IBM brings supercomputing to Houston

Nw facilities will target petroleum-industry customers

IBM Corp. is adding a third supercomputing center to its services facilities, this one targeted at petroleum-industry customers.

The IBM Deep Computing Capacity On Demand center will open in Houston by Oct. 1, IBM said. The center joins two others, in Poughkeepsie, New York, and Montpellier, France, providing pay-as-you-go access to IBM hardware, software and services resources for intensive computing projects.

The Houston center's anchor customer will be Landmark Graphics Corp., a Halliburton Co. unit that provides software and services to the oil and gas industries. Landmark will use the IBM center to underpin seismic processing projects such as its Rapid Prospect Generation Engine system for evaluating potential drill sites, Landmark said.

IBM already had a number of oil industry companies, including Landmark, using its Poughkeepsie center, and planned all along to set up a Houston facility, according to Mark Enzweiler, IBM's general manager for the chemicals and petroleum industry.

IBM pitches its supercomputing centers as an option for tapping massive resources without up-front capital outlays or long-term fixed IT costs. The centers are ideal for handling peak loads, Enzweiler said. Other industries IBM targets for its on-demand supercomputing services include life sciences, financial services and digital animation.

The Houston center will initially consist of 512 IBM xSeries Xeon servers, with additional hardware and other technologies added as demand warrants, IBM said.

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