IBM Announces New Grid Offerings, Partners to Form Grid Ecosystem

RBC Insurance, Royal Dutch Shell and Kansai Electric Power Newest IBM Grid Customers

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ARMONK, NY - 28 Apr 2003: IBM announced today new offerings to further expand Grid computing into commercial enterprises, including the introduction of new solutions for four industries -- petroleum, electronics, higher education and agricultural chemicals. In addition, IBM announced that more than 35 companies, including networking giant Cisco Systems, will join IBM to form the foundation of a Grid ecosystem that is designed to foster Grid computing for businesses.

IBM also announced RBC Insurance, Royal Dutch Shell and Kansai Electric Power as new Grid customers.

RBC Insurance -- RBC Insurance took an existing application and Grid-enabled it based on IBM eServer™ xSeries™ and middleware from IBM Business Partner Platform Computing. The integrated solution allowed RBC Insurance to reduce by 75 percent the time spent on job scheduling, and by 97 percent the time spent processing an actuarial application. Based on that success, RBC Insurance is now looking to expand the IBM and Platform Computing solution across additional applications and business units to improve efficiencies and to increase customer satisfaction.

"IBM and Platform Computing Grid-enabled our valuation application and supporting infrastructure for immediate results," said Keith Medley, Head of Insurance Technology, RBC Insurance. "With the integrated solution, we have been able to reduce a 2.5 hour job to 10 minutes, and an 18 hour job to 32 minutes. We are now looking to move to a production environment. By virtualizing applications and infrastructure, we anticipate being able to deliver higher quality services to our clients faster than ever before, which will significantly impact our competitive edge."

Royal Dutch Shell -- IBM worked with Royal Dutch Shell to build a reusable software toolkit that works as a wrapper around existing applications, creating a Grid-enabled infrastructure for their seismic interpretation applications. The solution, based on IBM eServer xSeries running the Globus Toolkit and Linux®, cut the processing time of seismic data while improving the quality of the data, ultimately allowing Royal Dutch Shell to focus its employees on key scientific problems.

"Grid computing is important to Shell because it offers the potential to create a truly unlimited resource, with a uniform interface to a variety of services," said Jacob Buur, principal research physicist, Shell International and Production B.V. "This is a significant opportunity for Shell to engage its independent companies in closer cooperation."

The Kansai Electric Power Co., Inc. -- KEPCO, Japan's second-largest electric utility, is working with IBM to develop an information-based Grid that will allow KEPCO to federate and virtualize various data sources across the enterprise. The Grid solution will integrate information distributed across departments and affiliated companies to enable information sharing using existing systems and to develop new businesses more rapidly at a minimum cost.

Building the Grid Ecosystem
Recognizing that no one company can drive commercial adoption of Grid computing, IBM today unveiled an initiative to build a Grid ecosystem consisting of software vendors and Business Partners that will help develop commercial Grid solutions.

Cisco joins more than 35 new and existing Business Partners and other vendors to form the foundation of the developing IBM Grid ecosystem. IBM and Cisco are working together to enable enhanced Grid services for Storage Area Networks (SAN). Cisco's intelligent multilayer storage networking architecture helps lay the foundation for building globally scalable access to Grid data. The integration of intelligent services into the network helps simplify data access across the Grid and resource sharing and management. Earlier this year IBM began reselling the Cisco MDS 9000 SAN switches. Cisco has plans to enhance these switches to enable globally scalable access to data through Grids.

"The ability to access storage in a scalable and secure way is a critical component in Grid computing, allowing businesses and their partner companies to manage massive amounts of data and to collaborate worldwide," said Soni Jiandani, vice president of marketing in the Storage Technology Group at Cisco. "The IBM and Cisco solution is an important step in delivering the very real benefits of Grid and on demand computing to businesses of all sizes."

Today's announcement expands on the existing, global strategic alliance between Cisco and IBM. The two companies combine their strengths in Internet infrastructure, e-business systems and services to deliver end-to-end Internet business solutions to enterprise and service provider customers.

Application software vendors joining Cisco in IBM's Grid ecosystem initiative include:

More than twenty IBM Business Partners also are helping to form the IBM Grid ecosystem. A fact sheet with Business Partner information is available on request.

"Grid is an industry-wide effort built and designed around open standards," said Tom Hawk, IBM's general manager of Grid computing. "IBM is working to bring business partners, developers, system integrators, middleware companies, and IT vendors of all shapes and sizes together to form a Grid ecosystem that will accelerate the adoption of Grids in the enterprise."

Grid Industries and Offerings
IBM, which in January announced its go-to-market strategy built around five Grid focus areas that address the needs of the aerospace, automotive, financial markets, government and life science industries, announced today new offerings for four additional industries.

The Grid offerings announced today are designed to operate in a heterogeneous environment and will incorporate the Open Grid Services Architecture (OGSA). IBM Global Services will support all elements of a Grid implementation with both IBM and non-IBM hardware and software.

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