The journey to cloud, part 2: grid computing


Editor’s Note: This is the second of a three part series, detailing the continuous journey of the infrastructure evolution from virtual to cloud, together with IBM.

In part one of this series, I discussed the beginnings of the IBM journey to cloud. Here in part 2, I will cover the next major stage, grid computing.

The Journey to Cloud ComputingStage 2: How did the journey to cloud proceed?

Going ahead, the next step was grid computing. Grid computing, as defined by IBM, links heterogeneous computing resources, often in multiple locations, to allow numerous resources to work and act as one. Just as an Internet user views a unified instance of content on the web, a grid user essentially sees a single, large virtual computer.

With grid computing, organizations could optimize computing and data resources, pool them for large-capacity workloads, share them across networks and enable collaboration.

In a grid environment, resources are virtualized to create a pool of assets. Workload is spread across servers, and data can be seamlessly retrieved. By separating applications and information from the infrastructure they run on, and by providing this abstract, “virtualized” view, a new level of infrastructure flexibility can be achieved. Infrastructures can now dynamically adapt to business requirements, instead of the other way around. Resources are more fully utilized, resulting in decreased infrastructure costs, reduced processing time, increased responsiveness and faster time to market.

Grid computing was first used by the academic and research communities, but the technology did expand—first into the enterprise space and then into midmarket / small and medium business computing. Along the way the uses for grid expanded, and the applications and functions for grid exploded, making grid much more than just an “emerging technology.”

IBM was a leader in grid computing since it entered the space officially in May 2002. IBM acted as a strong advocate and practitioner in facilitating the commercial adoption of grid computing, even before the topic became a focus of media hype and analyst attention. In 2002 to 2003, IBM was able to set the grid agenda and establish an early market share and mindshare lead.

As the grid computing market continued its rapid growth, competitors increased focus and investment in product development, sales, marketing and advertising. Over the years, IBM made investments in all aspects of the grid domain: standards, definitions, technical development, open source contributions, deployment of innovative business solutions and nurturing of a robust ecosystem that extends to software developers and business partners. IBM provided a wide range of grid offerings to help businesses do more with their computing resources, including industry-specific applications that tackle specific challenges to businesses such as the insurance industry and medical archivists.

Industry adoption of IBM Grid

Industry-wise, IBM led in grid computing with nearly 600 true grid implementations that our clients used for a variety of research, academic, business and mission-critical computing purposes.

Benefits of IBM Grid

Grid computing emerged as a promising virtualization paradigm capable of providing a flexible, dynamic, resilient and cost-effective infrastructure that can promote both collaboration and innovation within enterprises. Advancements in grid computing were driving increased adoption into commercial lines of business, spearheaded by customer desire to create a competitive advantage through more responsive software-oriented architectures.

In addition to our commercial grids, IBM was also a proud sponsor of the World Community Grid, with over 300,000 users worldwide all donating time that their computers would otherwise sit idle to work on projects like curing cancer and understanding the human genome to better understand disease.

IBM poised to extend its leadership in grid computing in order to advance innovation that matters across a much broader commercial marketplace, extending its benefits to community and society. Grid computing continues IBM’s history of IT innovation for business. IBM has the skills, experience and resources to attack the most challenging customer problems in the industry, on a global scale, with a deep understanding of clients’ environments and requirements.

Going into 2004, the competition intensified. Therefore, IBM had to not only be aware, but also proactive in our actions. We released a grid-competitive newsflash that was sent out monthly.

Theoretical Consideration 2: The physiology of the grid and of Open Grid Services Architecture for distributed systems integration is also very active today!

To learn more about IBM and cloud, stay tuned to the Smarter Computing blog for part 3 of my “The journey to cloud” series and check out the Smarter Computing Cloud page.

Leone Branca Leone has over 30 years experience with IBM, mainly focusing on STG sales and bringing new and emerging technologies to the European market. You can find Leone on Twitter: @Lb001Lion

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