March 30, 2005 in Business

High-end computer cluster planned

By The Spokesman-Review
 

Liberty Lake Internet Exchange has announced it will develop a high-performance computing service, targeting companies that would lease time on its computers to crunch huge amounts of data.

Announced in a press release Tuesday, the goal would be to create a cluster of high-end computers in Liberty Lake that could be used by companies worldwide. Such computer grids have become a lower-cost alternative to high-end supercomputers.

LLIX’s primary owner, Bernard Daines, is a key figure in the project. After leaving Spokane Valley-based World Wide Packets, Daines has served as chief executive officer of Utah-based Linux Networx, Inc. That company has developed large-scale Linux systems for government and corporate customers.

Daines said in an e-mail that he’s prepared to invest money and equipment in the project once LLIX identifies potential customers.

“We believe there is a significant opportunity to bring this type of processing power to the masses… ultimately offering a pay-per-use model to facilitate access to the system,” he said.

The term used in the tech industry for selling or leasing time on computer grid systems is on-demand computing.

LLIX was started two years ago and has become a regional data center, with several high-tech companies using its secure facilities. It also provides broadband connectivity to residential and business customers.

In the same press release issued Tuesday, the Spokane-Area Economic Development Council announced it will help the computer cluster project by establishing a marketing strategy and working on finding potential customers.

The EDC said it will provide LLIX with a grant to work on furthering the cluster concept. The amount of the grant hasn’t been decided yet, said Octavio Morales, director of sales and marketing for LLIX.

The EDC said the cluster project would also benefit companies moving to or expanding operations in the Inland Northwest.

The LLIX cluster project would provide affordable options to companies that don’t have the money or the technology resources of high-end networks, said Morales. One type of user, he noted, would be a company that needed to analyze customer data to help develop market strategies.

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