CSC rolls out public grid

Computer Sciences Corp. has launched a public grid computing service that aims to lower entry costs for organizations considering the technology. CSC calls it the Results-Driven Computing (RDC) Grid, and targets the government sector and financial services, manufacturing and defense industries.

Company officials said the first government customers will be on the civilian side because Defense Department groups prefer private grids.

RDC Grid will provide “a very inexpensive point of entry” for new grid users, said Kennan Flanagan, service manager for results-driven computing at CSC. Customers purchase access to CSC’s grid service on a per-CPU-hour basis. “This is a pay-for-use grid,” Flanagan said.

In addition, CSC’s service makes it more cost effective for customers to expand their existing grids, said Rick Tuss, global service offering manager for Managed Computing Services at CSC. He said organizations that need additional computing resources to complete a particular task can expand without having to make additional capital investments.

Grid computing promotes resource sharing to handle the demands of high-performance computing applications. Grids grew up in the scientific and engineering space, but more mainstream customers have started using them.

Other vendors such as Sun Microsystems also have been working on public grid services. CSC officials said their offering is more versatile than some competitors' grids.

Michael Bernhardt, founder and chief executive officer of Grid Strategies, a Portland, Ore., consulting firm, said the concept of a public grid needs some refinement in software licensing, end-user pricing models and security. Bernhardt said he believes CSC has credibility based on the company's experience in building private grids. That history should give the company an advantage over competitors that are only now moving into grid computing, he said.

Flanagan said the RDC Grid can run the open-source Globus Toolkit grid software, but also accommodates the vendor-neutral portions of other grid tools. For example, Sun’s NI Grid Tool Kit and the vendor-neutral components of Hewlett-Packard’s Adaptive Enterprise approach can run on CSC’s grid, Flanagan said.

Tuss said CSC’s grid also stands out for its security, noting that the company applies techniques based on its experience in establishing defense-oriented grids.

Moore is a freelance writer based in Syracuse, N.Y.

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