Shell is will implement grid technology to improve its oil exploration business later this year. The company is working with IBM to redevelop its seismic analysis applications to run in a grid environment. Jacobus Buur, principal research physicist at Shell International and Production, said that the project aims to reduce the time taken to process the huge amounts of seismic information Shell collects, and improve the quality of its data. 'It's an ongoing thing,' he said. 'We've been looking for better ways to solve the problem for 20 years. Grids are a possible solution for that complexity.' Shell and IBM are building a prototype system, due to go live in November, using the supplier's xSeries Intel servers, running Linux with Globus open-source grid software. And if the project is a success, grid computing could be used much more widely in Shell.
'We're trying to find generic solutions that don't only work with one application. If we're successful, we can put other applications onto the grid,' said Buur. 'If we have a success story in one area, it'll be looked at in other areas. Everyone is looking for a commercial success in grids. We're one of the first to look seriously at it.