The message coming from end users, Foster says, is that, as that work gets done, they want to see grid advance in an open manner, via open-source standards, as opposed to being tied to any particular vendors offerings, as is the case with some of todays leading grid vendors. "I think there are people realizing theres a need to define appropriate protocols so these systems can interoperate and people dont have to deploy a single platform across the enterprise if they dont want to," Foster said. "Globus can be a facilitator of that." Nick Gall, senior vice president of Meta Group, told me that we can think of the Globus Consortium as the Open Source Development Labs of grid computing, and we can think of the new company, created by Steve Tuecke, who will be Univas CEO; Carl Kesselman; and Rich MillerUnivaas the Red Hat.If the Globus Consortium is the OSDL and Univa is the Red Hat, where does EGA fit into the commercialization of grid? Suns ffoulkes is the chair of the marketing steering committee for that body. He told me the EGAs goal is to be a "body that is an advocate for the needs of the commercial enterprise computing user and to accelerate the process by which grid technologies become usable by the commercial, for-profit enterprise customer." "Were focused on getting grid beyond the scientific realm and into commercial computing," he said. Its still a young organization, so one of the EGAs first jobs has been to get the message out, ffoulkes said, making sure all the parties know what needs to be done and why its important. The EGA is also trying to get end-user customers on board as it tries to address the needs of the community, not just the needs of vendors. The EGA has also begun to set up technical working groups to address specific needs in the marketplace, such as a common way of communicating. It has also established various working groups, including those devoted to component provisioning, data provisioning, security and utility accounting. Where will the work coming from all these bodies lead us? Picture this typical nonprofit, scientific grid implementation: A Sun customer working in the high-performance domain of oceanographic and atmospheric modeling takes in data on a planetary scale from thousands of sensors, so they can run computer simulations to model whats happening across the planet. Results can be fed to, for example, farmers, who can make decisions on what crops to plant when. Take that work, substitute Wal-Mart and data flowing from RFID tags, with thousands and thousands of sensors collecting data on where items are and whos buying what. Its closely aligned with the same scale of data and problems inherent to the academic domain, ffoulkes saidjust do a cut and paste, change the tags, and it all makes sense. Its a lofty end goal, and Im eager to see how it develops with the open-source model thats being advocated by the newly arisen Globus Consortium. Editors Note: This column was updated to remove a reference to DataSynapse and other companies products relying on proprietary standards. DataSynapses GridServer, for one, is standards-based, relying on Web services standards including SOAP and WSDL without reference to proprietary types or operations. Write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. eWEEK.com Associate Editor Lisa Vaas has written about enterprise applications since 1997. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest database news, reviews and analysis.
"Univa thinks of itself as a hybrida Red Hat distribution of the open-source Globus tool kit, but professionalized, integrated, all the things Red Hat does to Linux and GNU to productize it and package it," Gall said. "They want to do that with the Globus Toolkit."