What is Grid Computing?

Posted on March 10, 2006. Filed under: Grid Computing, technology | Tags: , , |

Have been reading a lot about “Grid Computing”. Many times it seems to be used just as a buzzword to attract an audience.

From the terminology it seemd to be some sort of arrangement of computers connected to each other as a Grid. These computers interacted with each other over fast communication channels and together provided a better computing environment than a stanalone computer. This understanding is quite wrong.

The Grid in Grid computing has nothing to do with the connection architecture. Grid refers more to a “Power Grid”. A power grid is a system which allows some entities to generate electric power and feed it to the Grid, while consumers can get their power supply from the Grid. The consumer does not care who generates the power and the Generators do not care who exactly consumes it. The middle-men, the distribution companies, take the onus of assuring Quality Of Service and billing consumers and paying the generators.

The concept of Grid Computing is somewhat similiar. There would be entities which can provide services like Computing capacity, Storage capacity, etc normally required for computing purposes. These services would be put on the Grid and consumers would consume them as required. The provider nor the consumers need to be aware of each other’s identity. The only thing to care about is the Quality of Service a provider provides and the money a comsumer is ready to pay for it. Also a consumer would be billed only for the actual usage of the service.

The important aspects of Grid Computing are ability to locate services with specified attributes, having a QOS agreement and metering the usage of the service.

Implementing Grid Computing in an organization helps to keep track of usage of IT resources by different sections of the organization. This helps in charging various sections according to their usage of IT resources and seeing these charges as an cash inflow for the IT department. The budget spending in IT departments can be controlled with this information in hand.

Given the rise in availablity of internet connectivity it is very easy even for individual users to buy services off the grid and producers to put up their services on it. The rise in internet usage and bandwidth should be a good push for Grid Computing.

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