IBM’s Parallel Vision of Cloud Computing

    In cloud computing, one of the most important technologies in the IBM arsenal might turn out to be a set of code that is over 10 years old.

    The IBM General Parallel File System (GPFS) is a shared-disk file system currently used mostly in large clusters. But according to Jai Menon, what most people forget to appreciate about GPFS is the inherent parallelism built into the file system.

    Menon says IBM envisions a future of cloud computing where different data centers will be dedicated to performing one type of task or running certain classes of application workloads. To make that vision a reality, IBM sees GPFS and other orchestration technologies that take advantage of parallelism defining the future of cloud computing.

    In the shorter term, we’ll probably see parallelism play out on processors first. For example, multicore processors make it much more feasible to execute program code in parallel. That concept will then scale up to the data center and eventually out across the cloud, said Menon.

    Menon says IBM is already moving down this path with its evolving Flex architecture, which is designed to run application workloads on the most efficient architecture available within a data center environment made up of mainframes, RISC and Intel-class servers.

    IBM is in the early stages of redefining enterprise computing using a more holistic approach to managing all the systems and applications involved. Whether it can steal a march on competitors in this regard remains to be seen.

    Mike Vizard
    Mike Vizard
    Michael Vizard is a seasoned IT journalist, with nearly 30 years of experience writing and editing about enterprise IT issues. He is a contributor to publications including Programmableweb, IT Business Edge, CIOinsight and UBM Tech. He formerly was editorial director for Ziff-Davis Enterprise, where he launched the company’s custom content division, and has also served as editor in chief for CRN and InfoWorld. He also has held editorial positions at PC Week, Computerworld and Digital Review.

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