IBM and partners bring grid computing to Linux mainframes

In an effort to make the mainframe part of the grid computing environment, IBM Corp. and two of its partners on Monday released a host of solutions designed to enable grid computing for companies running Linux on IBM’s eServer zSeries mainframe.

“The grid community historically specialized in the scientific and academic compute-intensive environments, and that’s typically not where you find mainframes,” said Jim Goethals, zSeries networking and grid offering manager in Raleigh, N.C.

“Grid computing as a technology is moving into the commercial space – that’s prime territory for customers who have mainframes to try to leverage that resource into this grid computing infrastructure.”

The partners that made some of their enterprise grid computing products available for Linux on the eServer zSeries mainframe are Markham, Ont.-based Platform Computing Inc. and New York-based DataSynapse Inc.

Platform ported over its Platform LSF, Platform MultiCluster and Platform JobScheduler for Linux on the eServer zSeries mainframe while DataSynapse ported over its grid middleware product called LiveCluster 3G.

Platform LSF provides access on-demand to a company’s global computing resources and balances workload across the organization. Platform MultiCluster enables enterprises to create a single, cohesive computing environment with resource sharing policies across different geographic locations. Finally, Platform JobScheduler accelerates batch processing by integrating, automating and grid-enabling silos of applications, jobs and process flows across distributed computing clusters. Platform’s grid computing solutions support Linux, Macintosh, Unix and Microsoft Corp.’s Windows platforms.

DataSynapse’s LiveCluster3G is designed to solve compute- and data-intensive bottlenecks and scalability by harnessing the power of machines in the grid, and also prioritizes workload on the grid.

“What that means is their products now can tie the strengths of the mainframe into existing grids. Typically grids have a mix of platforms like Unix systems and Linux on xSeries or PC Intel type things, or Unix boxes, AIX boxes,” Goethals explained. “What we’re doing now is allowing the mainframe to participate in what they call a virtual computer environment.”

In addition, the Globus Toolkit has also been made available for Linux on IBM’s eServer zSeries – it’s an open-source, open-architecture designed to facilitate the production of computational grids and the building of grid-based applications.

“[The Globus Project] is an open source consortium of people, and the toolkit is actually a collection of programs people can use to build their own software structure,” Goethals said. “To compare that against Platform or DataSynapse, Platform gives you that structure, whereas if you use Globus Toolkit you build it yourself.”

The Globus Toolkit is available as a free download from, or Linux software provider SuSE Linux at

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