Grids get down to business

Two efforts aim to expand the use of grid computing beyond academia and into the business realm.

Two initiatives in the coming weeks will seek to make computing grids, where far-flung computers act as a single machine, more widespread in the business world.

In May, a consortium of vendors called the Enterprise Grid Alliance plans to release its first recommendations for making grids more palatable to businesses, CNET has learned.

The guidelines from the EGA, which was formed one year ago to promote grid computing in business, will address a range of technical issues, from security to a utilitylike pricing system for buying computing power in industry-standard increments.


What's new:
In the coming weeks, the Enterprise Grid Alliance consortium will release technical recommendations for using grids in business. And this week, the open-source Globus Toolkit 4 for writing grid applications will be released.

Bottom line:
These efforts are attempts to create industry standards, which experts believe are important steps to making the hazy notion of grid computing widespread.

More stories on grid computing

At the end of this week, a consortium of grid computing researchers and corporations called the Globus Alliance plans to release the Globus Toolkit 4.0 for writing applications that run on several, disparate machines.

The Globus tools and the EGA technical recommendations aim to address computing tasks suited to the business realm rather than academia, where computing grids have been used for years. Perhaps more significantly, these efforts seek to establish industrywide grid standards, something experts say is still lacking.

"The challenge is getting the ideas out of the lab and into commercial use," said Steve Tuecke, CEO of Univa, which Tuecke founded with a group of grid computing luminaries in December last year to build commercial systems around the Globus Toolkit. "Being used just in science isn't going to cut it."

The grid computing industry today is roughly at the same stage the Internet was about 10 years ago, experts say. Before commercial customers can share their computing resources more effectively across widespread networks, they need a wide variety of standardized products.

Today, most examples of grid computing are done using vendor-specific tools within a single company, said Jonathan Eunice, an analyst at Illuminata.

"We're in the stage of development where you build a grid, you don't

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