Sun Microsystems has stated that its grid engine software is now running over 7,000 grids, and providing a big boost to Linux take-up.
The company said that each grid operates with an average of 47 processors. Its supported Grid Engine Enterprise Edition runs Solaris (Unix) and Linux.
But an open source version which Sun made available two years ago now runs all main Unix flavours including Mac OS X.
Sun said that grids are increasingly Linux - rather than Unix-based.
Grids are integral to the vision of computing-on-demand whereby users effectively 'plug-in' to computing power and pay as used in a similar fashion to electricity or domestic gas.
Grid users gain greater system utilisation, potentially saving on the number of systems needed.
The technology uses spare compute cycles to boost processor utilisation, so a company with some computer-intensive applications to run can add to system value.
Typically, less than 10 per cent of the capacity of a processor is actually used without grid computing.
Neither Sun grid engine supports Microsoft Windows, although some other grid engines do.
But future work on open grid standards, which is now being linked with web services because some of the needs are common to both, could allow Microsoft to catch up.
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