developerWorks: Grid Computing: What are the Key Components?
Jun 30, 2003, 08:30 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Bart Jacob)
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"The most common description of Grid computing includes an
analogy to a power grid. When you plug an appliance or other object
requiring electrical power into a receptacle, you expect that there
is power of the correct voltage available, but the actual source of
that power is not known. Your local utility company provides the
interface into a complex network of generators and power sources
and provides you with (in most cases) an acceptable quality of
service for your energy demands. Rather than each house or
neighborhood having to obtain and maintain its own generator of
electricity, the power grid infrastructure provides a virtual
generator. The generator is highly reliable and adapts to the power
needs of the consumers based on their demand.
"The vision of Grid computing is similar. Once the proper kind
of infrastructure is in place, a user will have access to a virtual
computer that is reliable and adaptable to the user's needs. This
virtual computer will consist of many diverse computing resources.
But these individual resources will not be visible to the user,
just as the consumer of electric power is unaware of how their
electricity is being generated. To reach this vision, there must be
standards for Grid computing that will allow a secure and robust
infrastructure to be built. Standards such as the Open Grid
Services Architecture (OGSA) and tools such as those provided by
the Globus Toolkit provide the necessary framework. Initially,
businesses will build their own infrastructures (what we might call
intra-grids), but over time, these grids will become
interconnected. This interconnection will be made possible by
standards such as OGSA and the analogy of Grid computing to the
power grid will become real..."