Globus Toolkit Founders Form CompanyGlobus Toolkit Founders Form Company
The de facto standard for grid computing will be licensed to companies, and the new venture will contract for technical support of the software and services that can help companies design and run computing grids.
December 13, 2004
The authors of a widely used grid-computing software program said Monday they're starting a new company to license the software and subcontract with vendors such as IBM and Hewlett-Packard to build and support the computer networks.
The new company, called Univa Corp., will include on its management team Ian Foster, a professor at the University of Chicago and senior scientist at Argonne National Lab in Illinois; Carl Kesselman, an associate professor of computer science at the University of Southern California; and Steve Tuecke, a former technologist and manager at Argonne. Tuecke, who left Argonne in June, will become CEO of Univa, Foster will be chief open-source strategist, and Kesselman will serve as chief scientist. The three wrote and managed the Globus Toolkit software, which has become a de facto standard for grid computing. Rich Miller, a Silicon Valley veteran who designed early electronic mail systems on the military's Arpanet and has consulted for AT&T, IBM, and Palm Computing, will be Univa's chief operating officer. Univa, which will be headquartered in Elmhurst, Ill., near Chicago, plans to license the Globus Toolkit to companies, and contract for technical support of the software and services that can help companies design and run computing grids, according to Tuecke and Miller. The Globus Toolkit, which users can license under a free open-source agreement, was released in 1998. It lets scientists submit computational jobs over the Internet to off-site computers, then receive the answers to the problem on their desktop PCs. Globus provides common application programming interfaces that let jobs run on high-performance computers based on different technical standards. But Tuecke says the founders also see a growing opportunity to license the software to companies that want to build grids to run their business applications. SAP, for example, in October demonstrated the Globus Toolkit, adding servers to a pool of machines running its customer-relationship-management and supply-chain-management software, Tuecke says. Univa plans to contract with technology and consulting firms such as IBM's Global Services unit, HP, Accenture, and SAIC to supply the Globus software to companies and government agencies. "Clearly there's a large part of the market for technical computing. Globus can do this out of the box," Tuecke says. "But there's also a back-office business application." Companies such as IBM and Platform Computing distribute the toolkit packaged with their own products, and Univa will continue to make an open-source version of the Globus Toolkit available under a free license. Univa plans to hire at least 40 employees by the end of the second quarter of next year, Miller says. The company has so far been funded by its founders and early individual "angel" investors, and it plans to seek funding from venture-capital firms next year.
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