IBM Senior Executive Calls Grids The Next Step In The Internet Revolution

Internet Will Become Platform For e-Business On Demand

ARMONK, NY - 08 May 2002: In a keynote speech today at Networld + Interop, Irving Wladawsky-Berger, vice president, Technology and Strategy for IBM, predicted that Grid computing based on open standards will over time make e-business as accessible and easy as flipping a switch.

"The Internet is now on the verge of becoming a global virtual computer with resources available almost on demand," said Wladawsky-Berger. "It's happening through the growing adoption of open Web Services and Grid protocols that allow processing power, storage, data and applications to be shared even though they may be a world away from the user."

Grid computing shields the user from the complexities of the technology infrastructure. It reduces complexity in two key ways - by virtualizing all of the resources and making them transparent to the user -- a virtual plug in the wall, and by infusing the infrastructure with open protocols that permit tremendous flexibility in deployment and automated management.

"Grid computing makes managing the IT infrastructure the responsibility of IT professionals instead of people who have better things to do, like run a business or write applications," said Wladawsky-Berger. "Grid standards are one of the critical ways of reducing complexity, especially the artificial complexity of getting systems from different vendors to communicate with each other."

The research community is already beginning to build Grids in order to better collaborate and optimize the efficiency of their computing resources. The National Science Foundation has put together a Terragrid to be shared by the nation's research labs and the scientific community. The UK government is working with IBM on the UK research grid, linking together major universities throughout the country. The University of Pennsylvania has worked with IBM to build a grid for breast cancer research, accessible by hospitals, physicians, and researchers, enabling them to share digital mammograms for early detection and diagnosis.

Projects like these are just the beginning of the new applications for Grid computing.

"What all of this comes down to - all the virtualization, all the open Grid protocols and Web Services, all the self-management - is the ultimate in simplicity, e-business on demand," said Wladawsky-Berger. "This utility model of computing, either inside an enterprise or for service providers, should make computing as simple as inserting an electric plug in the wall. You won't have to know where the source of an application is anymore than you need to know where the power plant is."

Wladawsky-Berger has played a strategic role at IBM, helping drive IBM strategies for e-business, Linux, Grid computing and the next generation of the Internet.

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