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By GCN Staff

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Grid at last?

Last week, a gaggle of technology industry giants, including IBM Corp., Intel Corp., and Microsoft Corp., announced that they had started reconciling two conflicting sets of specifications for Web services, Web Services Distributed Management and WS-Management.

While the work should trim the bewildering array of Web services standards, it could also finally bring grid computing to the mainstream, commented Ian Foster, one of the leaders of the Globus Alliance.

'So this initiative is good news: it promises to deliver what the Grid and Globus communities have been working towards for close to five years: industry-wide standards for Web services-based systems management,' Foster wrote in the Grid Today electronic newsletter.

We've been hearing murmurs about how Grid computing has stagnated in the academic and scientific realm, remaining too unwieldy to be easily deployed in the enterprise. Could this work finally ease the passage?

One side note: In his commentary, Foster all but apologized for the rough upgrade from version 3 of the Globus Toolkit to version 4, which was based on WS-ResourceFramework and WS-Notification. Now those specifications are under this group's scrutiny. Foster, however, promised a smooth transition to any resulting changes. 'When these new specifications stabilize, we will implement them -- but we will also work to provide a painless migration path for GT4-based services and clients,' he wrote.

More rough weather ahead?

Posted by Joab Jackson

Posted by Brad Grimes, Joab Jackson on Mar 20, 2006 at 9:39 AM

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Reader Comments

Tue, Mar 21, 2006 Kim Greenlee CA

I read this post with great interest. While I believe the work being done by the Globus Alliance is incredible and very valuable, I really don't think it's commercially viable. I believe that the general complexity of the Globus Toolkit interferes with its universal acceptance and deployment. So I agree with the 'murmurs' that you mention.I believe that Globus is trying to do too much. The business world is not ready for a global grid. There are too many human factors that need to be overcome. Besides that the average business hasn't really begun to understand the value grid computing can add to their bottom lines. This is going to take time. Grid acceptance within an organization is organic. Generally starting with one project having amazing success and only then increasing the size of the grid and the number of applications that can run on it. There are commercial grid solutions available today that are easy to install, maintain, and use. By waiting for Globus, businesses and government are missing out on currently available opportunities. A few months ago I wrote a post on how to get started in grid computing. Here is the link: http://krgreenlee.blogspot.com/2005/11/grid-computing-steps-to-gridified.html. The post is pretty generic. I don't sanction any company and the process has been what our customers have used, so I think its sound. Grid computing is such an ambiguous term that people really need to think about what their technology problems are and then look for an available solution or solutions that solve them. I work for a grid computing company called Digipede Technologies which has a compute grid for the Windows operating system. We allow you to cycle scavenge from any Windows machine in your organization: desktop, server, or dedicated cluster. We've had customers go from installation to grid-enablement in under 8 hours. It's not complex. It's not hard. Digipede is the only pure Windows play I know of, but there are Linux companies out there that can provide similar functionality. The hard part is the human part so start with overcoming those problems. The standards that the giants are resolving will be rolled into the current grid solutions because that will be required by customers. Companies that want to be competitive are already using grid technologies. They aren't waiting so why should anyone else?

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