A new vendor consortium hopes to move grid computing beyond the world of science and into the world of business.
The Enterprise Grid Alliance, which was formally launched last week, will provide reference models, security recommendations and specifications targeted to enable enterprises to operate computing grids that run within an enterprise.
“We are primarily concerned about grids within the data center; we are not concerned about capturing CPU cycles on widely distributed desktops,” said Donald Deutsch, EGA president and a vice president at Oracle Corp.
Oracle, the prime driver behind the EGA, announced last fall at the rollout of its Oracle 10g database its intention to form a consortium to promote grid computing. It was joined by about 20 other IT vendors, including Sun Microsystems Inc., Hewlett-Packard Co. and EMC Corp., in forming the EGA, based in San Ramon, Calif.
All computing grids connect pools of processing power, storage and application logic via a network. Deutsch described the difference between the computing grids that currently grab the headlines and the grids that EGA envisions as falling into two areas.
For one, academic and scientific grids are characterized by widely distributed systems and distributed ownership of those systems, while enterprise grids bundle systems within a smaller footprint and are owned by a single entity. In addition, scientific research applications run on grids tend to try to solve one big problem by spreading computing resources out, while enterprise applications and business-specific software that would be used on an enterprise grid are more transaction-oriented.
The EGAs initial working groups will address grid security, component provisioning, data provisioning and utility accounts, as well as create reference models.
The EGA plans to create memorandums of understanding with existing grid standards bodies, such as the Global Grid Forum, to share intellectual property.
Conspicuously missing from the founding members of the EGA are IBM, a proponent of grids, and software vendors Microsoft Corp. and SAP AG. Deutsch said EGA members have discussed the consortium with these companies but have not come to any conclusions.
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