Monday, August 25, 2008

Grid Computing Now! So did we do the job?

There's a debate raging in the Google Cloud Computing group about what are the key lessons to be learned from Grid Computing in bringing the notion of Cloud Computing to the market place. It sort of runs like this: "we don't want to make the same mistakes as Grid!" to which the grid afficionados involved will respond with "what do you mean mistakes? Grid has been successful and Cloud is but an offshoot of Grid!" Those of you with any lengthy experience of the computing geek mind will know what happens next. A text version of the pantomime comedy line "Oh no you didn't"; "Oh yes you did!" delightfully summarised in the immortal Monty Python Argument sketch as "a simple act of gainsaying".

I have made my living for the past 3 and an half years from the proposition that "grid computing is good for us and we should all adopt it!", stemming from the work done in the UK e-Science programme over the past 10 years. Sitting here in 2008, it doesn't feel a bad place to be. Our collective view is that the best of the ideas from grid computing middleware, regarded as configuration, resource allocation, scheduling and job management, seemed to have been incorporated into a set of useful tools for system management and virtualisation.

Thus we have distributed computing infrastructures, often heterogeneous, and useful means for increasing utilisation in the data centre. Is this Grid, well for the purists, no, the infrastructures are usually proprietary and therefore not Grid, but for the pragmatists - of which readers will observe I am one, the answer is yes, this seems to have the right effect and its not bad for a start!!

What do you think the progress with Grid adoption has been over the past 3 years? Can you point to successful examples? Or proof points that its not happening? I'll be interested to know.

Meantime, at the world watching paint dry championships ...

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