August 3, 2001

IBM selected to provide technology for U.K. computing grid

Author: JT Smith

IBM today announced that it was selected
to
provide key technologies in the "National Grid," a massive network of
computers distributed throughout the United Kingdom. IBM is
collaborating
closely with a number of the Grid centers to leverage IBM's
industry-leading
expertise in scalable servers and storage, open standards,
self-managing
technologies, services and e-business software.
A new open-source-based model of computing, Grids are clusters of
servers joined
together over the Internet, using standard protocols and other open
technologies, including Linux. Just as the World Wide Web allows people
to share
content via standard Internet protocols, Grid computing allows
widely-dispersed
organizations to share applications, data and resources using emerging
Grid
protocols.

The British government, through the Office of Science and Technology,
is
building the National Grid for collaborative scientific research in a
wide
spectrum of disciplines. It will also serve as a testbed for deploying
"e-utility computing" also known as "e-sourcing." - - the delivery of
computing
resources including bandwidth, applications, storage as a utility-like
service
over the Internet.

Leading the way, IBM has been chosen to build a sophisticated data
storage
facility at Oxford University, one of nine Grid centers. The national
Grid
center is located in Edinburgh/Glasgow. The other regional centers are
located
at the universities of Newcastle, Belfast, Manchester, Cardiff,
Cambridge,
Southampton and Imperial College, London.

The IBM data store will be the primary source of high energy physics
data
generated at the US Particle Physics Laboratory in Chicago and
transferred
to the UK. The UK National Grid will also be used for experiments at
the new
Large Hadron Collider at CERN, the European particle physics laboratory
in Geneva, Switzerland. Once the Grid is complete, scientists all
around the
United Kingdom will be able to access data to collaborate remotely on
CERN
projects. For example, using the National Grid, scientists in a lab in
Cambridge
will be able to run sophisticated high-energy physics applications on
computers
in Belfast.

"I am delighted that IBM is collaborating with the UK to build the
next-generation Grid middleware, which will have implications far
beyond the
original scientific applications," said Tony Hey, architect of the U.K.
National
Grid. "IBM brings a wide range of key technologies to the Grid agenda
and are
collaborating closely with several of our Grid centres."

"The United Kingdom is clearly taking a leadership role in the
development of
Grid computing, which represents a significant market opportunity,"
said David
Turek, IBM vice president of emerging technologies. "IBM is proud to be
an
integral part of the National Grid project -- a bold next step in the
evolution
of the Internet."

IBM Grid Expertise

IBM is the industry-leading supplier of Grid systems as well as
services
expertise to the scientific and technical community. In addition to
working with
many of the world's leading labs and research organizations, IBM
Research built
its own Grid -- a geographically distributed supercomputer linking IBM
research
and development labs in the United States, Israel, Switzerland, Japan.
IBM's
Global Services organization offers the complete range of IT skills
needed to
build, run and maintain Grids.

To help customers manage complex Grids, IBM offers scalable
supercomputing
systems and middleware with IBM eLiza self-management technologies.
Project
eLiza, announced by IBM earlier this year, is a company-wide program to
develop
systems that respond to the requirements of their environment in
order to optimize performance across a network, improve security and
survive
failures.

IBM also plans to Grid-enable key IBM systems and technologies,
allowing them to
be plugged into these growing worldwide networks quickly and easily.

In the same way it played a leadership role in the commercial adoption
of Linux,
IBM is working with open source groups, including the Globus
development
community and the Global Grid Forum.

Grids - enablers of e-sourcing

Grids -- like Linux and the Internet itself -- are poised to grow
beyond the
academic world and become an important business platform. Grid
protocols could
provide a key platform for e-sourcing -- a major initiative within IBM
targeting
the sale and delivery of information technology as a utility-like
service over
the Internet. State-of-the-art IBM e-Utility Labs in the United States
are now
using Grids to develop and test e-sourcing services-- and IBM is
already
working with a number of forward-thinking customers to enable
e-sourcing in
commercial grid environments.

Grid protocols could allow companies to work more closely and more
efficiently
with colleagues, partners and suppliers through:
Resource aggregation -- allowing corporate users to treat a
company's entire
IT infrastructure as one computer through more efficient management.

Database-sharing -- allowing companies to access remote databases.
This is
particularly useful for life sciences research firms that need to
share human
genome data with other firms. Engineering and financial firms also
could
benefit significantly.

Collaboration -- allowing widely dispersed organizations to work
together on
a project -- sharing everything from engineering blueprints to
software
applications.

About the National Grid

The National Grid will be created as part of the e-Science Core
Programme, which
is overseen by the British Government's Office of Science and
Technology. The
e-Science Core Programme was announced last year as part of a British
government
three-year funding package to develop e-Science -- global scientific
collaboration and the next generation of infrastructure that will
enable it.

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