Not for All Enterprises

By Anne Chen  |  Posted 2002-07-22 Print this article Print

Not for All Enterprises

While grid technologies have begun to succeed in a nonscientific setting such as Butterfly.nets gaming network, Levine and Chief Technology Officer Mark Wirt agreed that the concept will not work at all enterprises. Before targeting gamers, the two considered and rejected everything from online banking transactions to concurrent engineering supported by a grid.

Grids may be too unproven to support many startup business plans, but a few established enterprises are expanding their use of the technology beyond scientific and design applications.

At Pratt & Whitney, a division of United Technologies Corp., engineers have been using grid technologies since 1992 to handle the processor workloads necessary to design rocket engines and jet propulsion systems. Using Platform Computings Platform LSF workload management software, Pratt & Whitney clusters the power of as many as 5,000 workstations simultaneously to handle high-intensity batch design computations.

Now, because grid computing concepts have worked so well in Pratt & Whitneys research and design processes, Peter Bradley, associate fellow for high-intensity computing at the aerospace company, is examining the idea of building a grid to collect and apply unused workstation processing power to mission-critical enterprise applications.

But while Bradley may be a proponent of grid technologies, he is the first to admit that the concept will be unsuitable for most enterprises today. To support a grid infrastructure, a company must be willing to take a leap of faith and invest in hardware, train IT managers and even build management tools that are missing from many commercial grid products, he said.

"There is definitely a barrier to entry with grids," Bradley said. "This is not something you can just rip the shrink-wrap off of and fire it up."

Other articles in this package:
  • Girding for Grid Battle
  • Grid Technical Challenges Daunting Related stories:
  • The Paradox of Grid Computing
  • Recruiting Grid for the E-Biz Arena
  • IBM Backs Renewed Grid Efforts
  • Microsoft Brings .Net to Grid Computing
  • Sun Takes Grid Computing to Next Level
  • Girding for Grids
  • Sun Integrates Grid Engine, ONE

    As a senior writer for eWEEK Labs, Anne writes articles pertaining to IT professionals and the best practices for technology implementation. Anne covers the deployment issues and the business drivers related to technologies including databases, wireless, security and network operating systems. Anne joined eWeek in 1999 as a writer for eWeek's eBiz Strategies section before moving over to Labs in 2001. Prior to eWeek, she covered business and technology at the San Jose Mercury News and at the Contra Costa Times.

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