Grid software specialist Platform Computing has a new system it claims will let a sysadmin run an enterprise application anywhere in the data centre, on any platform, according to preset policies. It is bringing grid technology to the general enterprise, the company said.

Up until now, grid adoption has been largely limited to users of high-performance computing in sectors such as finance, life sciences and industrial manufacturing and semi-conductor design. Usual applications include business intelligence and analytics.

According to marketing manager Bob Shecterle, the system, dubbed Enterprise Grid Orchestrator (EGO), brings virtualisation, automation and sharing of IT resources to enterprise applications - effectively turning multiple systems into one from the points of view of both management and the application.

The problem for sysadmins, said Shecterle, is that enterprises have silos of spare computing resources on which they want to run business process applications such as SAP. Grid was the solution, but application vendors had previously had "to parallelise applications to make them applicable for grids - and it's expensive so they don't do it." They want to be able to run in any hardware infrastructure, across single or multiple data centres, he said.

Platform's technology allows that without having to re-write the application, using an agent on each server. EGO connects business logic, not the data, according to policy settings. The IT manager can set applications to run on those resources that are close to the data if necessary - an example would be an application that used large data sets, and so needed a short, high-speed communication link to its data.

The key business benefit of EGO - as with almost all server virtualisation technology - is lower cost through higher hardware use. The company is working on developing the virtual data centre, in collaboration with IBM, Intel, HP, Sun, and even Dell.

"As grid gains adoption in commercial enterprises, it is essential for IT vendors to deliver open grid solutions that can integrate easily with other grid technologies in a heterogeneous, distributed environment," said IBM's grid computing VP Ken King. "IBM has built a strong partner network with vendors that share this common vision. Platform Computing is one of those partners and we are pleased with the direction of the announcements they are making today."

Platform's management system, VM Orchestrator (VMO), can manage all virtual environments. "It runs with VMware, Xen, etc., and creates, moves and shuts down virtual environments based on rules and policies. We have an agent on each server that tracks its status and, if it crashes, it can fail the VMs over to another node. We are working with VMware using its open APIs.