Startup focuses on standards-based grids

Univa, a startup formed to bring the standards-based Globus grid software to corporate data centers, plans to release its first product into beta this week, with general availability expected in the first quarter of next year.

Univa Globus Enterprise, built on Globus Toolkit 4.0, has enhancements such as simplified installers and new security configurations, designed to make it easier for large customers to set up grids using the open source grid middleware, the company says.

Univa Globus Enterprise provides a cocoon around the open source code to make it more supportable in traditional enterprise environments, says Steve Tuecke, Univa's CEO and a co-founder of the Globus Alliance -- formerly known as the Globus Consortium -- which leads development work around the toolkit. The software runs on various flavors of Linux and Unix on x86 servers, and on pSeries, zSeries and BladeCenter platforms from IBM. Univa executives say they expect to add support for Windows in the first half of next year.

Pricing for Univa, which will be based on an annual subscription, has not been released yet.

Traditionally, grid computing has been the domain of academic and research institutions, but the release of Globus Toolkit this past spring made strides in bringing the technology to data center customers by adding more Web services standards and new security and authorization features.

Univa Globus Enterprise takes another step by providing simplified deployment and management features, Tuecke says. In addition, Univa, which received US$8 million in series A funding in August, provides commercial support and services, a key requirement for many corporations looking at open source software. Univa Globus Enterprise is targeted at industries such as financial services, oil and gas, manufacturing and government.

Organizations often set up multiple isolated grids that do not allow for effective data sharing. Univa Globus Enterprise will help those organizations centrally manage distributed data and applications by making it easier for them to deploy the Globus grid infrastructure software, Tuecke says. IBM is one of several companies beta-testing the software.

"Leading-edge researchers and scientists are often willing to put up with a lot of pain in bringing software [into] their environments," Tuecke says. "That's something enterprise environments usually have less tolerance for."

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