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IBM signs on Univa for grids

Big Blue will bundle Univa's commercial version of Globus grid software with its line of Unix and Linux servers.

IBM has partnered with start-up Univa to include Globus grid software with its Linux and Unix servers.

The agreement, announced Monday, calls for Univa to provide IBM with a commercial version of the Globus Toolkit, which is open-source software for building grid applications. With the software, developers can write software that distributes computing jobs across several machines, or grids.

Univa was founded last year by grid-computing luminaries to build a commercial variant of the Globus Toolkit and offer related support services.

The Globus Toolkit, which is available with an open-source license, is developed through the Globus Alliance organization, in which IBM participates. The Globus software spells out a set of technical blueprints for building and running grid applications. It relies on various Web services and management standards.

The IBM deal is an endorsement for Univa as well as for Globus Toolkit software, which is more common in academia and research than in corporate data centers.

"We will work closely with Univa on delivery of enterprise-ready implementations of Globus for IBM platforms in much the same way that IBM works with Red Hat and Novell to ensure Linux distributions on IBM platforms are at the forefront of the industry," Ken King, vice president of grid computing at IBM, said in a statement.

As part of the agreement, IBM said it intends to use the Globus software internally. IBM will also provide Univa with technical resources to aid its software development.

The promise of grid software such as the Globus Toolkit is that businesses and research institutions will make more effective use of their computing resources.

Rather than purchasing servers and storage devices dedicated to every corporate application, organizations can use grid software to create a "pool" of computing power that can be shared by several applications.