United Devices Gooses Grids

Software startup says patent enables IT managers to squeeze more power out of data centers

August 25, 2004

2 Min Read
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United Devices, a grid software startup, is focusing its research on future data center technology and will launch new products later this year, officials said today.

The startup, which also runs the public life sciences grid at www.grid.org, today announced it has received U.S. patent 6,654,783, "Network site content indexing method and associated system," covering grid scaleability.

The way most of the search engines today work, especially sites like Google, is they throw a lot of machines at creating an index, says Ed Hubbard, United Device's president and founder. But he says there are ways to improve the performance of grids, without throwing more machines at them.

The technology described in the new patent helps to accomplish that network intelligence by optimizing server utilization. Combine a large amount of servers into a grid, and "we can get you to 100 percent [utilization] on any available nodes that are left," Hubbard claims. That's without even needing traditional virtualization software such as EMC Corp.'s (NYSE: EMC) VMware, he adds.

Hubbard, a former Dell Inc. (Nasdaq: DELL) chief technology officer who also worked on architecture at Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC), says a good problem for his solution is in optimizing computer resources after you've completed a data center consolidation project. No matter how well such as project goes, he asserts, processor utilization is still an elusive problem to solve.Much of that planning will end up in the next release of Grid MP Data Center, a product the Austin, Texas-based company launched earlier this year. There are no customers yet, but there are a few pilot projects, Hubbard notes. The new version, due in the fourth quarter of this year, will have features for preemptive scheduling.

"We've done a lot of work on something that we call capacity management: How do you set a baseline for what you have today so you can measure the impact of grid technology?" Still another plan in the works is an appliance version of Grid MP, with features for managing data warehouses and producing reports. That's also due in the fourth quarter.

In the big-picture of bringing grids into corporations, United Devices "plays in that market along with Avaki Corp., Platform Computing, and about 30 other companies," notes Joe Clabby, president of Yarmouth, Maine-based Clabby Analytics. "They've gotten a couple of really good scientific applications under their belt -- now they've got solid partners."

Besides internal data center uses, technology from United and others will help companies get access to supercomputing power on the fly, without paying supercomputing's multimillion-dollar price tag. "If you're just assimilating resources off the network, it costs you far, far less," Clabby says.

Evan Koblentz, Senior Editor, Next-Gen Data Center Forum0

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