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Survey: Turf wars hurt grid computing

Office politics and other social issues are a bigger problem than technology when it comes to the adoption of the "grid" philosophy of pooling computing resources, a study says.

Office politics and other social issues are a bigger problem than technology when it comes to the adoption of the "grid" philosophy of pooling computing resources, according to a study released Wednesday.

In grid computing,


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servers and storage systems are grouped together so the power of the individual machines can be combined. Specific software governs issues such as different priorities and privileges for the various programs running on the collection. The concept began in academic supercomputing centers but now is being rebuilt for business users with help from companies such as IBM and Sun Microsystems.

But it will be difficult for central authorities to wrestle away control over individual or departmental computers so the machines can be put into a larger collective, according to a survey conducted by Collignon Research and funded by Platform Computing, which sells software that can be used to build and run grids.

"Eighty-nine percent of respondents believe that there are nontechnical barriers to successful implementation of grid technology, such as 'server-hugging,' loss of control and problems related to sharing information technology budgets," said a study based on the survey data.

Computer users fear they'll lose control over, or access, to their computers; will have their budgets cut; will be faced with weaker data security barriers between different grid users; and will see their projects demoted to lower priorities, the study said.

The survey polled employees at 40 organizations that use grid computing, including chip designers such as Advanced Micro Devices and Qualcomm, financial services companies such as J.P. Morgan Chase and biotechnology companies such as Incyte Genomics and Novartis.