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Grids girded for growth

Researcher IDC says the grid computing market will generate $12 billion in revenue by 2007, up from a little more than $1 billion last year.

The grid computing market will rake in revenue exceeding $12 billion by 2007, according to research from IDC, up from a little more than $1 billion last year.


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The growth will be across high-performance computing, or HPC, applications and commercial data applications. "We believe that grids hold significant potential as the next step in the evolution of the (information technology) environment," said John Humphreys, research manager for workstations and high-performance computing systems at IDC.

Grid computing links pools of computers, storage devices and networks to help companies more efficiently manage workloads (and computing systems) by tapping resources on an as-needed basis.

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Grid computing's growth will be spurred by maturation, greater awareness of grids and standardization of grid software, as well as the drive for more efficient use of IT infrastructure and the desire to go beyond traditional high-performance computing applications, IDC said. The IDC team interviewed 35 companies that had implemented grid computing systems or were considering doing so. The team's report found that about two-thirds of additional revenue--about $8 billion--will come from customers' desire to optimize hardware resources.

With the current server-utilization rate being just 15 percent on an x86-processor-based server platform, many companies will look to grids as an avenue for reducing capital expenditures and the operational costs of managing excessive numbers of systems, the research suggested.

And the increasing popularity of Linux and other open-source programs, which grids largely use, will make available more grid-based applications, hastening the adoption of grid systems.

IDC found that issues related to security and to corporate culture are the major stumbling blocks inhibiting implementation of grids. Many of the managers IDC surveyed were apprehensive about sharing computer resources across multiple business units or organizations.