The Power in Grid Computing, Numbers

I don't recall CEOs crediting the economy for their companies' successes in the late '90s.

Grid computing makes sense. The computing horsepower sitting idle most of the day on desktops and in server rooms would, if harnessed, provide all the computing cycles an enterprise needs. But its the harnessing problem that keeps the grid promise from becoming reality. In this weeks eWeek Labs section, we analyze the state of grid computing, talk to customers building grids and speculate how grids can fulfill their promise. The report begins with Anne Chens profile of, a company that teamed with IBM to build an online gaming grid.

The best guess puts grid computing as an enterprise-ready tool around 2005. That may also be the year when honest accountants have finally sorted through the cooked books of too many tech companies, when all the promised synergies of corporate mergers finally become apparent and when voice over IP finally makes its way into the enterprise. Last week was busy and crucial in the financial reporting calendar (see most of the financial results for tech companies on our earnings roundup page). The economy continues to be the whipping boy of company execs looking to place blame for their cruddy numbers. I dont recall CEOs crediting the economy for their companies successes in the late 90s. Anyway, this last round of numbers has reset the expectations of numerous market leaders, including:

  • IBM. When Sam Palmisano was named to head IBM earlier this year, the speculation was that his best management strategy would be to do nothing. If he simply stood aside and played golf while the Big Blue juggernaut moved forward, he could get continued accolades, improve his game and not have to do too much. Well, it hasnt turned out that way, and Palmisano needs to come up with a strategy for growth during a sour economic cycle.
  • Siebel. Late last year, Tom Siebel said that he had seen the future and that bad times had already ended. Last week, Siebel gave the economy a flogging while stating he had kept about 1,500 people on the payroll beyond what the company and economy required. Siebels troubles are a good example of the physician needing to be able to heal himself before taking on new patients.

Those are just two of the leaders. Lots of companies are in the process of deciding exactly what segments they want to reach and where they can focus their resources for profit. For an update on supply chain vendors trying to find where profits reside in that chain, see "Large Supply Chain Vendors Scaling Back."

Whatll it take for grid computing to become a reality? Write to me at