Univa and IBM team up for enterprise Grid

GridWorld's starting off on an interesting note here in Boston this week, with today's announcement from Grid start-up Univa that it has partnered with IBM for a commercially-supported version of the Globus Toolkit.

[According to the announcement]: "Under the three-year agreement, Univa will deliver a commercially supported and enterprise-ready release of open-standard software built around the Globus Toolkit for use across IBM's eServer platforms running both AIX and Linux, including IBM eServer iSeries, pSeries, xSeries, zSeries and BladeCenter systems. IBM will also provide Univa with product development resources and technology assets to assist in the development, delivery and support of the Univa commercial releases on IBM platforms."

For those that have followed the Grid computing evolution for a while, IBM has been a long-time supporter of the Globus Toolkit. IBM Global Services has had a huge footprint in many of the enterprise Globus Toolkit implementations to date (not to mention the vast financial support and development that IBM has contributed to the actual Globus Toolkit code historically). For a number of years, IBM has released its own Grid Toolbox, their own version of an open source Grid toolkit, based on Globus. But under the terms of this partnership, IBM will license a Univa distro of the Globus Toolkit, specifically geared towards the unique Grid computing requirements of enterprise environments.

What is particularly interesting to ponder in the context of the future of Grid computing is that here, IBM is partnering with the first major enterprise distro of the Globus Toolkit, similar to IBM's support of Red Hat and SuSe in the early days of Linux. Similar to how there are many flavors of Linux distros today -- there may some day be many different flavors of Globus Toolkit distros. We will likely see many different types of Grid computing environments take shape in enterprise, so there will be plenty of opportunities for other Grid services and support startups to create variants of the Globus Toolkit.

But in these nascent days of enterprise Grid, Univa is particularly well-positioned to lead the market, considering that their founders are the original creators of the Globus Toolkit (i.e., Steve Tuecke, Ian Foster, Carl Kesselman).

Copyright © 2005 IDG Communications, Inc.

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