IBM on Monday added to its long list of Canadian software acquisitions with the purchase of Platform Computing, a company whose ability to manage “grids” of computing workloads will help Big Blue make gains in the cloud computing market.
Based in Toronto, Platform employs approximately 500 employees and first gained attention in the late 1990s with its Load Sharing Facility (LSF), which allowed IT departments to set business policies so they could effectively put resources into the hands of the people who need them most. This focus on network load balancing gave Platform an early advantage in what became known as grid computing, where enterprises focused on distributing computing resources transparently among a large number of users, in effect turning a server cluster or a computer farm into what appears from the user’s desktop to be a single supercomputer or mainframe.
Platform and IBM have worked together for many years. Five years ago, Platform was among the firms chosen for Big Blue’s “Grid and Grow” program, which ensured products interoperated with IBM’s suite. In some areas, however, they were competitors. For example, IBM earlier this year launched its HPC Management Suite for Cloud, whereas Platform Computing began offering tools to let its customers build private clouds out of multiple clusters since 1999.
In a conference call following the announcement, Dr. Songnian Zhou, CEO, Platform Computing, highlighted Canadian Platform Computing customers including Bombardier, Royal Bank and ATI (now part of AMD). He said the company has witnessed a tremendous movement towards high-performance computing in organizations of all sizes.
“People tend to do more and more computing. To out-compete, one needs to out-compute,” he said. “Computing is simply the third way, in addition to theory and experimenting, to do things better.”
“IBM marketing and channel reach should build opportunities for Platform to further address adjacent markets of high-end clustering into analytics, cloud and disaster recovery,” he said, adding that Big Blue has a positive track record for supporting the growth of acquisitions, while limiting disruption of staff and existing strategies such as product roadmaps and sales. “We expect the treatment of Platform to follow this path too.”