Big Blue, which gave Grid computing a big boost with its entry into the space in August 2001, said it hopes its latest initiative will "drive the benefits of Grid computing beyond its academic and research roots and into business enterprises."
"The benefits of Grid computing for e-business on demand are here; it's now and it's real," said Tom Hawk, IBM's general manager of Grid computing worldwide. "Working with our partners and the open Globus community, we've developed a set of structured capabilities and offerings that leverage IBM's unmatched experience in deploying IT solutions to help businesses reap the benefits of Grid computing."
IBM will work closely with two Grid middleware vendors -- Platform Computing and DataSynapse -- both of which will play "key roles" in helping IBM deploy Grids in the enterprise. IBM also has agreements with middleware providers Avaki, Entropia and United Devices.
For Platform and DataSynapse, the announcement means that IBM will take its partnerships with the two firms to a higher level, offering marketing support and a direct working relationship. "IBM is committed to making Grid a success in these vertical markets and see these partners as a key to achieving that," said spokesperson John Kerr.
Wachovia, a customer of both IBM and DataSynapse, lauded the expanded partnership between the two.
"As a long-time customer of both IBM and DataSynapse, we are excited about the partnership between the two companies," said Bridget-Anne Hampden, Wachovia managing director and CIO of Corporate and Investment Banking. "Grid computing has already had a significant impact on our ability to meet our business objectives. The combination of IBM's infrastructure expertise and DataSynapse's ability to enable a wide range of applications creates a compelling solution with immediately realizable benefits."
Five Focus Areas
IBM said its "go-to-market strategy for 2003" is built around five Grid focus areas that address the needs of the aerospace, automotive, financial markets, government and life science industries. These focus areas, based on customer feedback and customer Grid implementations, are Research and Development, Engineering and Design, Business Analytics, Enterprise Optimization, and Government Development. The offerings are:
In addition to the nine industry-targeted offerings above, IBM's 10th offering will be Grid Innovation Workshops. Customized for each organization, the workshops are designed to help companies examine how Grid technologies can impact their organization.
The Grid offerings are designed to operate in a heterogeneous environment and will incorporate the Open Grid Services Architecture (OGSA), a vision for the convergence of Grid computing and Web services that began with IBM and the open source Globus Project. IBM Global Services will support all elements of a Grid implementation with both IBM and non-IBM hardware and software.
Platform Computing, a 10-year-old private company that generates more than $50 million a year and boasts more than 1,500 customers worldwide, is currently the only vendor that will engage in all five industries IBM is targeting.
"This alliance extends our strong relationship with IBM and extends the reach and scope of our Grid computing solutions," Platform CEO Robert Gordon. "Through the combined core competencies of our two firms, customers can expect solutions they can trust, that reach the market faster and that help them do more with their existing business infrastructure. By solidifying our partnership, Platform is proving our technology as the foundation for Grid computing, on-demand computing and Web services visions."
DataSynapse, a New York City-based provider of Grid and distributed computing solutions, will be part of IBM's go-to-market strategy in industries requiring business analytics Grids, specifically the financial services sector.
For DataSynapse, the impact of the IBM partnership could be big.
"We are excited about the impact of our combined solution offering," said DataSynapse Vice President Tony Bishop, the company's IBM Global Relationship Manager. "The ability to leverage IBM's expertise in infrastructure services with our expertise in enabling applications to leverage Grid services makes for a very appealing solution to address customer requirements today. The impact of this strategic partnership with IBM will serve to extend DataSynapse's reach beyond its core financial services and energy sectors. The IBM partnership will be instrumental as we continue to move into the public and industrial sectors."
IBM also has agreements with three other Grid middleware vendors -- Avaki, Entropia and United Devices -- and will engage with these vendors in industries where they offer the greatest expertise.