Some industry leaders are looking to leverage Web services to move the advantages of grid computing from the academic realm to the commercial arena.
At the Global Grid Forum last week, IBM announced its Open Grid Services Architecture, or OGSA, which incorporates technology from the academic grid computing consortium, the Globus Project, to unite the benefits of grid computing and Web services. Using Globus Toolkit, IBMs OGSA extends Web services standards such as XML, WSDL (Web Services Description Language) and SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) to deliver grid services for commercial computing.
Earlier, Sun Microsystems Inc. announced it was integrating its software platforms for grid computing and services on demand. The Palo Alto, Calif., company has integrated Sun Grid Engine software with its Sun ONE (Open Net Environment).
Industry players said they expect grid computing for commercial applications will become commonplace in the near future. "The same kinds of problems being solved in support of scientific applications are the same kinds of IT problems that come up in commercial environments," said Andrew Chien, chief technology officer and chairman of San Diego-based Entropia Inc., a supporter of IBMs plan.
Entropia, which focuses on grids for desktop environments, sees the OGSA standards as a way to promote interoperability for combining desktop grids with server grids, Chien said.
Officials with Avaki Corp., of Cambridge, Mass., said grid computing is key to handling the increased complexity of combining operating systems with the vast computing environments cropping up today as a result of the push toward Web services. Avaki has submitted a Secure Grid Naming Protocol to IBMs effort to combine grid computing and Web services.
Michael Nelson, director of Internet technology and strategy for IBM, said the companys goal is "to have beta products out this year" that combine grid computing and Web services, with production software available next year.
Nelson said IBM, of Armonk, N.Y., and Sun approach grid computing differently. He said IBM focuses on a heterogeneous grid environment, while Sun tends to suit primarily Sun systems running Solaris.
Sun Grid Engine is Suns distributed resource management tool for grid computing. Sun ONE is essentially the companys Web services strategy that includes the Solaris operating environment, iPlanet solutions, Forte development tools, Java and XML.
Sun Grid Engine software is available as a free download at www.sun.com/grid.