Platform adds Cognos to grid arsenal

Toronto-based grid company Platform Computing Inc. on Tuesday added business intelligence technology from Ottawa’s Cognos Inc. to its rapidly evolving suite of grid computing software.

Platform will add Cognos’ reporting and analysis tools including Cognos’ PowerPlay and Upfront, which help companies manage complex compute environments such as grids, said Paul Hill, the vice-president of marketing for Platform Computing.

The idea of grid computing environments that link and optimize all of the compute resources in a distributed network has been gaining momentum in the industry. Already popular in scientific computing, enterprises are recognizing the value of grids as ways to optimize their business technology, said Robert Batchelder, a research director at Gartner Inc., in Stamford, Conn.

“Grids are making the transition from the lab and to the workplace,” Batchelder said.

Delivering the business intelligence tools will help companies handle the task of managing a grid, Hill explained.

“In the course of managing all of these distributed compute resources in a grid, companies are capturing information about both the systems and the users of those systems,” said Hill. “We are now applying business intelligence technology to that raw information and repackaging that information to allow two constituencies to understand their business.” Those two constituencies — or target customers for Platform — are IT and IT managers, Hill said.

Although Hill gave no indication of which new management technologies would be added to Platform’s grid computing products, he did confirm that the company was on the look out for additional OEM partnerships or acquisitions that would tailor grid computing more toward the enterprise.

“All the tools that are needed right now to deploy grid computing in an enterprise environment are out there,” HIll said.

Gartner’s Robert Batchelder agreed that grid computing is now a reality, and that enterprises are quickly getting an appetite for the concept.

“Grids are real, and a lot of the utopianism associated with them has been wrung out. So now, at long last, people are focused on the enterprise or the industrial-strength applications of grids,” said Hill.