Some IT vendors are releasing products that are designed to help companies move grid computing into their mainstream business processes.
For instance, SAS Institute said at GridWorld that its flagship SAS 9 business intelligence, data mining and statistical analysis software now includes grid capabilities developed by Platform Computing. SAS users could tap the grid features to improve their IT resource utilisation, said Cheryl Doninger, SAS' research and development director for enterprise computing.
IT managers often design system resource needs around peak usage requirements. But with the capabilities inherent in grids, they should be able to reduce costs by enabling end users to tap into unused computing cycles on machines located elsewhere within their companies, Doninger said.
There's also an effort under way to make the leading open-source technology for deploying grids more palatable for corporate users. Univa, a start-up formed last year by some of the founders of the Globus Alliance, plans to release a commercial version of that organisation's Globus Toolkit late this year.
Univa's approach is similar to that of other open-source vendors, such as Red Hat and Novell's SUSE Linux unit. Univa plans to offer packaged grid software plus installation and support services -- "all the trappings of a commercial product," said Steve Tuecke, the company's CEO.
That strategy was endorsed last week by IBM, which said it plans to support the start-up's software across its eServer hardware line, from blade servers up to the zSeries mainframes. IBM will also use the Globus technology internally.
Ken King, vice president of grid computing at IBM, noted that Linux vendors have made many corporate users comfortable with the idea of implementing the open-source operating system to run mission-critical applications. "We look at Univa as being the potential Red Hat or SUSE of grid," King said.
Another vendor that's trying to boost the number of grid-enabled applications available to users is Sun Microsystems, which announced a programme for helping software vendors adapt their products to grid infrastructures. The Sun Grid Readiness program gives developers access to software and hardware for modifying their applications and for developing new grid application services.