HP's Flexible Computing Services

At the end of November, HP announced its Flexible Computing Services -- a set of offerings that provide, as a utility, a set of on-demand services to enterprise IT. A couple of interesting aspects of the service:

  • the Infrastructure Provisioning Service (IPS) has a "plus" service that incorporates the workload managers & schedulers from vendors such as Platform Computing, United Devices and PathScale

  • the Application Provisioning Service seems to be a "rent-by-the-hour" set of licenses that can be deployed by the customer on the IPS or IPS+ services.

This seems to be setting the bar a good deal higher than the Sun Grid service, and offers a broader range of offers than anything I've heard from IBM. One of the issues into which I'd like to dive is whether it is, as described, available only by "packing and shipping" the enterprise data (and instructions) to the service, or whether it can be spun up on-demand to work collaboratively with a running set of processes / jobs at the customer's site.

Link: Offerings provide extra computing power to users who don't wish to deploy servers just to handle temporary demand surges

Hewlett-Packard Co. (HP) Tuesday introduced several new utility computing services that will cater to IT managers looking for a way to handle internal fluctuations in demand for computing resources.

IT managers from PDI/Dreamworks and Schlumberger Ltd. were on hand to tout the benefits of HP's new Infrastructure Provisioning Service (IPS) and Application Provisioning Service (APS). The two offerings provide extra computing power to businesses that don't wish to deploy servers just to handle temporary surges in demand, said Brian Fowler, utility services global director for HP.

Utility computing is a much-discussed but still-emerging concept in data-center computing. The basic idea is to allow customers to tap into a pool of computing resources hosted by a provider such as HP. IBM Corp. and Sun Microsystems Inc. are also developing their own similar services.


HP's new services allow customers to send their data for processing in HP data centers in Paris and Houston, said Norman Lindsey, architect of utility computing services. The data can be compressed and encrypted for transport over the Internet, or larger data sets can be physically mailed to those HP centers, he said.

With the basic IPS, customers can choose the type of HP server that will process their data, Fowler said. Basic processing on 32-bit processors from Intel Corp. costs US$0.55 per processor per hour, while servers based on Intel's Itanium processor are also available for $1.50 per processor per hour. Servers based on Advanced Micro Devices Inc.'s 64-bit chips or Intel's 64-bit x86 processors are priced in between those two endpoints, he said.

Customers can also choose to have HP manage grid computing software or compilers that will help process their data with the IPS+ offering. Companies such as Platform Computing Inc., United Devices Inc. and PathScale Inc. will provide software for this service.

The APS offering has HP managing application software, such as its APS for computer-aided engineering, for its customers, Fowler said. Customers that need to use sophisticated applications for managing fluid dynamics, for example, can use this service to process their data and produce the complicated models they need, he said."


Blogging client - well done

ecto is really an exceptionally well done, reasonably priced and very useful piece of software. For any 'bloggers using the MacOSX (and now, apparently, Windows) I suggest you try it out. (There's a 20 day free trial.) Hey... they've even got a 20% off Christmas discount!

ecto -- desktop blogging client for MacOSX and Windows

ecto is a feature-rich desktop blogging client for MacOSX and Windows, supporting a wide range of weblog systems, such as Blogger, Blojsom, Drupal, MovableType, Nucleus, TypePad, WordPress, and more. ecto is the successor of the wildly popular Kung-Log, which has been in use by thousands of Mac users and which earned a 4.5 mice rating in the MacWorld July 2003 issue as well as high ratings at and

With ecto you can write and manage entries for your weblog(s). The advantage over using your weblog's control panel is that you can compose entries offline and use the extra features ecto offers, such as spellcheck, creating links, attachments, and much more. ecto is designed to make blogging much more easier and yet give the users as much power as possible to manage their weblogs.


An Open Source Holiday Greeting

The undersigned hereby declares as follows:

This declaration is intended for those who have worked so hard (my "COLLEAGUES") within the realms of high technology (the "INDUSTRY"), and who may have had more than their fair share of legal documents, NDAs, and other mumbo-jumbo (the "BUREAUCRATIC MISFORTUNE").

Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, our best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low stress, nonaddictive, gender neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasions and/or tradition of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all, and a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling, and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2006, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make America great, (not to imply that America is necessarily greater than any other country or is the only AMERICA in the western hemisphere), and without regard to the race creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith, choice of computer platform or sexual preference of the wishee.

By accepting this greeting, you are accepting these terms. This greeting is subject to clarification or withdrawal. It is freely transferable with no alteration to the original greeting. It implies no promise by the wisher to actually implement any of the wishes for her/himself or others, and is void where prohibited by law, and is revocable at the sole discretion of the wisher. This wish is warranted to perform as expected with the usual application of good tidings for a period of one year, or until the issuance of a subsequent holiday greeting, whichever comes first, and warranty is limited to replacement of this wish or issuance of a new wish at the sole discretion of the wisher.

Best to everyone...

- Rich

(With thanks and/or apologies to Karl Czajkowski).


Thanking the SETI Project for 10 years of free PR for Grid ...

Greg Nawrocki thanks the SETI@home project for their contribution to getting the "grid" word out.

Link: Thanking the SETI Project for 10 years of free PR for Grid ...

Did it find alien life forms? No (at least, not yet). Did it raise the mindshare of Grid computing? Absolutely.

Even with the news that the project is being folded up into BOINC ("Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing") -- SETI@Home project has been an absolute PR machine for Grid computing for the last ten years or so.

Some in the Grid community would argue that while SETI ushered Grid lexicon into the mainstream -- it also relegated the mainstream understanding of Grid to a very narrow "CPU scavenging" type of definition. While so-called "compute-Grids" are in fact still the most prevalent types of Grids to date, the Grid community sees CPU scavenging to be just a subcomponent of the overall value proposition for Grids (which encompasses much broader capabilities in data virtualization, service-oriented infrastructures, and coordinated resource sharing between 'virtual organizations').

E.T. phone home jokes aside, SETI really appealed to the imagination of the IT community, and officially put Grid on the map. "


Human Development Trends 2005

Thanks to Steven Johnson for drawing my attention to the exceptionally well done animated presentations of world development trends.

Link: G A P M I N D E R: HOME.