For years, engineers have used many processors or standalone computers to tackle large problems, but the projects have generally been developed and run as standalone programs. That may be changing as open source software moves forward, prompting at least one startup and mighty IBM to focus on helping companies use clusters of servers to perform complex jobs.
Univa Corp. of Elmhurst, IL, recently received $8 million in venture capital, giving the spin-off from the Argonne National Laboratory funding to promote what it calls grid computing. Univa will help engineering and financial companies, among others, link their servers together to process large tasks. It will leverage Globus open source software, which provides the framework for creating computing grids.
Weeks after getting funding, Univa teamed up with IBM, which will license commercial releases of Univa's Globus software. "We will work closely with Univa on delivery of enterprise-ready implementations of Globus for IBM platforms in much the same way IBM works with Red Hat and Novell to ensure Linux,"says Ken King, vice president of grid computing at IBM. "The sweet spot for grids is large data-drive problems like simulation and analysis, and sometimes the dissemination of this data," says Univa CEO Steve Tuecke.
Though servers can be added or pulled off a large task, he notes that these projects will have dedicated processors. "This is a grid, it's not cycle stealing," Tuecke says. For more information, visit http://rbi.ims.ca/4401-552, and http://rbi.ims.ca/4401-553.