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The Rewards of EGEE’s Strategy for Business

The sea-change surrounding cloud computing has brought with it a push-pull towards lowest common denominator components on the one hand and higher level services on the other.

As the goal posts keep moving, Enabling Grids for E-sciencE (EGEE) has embarked on a strategy to evaluate the benefits and challenges of diverse solutions, with the aim of helping companies, large and small, to capitalise on its open source technology.

As part of the Business Track (22-23 September) within the premier annual grid event EGEE’08, David Sinclair from Imense, a UK SME, illustrates how involvement with EGEE and the STFC’s (Science and Technology Facilities Council, UK) PIPSS award have served as a catalyst, enabling Imense to raise commercial funding and turn an idea into a business. Sinclair’s talk illustrates how grid access can level the playing field for new companies wishing to demonstrate internet scale technology. “We have reaped the benefits of EGEE’s open source gLite middleware to run our content-based image retrieval technology. Our work with EGEE and the University of Cambridge helped us demonstrate that our software can handle millions of images, at a time when as a small company we could not supply the computing power needed ourselves,” says Sinclair.

Bob Jones, EGEE Project Director, comments: “EGEE’s Business Associate (EBA) Programme is an important component in our strategy to foster commercial up-take. The programme offers companies a prime opportunity to engage in collaborative work of mutual interest. In just over 12 months EGEE has built up an impressive roster of Business Associates, all experts in distributed computing and market trends.” Constellation Technologies (UK) and Linalis (Switzerland) are two companies that have recently joined the programme, together with Avanade, Excelian, GridwiseTech, Hitachi (Sophia Antipolis Lab), NICE and Platform.

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Nick Trigg, CEO of Constellation Technologies, is convinced of the added value of being an EBA. “It has been a massive benefit to Constellation both commercially and technically. CERN and EGEE have supported the company in its general marketing. Closer access to the latest roadmap decisions has meant that Constellation is able to respond more quickly to technical and market changes,” remarks Trigg.

During the Business Track, Constellation describes how it is offering a commercial level cloud service to industry using gLite. “The product, the Constellation SuperCloud (TM), uses gLite's proven ability to manage large amounts of data across a global, widely distributed network. Constellation has ambitions to provide an enterprise and utility cloud solution across Europe and the rest of the world,” says Trigg.

Linalis, an Open Source consulting, services and training company focusing on open standards, web applications and network administration, is also at EGEE’08. “As a newly appointed EGEE Business Associate, Linalis is now able to provide training to companies and individuals looking to leverage the power of the grid by using gLite in their business. The courses will use the GILDA Test-Bed and will introduce participants to the RESPECT tools (Recommended External Software for EGEE

CommuniTies,” says Steve Adams, Managing Director of Linalis. Adams’s talk provides details on the Linalis training programme, which currently targets end-users, and explains their plans to develop a full training and certification programme.

Experts from Avanade and Platform also feature in the Business Track. Luca Regini from Avanade offers insight into the company’s Virtualised Grid Technology, which adopts Virtualisation as a means to provide more configurable, dynamic, secure and cost-effective Grid Computing solutions. Bernhard Schott, Platform Computing, brings the RoI of Green HPC into sharp focus. Schott demonstrates how slightly modified scheduling policies can reduce costs and minimise power related operational risks without reducing the capabilities of the data centre.

Catherine Gater | alfa
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