IBM: Linux To Seed Next Generation Of Grid Computing

Names eTrade, Merrill Lynch, Salomon Smith Barney, Chevron as new Linux customer

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IBM will deliver next month a series of open protocols designed to steer a Linux-based grid computing model of the future.

As it pushes Linux into mainstream computing, having snared new Unix/RISC converts such as eTrade, L.L. Bean and Salomon Smith Barney as customers, IBM plans to announce the Open Grid Services Protocols next month to enable vast e-business infrastructures based on Linux, said William Zeitler, senior vice president and group executive of IBM's Server Group.

"[The protocols will accelerate the adoption of grids, including availability grids inside companies called intragrids," Zeitler said, noting many academic and research organizations are now building out Linux-based grids but that will trickle to e-business infrastructures in the coming years.

The protocols will be part of the Open Grid Services Architecture. The next generation of grid computing being built today features support for shared computing power, content management, applications and storage. IBM has recently won major Linux-based grid contracts from the National Science Foundation and North Carolina BioInformatics, the IBM executive added.

Today, Linux is making solid progress in the petroleum, telecommunications and financial services industries, Zeitler said. In addition to being a driving force at LinuxWorld Expo, IBM is hosting a Linux conference in New York this week that features customer Salomon Smith Barney and its conversion of 150 Sun servers to a Linux-based mainframe, Zeitler said.

The IBM executive--noting that IBM now has more than 2,500 server customers running Linux--also dropped a bevy of names of powerful new Linux customers including Chevron, Conoco, AT&T, Deutsche Telecom, Sony Playstation, Tivo, Pixar, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley and SIAK. The point was to relay to LinuxWorld attendees--many of whom were clad in suits--that Linux is making progress in the enterprise and will serve as the underlying technology for the next generation of grid computing. CRN outlined the names of many of these new customers last week.

"The technologies of open source have reached critical mass," the 32-year IBM veteran said, predicting rising significance in the future. "Those technologies will define what the future looks like, not proprietary platforms."

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