Sun Opens Grid Integration Code

Grid engine portal technology enables Web access to grids.

Sun Microsystems Inc. is giving its grid portal technology to the open-source community.

The Santa Clara, Calif., company has been beta testing its Grid Engine Portal portlet technology, which integrates Sun ONE (Open Net Environment) Grid Engine software with Sun ONE Portal Server. The integration enables users to securely access their enterprise or resource grid remotely via a Web browser, rather than having to be tied to the grid system, according to Sun officials.

Sun this month will announce the release of the technologys integration code to the open-source Grid Engine Project, which will enable users to access grids powered by the companys Grid Engine software. Sun released the code late last month.

With Suns Grid Engine Portal portlet and Sun ONE Portal Server, users can remotely execute applications to Sun-powered grids, monitor jobs on the grid, upload input files to the portal with a single click and download output files to local systems.

The Ohio Supercomputer Center uses Suns Grid Engine Portal portlet to give students and scientists browser-based access to their programs and jobs on the grid without having to learn the complexities of Unix or its operating system commands.

Steven Gordon, deputy director of the center, in Columbus, said having to learn the complexities of the operating systems was a barrier to using high-performance computing resources. The result has been that many scientists are using workstations to work on problems—sometimes taking weeks or months to solve—rather than moving them onto grid-based systems, where they can be solved in hours or days, Gordon said.


Key components of Suns grid computing strategy include:
  • Management software Sun ONE Grid Engine 5.3; Sun ONE Grid Engine, Enterprise Edition; Sun Management Center; and HighGround Storage Resource Manager
  • Development tools Sun Management Center Developer Environment, Forte HPC, Forte C/C++ and Sun HPC ClusterTools
  • Infrastructure Sun ONE Portal, and Directory and Messaging servers
  • Security SunScreen Firewall, Enterprise Authentication Mechanism and Trusted Solaris
"The portal technology allows us to create a simple, Web-based front end to the software that authenticates users and allows them to move their data sets, submit their jobs and view their outputs without knowing anything about the system on which it runs," he said. "This capability will release scientists from having to know the intricacies of the computer systems so they can concentrate on their real work." It will also increase opportunities for students to use the computing power for their research, he said.

Sun has been building its grid computing capabilities since it bought Gridware Inc. in 2000. According to Sun, there are about 6,500 grids deployed on its Java-based software.

Grid computing is also a key piece of Suns ambitious N1 initiative, which is designed to enable users to get as much use as possible out of data center hardware, much of which can sit idle for long periods of time, according to company officials. Grids can give users access to the pooled resources of multiple systems.

The goal is to help businesses lower the costs associated with running data centers.