The demo, which is already running at HP Labs in Palo Alto, Calif., shows how an IT staffer running business applications written for the de facto standard Globus Toolkit can use HP's software to add security, load balancing, and other capabilities to the program. Researchers at HP Labs will run the demonstration at the GlobusWorld conference from Jan. 13 to 17.
HP plans to spend "multiple billions" of dollars to research and develop utility-computing products this year, says Nick van der Zweep, director of utility computing at the company. HP, which merged with Compaq in May, is working to make a profit from its enterprise computing business, in part by developing hardware and software that can help businesses allocate computing resources more quickly to respond to changing market conditions.
The Globus Toolkit, developed at Argonne National Laboratory and the University of Southern California, helps developers write applications that log users on to distributed grids of computers, disks, and databases to leverage their power. Most applications developed for Globus so far have been scientific, but HP and other companies, including IBM, are trying to spur more commercial grid apps. "All of us in the community think this model of interaction goes way beyond what is currently possible," says Sharad Singhal, a principal scientist at HP Labs who led development of the demonstration.
HP has developed a way for apps written to the Globus application programming interfaces to use HP's Utility Data Center software to graphically add computers and disks to a job, add firewall protection and load balancing of network traffic, and specify the type of machine that would serve tiers of an application. HP's software submits those requirements to the Globus Toolkit, which finds the right computers on a network and authorizes a user to log on to them. HP's product then supplies the necessary connections between machines and returns to the user IP addresses of those machines, which can be accessed using the Internet standard Telnet software, Singhal says.
Separately, HP said Monday that it received 1,385 U.S. patents last year, making it the ninth-largest patent recipient in the country.