News in Brief

New IBM grid offerings; Windows Server 2003

IBM Touts New Grid Offerings, Unveils Grid “Ecosystem”

IBM Corp. yesterday announced four new offerings it says could expand the reach of grid computing into specific vertical industries.

In addition, Big Blue announced that more than 35 companies and business partners, including Cisco Systems Inc., will join with it to establish a “grid ecosystem” to further business adoption of grid computing solutions.

The company says that it is collaborating with Cisco to enable enhanced Grid services for Storage Area Networks (SAN) based on Cisco's multilayer storage networking architecture.

Earlier this year, Big Blue began reselling the Cisco MDS 9000 SAN switches. (see Cisco says that it will now enhance these switches to enable global access to data through computational grids.

IBM yesterday also introduced new grid solutions for four vertical industries: petroleum, electronics, higher education, and agricultural chemicals.

For the petroleum industry, IBM will offer a Geophysical Processing and Analysis Grid and an IT Optimization Grid designed to provide better access to key analytical tools and applications.

For the electronics industry, IBM is offering an Engineering Design Grid and Design Collaboration Grid. The former helps electronics companies aggregate disparate elements to create a single unified system; the latter enhances data sharing across partners requiring intensive manufacturing processes and electronic design automation.

For higher education, IBM’s University Collaboration Grid enables sharing of large amounts of raw research data among researchers and across institutions.

For agricultural chemical customers, IBM is introducing an Analytics Acceleration Grid (which improves computing and storage resources) and an Information Access Grid (which efficiently manages data volumes and non-standard data formats).

In related news, IBM announced two new grid computing wins: Royal Dutch Shell and Kansai Electric Power. Big Blue says it worked with Royal Dutch Shell to build a reusable software toolkit—based on xSeries server running Linux—that works as a wrapper around existing applications, creating a Grid-enabled infrastructure for their seismic interpretation applications.

For its part, The Kansai Electric Power Co. Inc., Japan's second largest electric utility, has joined with IBM to develop an information-based Grid that will allow it to federate and virtualize various data sources across the enterprise.

The Right Time for Windows Server 2003?

by Scott Bekker(Courtesy of

Microsoft formally launched Windows Server 2003 last week, after more than a year of delays and several changes in name and focus. During a launch keynote, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer argued that the timing was right for a Microsoft server operating release that improves IT manageability and provides data-center scalability.

On the same day, Microsoft launched Visual Studio .NET 2003 and SQL Server 2000 Enterprise Edition (64-bit).

"Is this the right time to introduce a new server product?" Ballmer said he is often asked. "I think this is absolutely the right time to be bringing incredible new innovation to the marketplace," Ballmer said in a speech called "Do More With Less."

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About the Author

Stephen Swoyer is a Nashville, TN-based freelance journalist who writes about technology.