IBM today said it has formed a joint agreement with Univa Corporation, acommercial software and professional services provider for open-sourceGlobus software.
Under the terms of the agreement, Univa will deliver a commerciallysupported andenterprise-ready release of open-standard software built around the GlobusToolkit for use across IBM’s eServer platforms running both AIX and Linux.As part of the agreement, IBM plans to use the commercial releases of Globussoftware from Univa internally at IBM.
In turn, Big Blue will provide Univa with product development resources andtechnology assets to assist in the development, delivery and support of theUniva commercial releases on IBM platforms.
Ken King, vice president of Grid Computing for IBM, pointed out that BigBlue is a founding member of the Globus Consortium and has worked closelywith the Globus development community and ecosystem since its inception. IBMreported investments totaling millions of dollars in accelerating theadoption of Globus software in the commercial sector.
“We will work closely with Univa on delivery of enterprise-readyimplementations of Globus for IBM platforms in much the same way that IBMworks with Red Hat and Novell to ensure Linux distributions on IBM platformsare at the forefront of the industry,” King said.
Committed to Open-Source
IBM said today’s agreement further bolsters its commitment to open sourceandopen standards, as well as the Globus ecosystem of Grid infrastructuresoftware.
The company said it has been instrumental in funding the development of manytechnologies that comprise the Globus Toolkit and continues to be active incontributing code and promoting Web service standards that Globus reliesuponthrough its leadership efforts in GGF, OASIS, W3C and other standardscommunities.
As King noted, IBM is a founding member of the Globus Consortium, whichdrives best-practices patterns, funding and key requirements prioritizationfor the Globus open source community.
IBM said the community-based approach to standards evolution and softwaredelivery demonstrated by Globus is essential to continuing further adoptionof grid computing in commercial organizations.
Going the Way of Linux?
Illuminata analyst Jonathan Eunice told LinuxInsider that IBM and otheroriginal equipment manufacturers have historically had their own internalgroups developing Globus-derived toolkits. But Big Blue may be discoveringthat Univa can do cross-platform development that an organization such asthe IBM Systems Technology Group cannot.
“Univa makes a lot of sense because if you are doing a grid deployment, youreally don’t want to have to think hard about what platforms it’s going torun on,” Eunice said. “You are doing this intentionally to homogenize theplatform and step up one layer. Having an HP grid toolkit or the IBMtoolkit, which they call the grid toolbox, is just inserting the level ofvendor specificity that grid is trying to get away from.”
Eunice said the grid toolkit is somewhat like the Linux market. You don’tsee a Dell Linux and an HP Linux and an IBM Linux. You see Red Hat andNovell, which provide commonality that is more valuable to consumers thanbeing tightly aligned with a specific platform.
Will IBM Give Up its Grid Toolkit?
The burning question is whether or not IBM will get out of the business ofmaking its own grid implementation. Eunice said over time, it makes sense todo just that. Whether or not IBM agrees with his theory remains to be seen.
“Sometimes when you have a very large organization with so many resourcesand you have customers in each product area, it’s easy to be concerned thatcustomers might be disappointed if you don’t continue,” Eunice said.
“That can trap you into continuing an in-house effort when you should reallyjust give up and let a third-party handle it. Over time, from a customer’spoint of view, it makes more sense to go to a third party.”