DTI boosts bid for UK grid computing

With £1 million of DTI funding, a UK initiative has been set up to promote the growth of grid-computing, where computer resources are pooled and made available on-demand to a range of applications.

DTI boosts bid for UK grid computing

IECnet is a not-for-profit collaboration between the National e-Science Centre, which works out of Edinburgh University, and Intellect, which is the trade association for the IT, telecommunications and electronics industries in the UK.

‘There is huge potential for the exploitation of grid within the UK,’ said Ian Osborne, Intellect IECnet manager. ‘Not only will grid enable us to strengthen our position as a global services provider, it will facilitate the development of new delivery mechanisms for existing services.’

It is a market-oriented initiative, he told us, to help UK PLC benefit from grid computing technology.

He described it as a substantial opportunity to capitalise on the existing e-Science R&D in the UK and quoted examples ranging from the Ordinance Survey to HP Labs and financial services such as JP Morgan and the Deutsche Bank where grid-computing initiatives were already up and running.

The most immediately visible resource is the grid computing website www.gridcomputingnow.org

Educating Chief Information Officers is also a primary objective of IECnet. To this end case studies of existing grid implementation will be made available – warts and all studies, according to Osborne. To help transfer available knowledge, effort will also be put into building user groups and membership facilities. In the near term there will also be a Grid Technology Showcase in Nottingham in September.

IECnet is avowedly vendor-neutral – with members including Sun and IBM, it can’t lean too far towards any one particular grid-based technology – and will also feature the open source efforts in this field, for example Globus (the Globus Toolkit is an open source software toolkit used for building Grid systems and applications).

One of the developments highlighted by the site is the release, at LinuxWorld in San Francisco earlier this week, of IBM’s grow-to-fit grid package. Built using its eServer Blade Center platform, as the name implies, users can expand the system to provide more complex grid implementations as their requirements develop.

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