28 May 2004 IBM is hoping to entice software developers to its grid computing technology by offering free use of high-powered grid computing servers over the Internet.
The initiative, called the Big Blue Virtual Loaner Programme, will allow vendors to develop new applications and test existing programmes on IBM hosted grid servers.
The programme is part of a $500 million investment by IBM to entice new software developers to its platform, particularly among developers writing software for small and mid-sized business customers.
Software developers will first be required to join the IBM PartnerWorld programme, which is a free service to independent software vendors. Developers will be able to log onto the programme and schedule access to one or more IBM servers for up to two weeks. The process takes less than two hours to execute, and developers can expand capacity as required.
The programme is intended to draw attention to IBM’s grid technologies and the company’s on-demand initiative.
Grid computing is a computer network model in which computers, storage devices and networks are used across multiple independent nodes, usually over an IP-based network. This enables organisations to tap dormant capacity at any given moment – at least in theory.
IBM said the programme will use its Virtualisation Engine, WebSphere and Tivoli software running on pSeries Unix servers in a grid configuration.
The programme has been well received by companies — 400 software developers have joined since it was launched in March.