IBM readies commercial grid software package

IBM Corp. revved up a commercial version of software based on open-source grid-computing protocols on Wednesday, furthering its efforts to push into the corporate world what has largely been a tool of scientific bodies.

IBM will ship a boxed set of software that includes version 2.0 of the Globus Toolkit along with documentation and installation scripts for the AIX and Linux operating systems. This move adds to IBM's long-standing support for The Globus Project's research into tools for linking servers and storage systems via grid protocols.

Grid computing technology has been used by universities and research groups to join large pools of disparate compute resources. Instead of running software on one server or even a cluster of servers, companies can link hardware located in different places around the world, creating what appears as a massive computer. Software can then be written to search for available computing resources anywhere on the gird, which, in theory, would help ensure computer power is used as efficiently as possible.

IBM rivals such as Hewlett-Packard Co. and Sun Microsystems Inc. have also charged into the grid computing arena. Sun, for example, already sells its Grid Engine software for grouping processors across a number of servers for computing tasks.

The IBM Grid Toolbox for Linux and the IBM Grid Toolbox for AIX are available immediately at no charge. The company will also provide support services through its Global Services arm but pricing will vary for each customer, according to an IBM spokesman.

IBM is also working with other organizations on another project called the Open Grid Service Architecture (OGSA). This effort is centered around combining grid protocols with Web services types of technology such as XML (Extensible Markup Language), SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) and Java support.

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