrix, Chris Fleck, said. The Solutions Grid program also helps ISVs to grid-enable their applications using grid software from IBM partners.

Citrix was now working with grid vendor DataSynapse to integrate the Citrix Presentation Server with DataSynapse's application management software, Fleck said.

The other ISVs who have grid-enabled their applications are Abaqus, Actuate, Engineous Software, Fluent and Sefas Innovation. IBM had another 15 software vendors signed up for the program, Gordon said.

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