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Issue of September 2006 

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Gridding along

The grid computing concept shows promise for organisations wanting to make full use of their existing computing power. Rishiraj Verma reports on some of the new developments in the field.

Managing computing power and cutting down on IT costs have always been two major items on the agendas of all organisations. To add to these, getting higher ROI and not wasting a single resource act as further pressures. This is why grid computing might just be the solution which both large and small organisations have been looking for.

Work has been on in various areas pertaining to grid computing for a few years now. This is why we decided to take a look at some of the major developments that could provide insight about the future of grid computing in the enterprise.

Research efforts

On the recent research initiative front, IBM on August 11, 2006 signed a three-year partnership with Southeastern Universities Research Association (SURA) to work in collaboration with SURAgrid’s researchers on the potential of high power computing.

On one hand, this handshake is important to the enterprise from the point of view of newer products being launched. From another perspective, the partnership is important because more research will help the whole grid concept grow and mature from its present initial stages. It may however be too early to comment on the success of this initiative since no results have been declared from the research. Wait and watch is the keyword for the anxious.

On the other hand, the grid computing pioneer, Globus Consortium, launched the Globus Toolkit version 4.0 (GT4) for Web services last year, primarily targeting it at the growing Web-related computing needs of the enterprise.

This may be considered a more important development on the grid front because of its open source nature. The group feels that the enterprise is already struggling with computing power constraints, and an open source grid solution would help relieve them of their budgetary limitations.

Growing acceptance

A number of forums are constantly discussing and working on grid computing around the globe. What is noticed is an increasing acceptance of the concept and movement in educational institutions and small businesses. It is this set of organisations for which it is even more important to ensure that costs are cut and productivity heightened.

In the meanwhile, leading players such as Sun Microsystems and Oracle (with its Oracle RAC 10g) are active on this front. Closer home, the Centre for High Computing and Research has been reported to be at an advanced stage of testing a network of indigenously developed grid computers.

Upping productivity

As seen above, there have been developments in various forms in research as well as vendor communities. Efforts are being made by the industry to give buyers a concept that will ensure higher productivity with what they have.

What these developments point to is the fact that grid computing shows promise in the enterprise. How long it will take is however still a matter of debate as the enterprise continues to wait for the technology to mature.

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Indian Express - Business Publications Division

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