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HP endorses open grid standards

The technology giant, saying it wants computers to work well together, donates grid-computing software to the cause.

Hewlett-Packard reiterated its support for open standards in grid computing on Thursday and sealed its pledge by giving software to the alliance that sets standards for the technology.

The company contributed a set of applications known as the Smart Framework for Object Groups, or SmartFROG, which allows easier configuration of grids. Grid computing technology promises a future where computers from different departments or organizations can be connected to work on critical tasks.

"We want to move this from a scientific community vehicle to a truly robust commercial enterprise architecture," said Shane Robison, chief technology and strategy officer for HP. Robison made the announcement at the eighth Global Grid Forum (GGF) on Thursday.

The GGF is a consortium creating the standards used to wire computers together into grids. Issues include how grids automatically discover and add new devices, how computing jobs are scheduled, and how users are given authorization to use shared resources on the grid.

While the hype around grid computing has outpaced the reality, the technology is a step toward a utility model for computing. Grid-computing technology allows companies to dedicate unused resources to the most critical problems at any given time. Unfortunately for HP and other companies that hope to open up new markets for adopters of the technology, grids have mainly been put in place as research tools.

Robison said he hoped HP's software would help tame one major problem with grids: managing them. SmartFROG enables administrators to push configuration changes to the distributed computers that make up a grid. HP plans to allow the software to be integrated with its OpenView management software.

"We are doing everything from the development tools, to participating in the standards to porting all of our enterprise products," Robison said.