Seven software vendors announced on Wednesday plans to team up with IBM Corp. in an effort to prepare their applications for grid computing.
Grid computing enables the virtualization of distributed computing and data resources, including processing, network bandwidth and storage capacity, to create a single system image. Just as an Internet user sees a unified view of content on the Web, a grid user essentially sees a single, large computer, IBM said in a statement.
Once partners such as Cognos Inc., Citrix Systems Inc. and Actuate Corp. enable their apps with grid computing capabilities, they will be able to support customers that already have or plan to deploy grid technology, IBM explained.
Holding many organizations back from adopting grid computing, also called utility computing by some vendors, is the fact that many of their established applications either won’t support the architecture, or do not support it well, explained IDC’s Dan Kusnetzky, vice-president of system software research in Framingham, Mass.
“IBM has made the case to its Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) that this is an opportunity to keep current customers and, potentially, expand their customer list to include people who previously used other, non-utility computing enabled applications,” he said.
Kusnetzky said that companies who are looking for ways to reduce their overall IT costs may face numerous ramifications.
For example, if the expensive portion of their IT costs is in hardware acquisition, they’ll look for ways to adopt high volume/low cost systems. Grid computing may allow these systems to be harnessed together to handle the tasks, which previously could only be assigned to a midrange or larger system, he said.
Or, if companies need to acquire software, then they will look for ways to lower their software costs by making more optimal use of their current software.
“In either case, this opens the door for utility computing/grid computing etc.,” Kusnetzky said. Organizations can gain resiliency, robustness and agility by adopting a utility computing model, he added.
A recent report from IDC projected that grid computing will represent a US$12 billion market by 2007.
IBM said it is offering its business partners a free 90-minute consultation to help them get their software ready for grid computing. Big Blue said it has active grid computing projects at Charles Schwab, Hewitt Associates and others.