Claiming grid technology continues to expand outside its traditional scientific and research markets, IBM on Friday is announced several grid-based commercial projects built on IBM platforms have been launched, including one at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
In a related announcement, IBM officials said they have completed work with 10 software companies helping them to reshape their applications to work with grids. Among the companies are Ascential Software, Insbridge, Peregrine Software, and Turboworx. This brings to 17 the number of ISVs IBM has worked with this year to properly tune their applications for grids, a company spokesman
IBM attributes most of this recent surge of interest in grid computing among commercial IT shops to more sophisticated end-to-end infrastructure finally being in place, making its implementation much easier to carry out.
"The business case has been strong for grids, but the inhibitor has always been, `How do I do this without having brain surgeons come in or a very large IT staff.' You are seeing a lot of these commercial companies pursue grid projects now because it is just becoming more doable. Open standards evolving more rapidly hasn't hurt either," said Scott Hebner, IBM's vice president in charge of developer relations.
The EPA is using Linux and IBM supercomputers on a grid to carry out improved air quality modeling as well as to better predict the environmental risks of exposure to air pollution, an agency spokesman said.
"We think this open systems approach by IBM will give some added speed and better efficiencies focused on improving the nation's health by partnering with states in their implementation of new clean air standards," said Dr. Paul Gilman, assistant administrator for the EPA's research and development group.
The EPA is using IBM's Grid Toolbox, Red Hat's Linux Enterprise 2.1, IBM's pSeries of supercomputers, and the Avaki Enterprise Information software. The agency will use the system to provide pay-as-you-go computing services to partners that would otherwise have no access to such resources, according to agency officials
Nippon Steele announced its first implementation of grid computing, which is being applied to production in iron mills. The company is hoping to leverage grid technology to improve its production planning systems. Japan's largest telecommunications company, NTT DoCoMo, is in the process of testing grid and autonomic technologies at its Internet connectivity service.