What is Enterprise Grid Computing?
Before going further, there is a need to define some terms related
to Enterprise Grid. This is especially important since so many different
Enterprise Grid definitions exist. We offer the AvarSYS point of
view on Enterprise Grid. If you accept the perspective we offer,
either as a whole or in part, then you will grasp the strategic
importance of what Enterprise Grid, true Enterprise Grid, can offer
Enterprise Grid can offer strategic importance whether you are
a CIO, IT manager, IT administrator, or an end-user wanting to,
singularly or in collaboration, solve problems. AvarSYS is focused
on the management and execution of Enterprise Grid services. This
sounds too simple. Before you accept the seeming simplicity of this,
we further dissect the statement. We first need to explain an Enterprise
Grid service. In the context of the Enterprise Grid we render virtually
any IT resource in the form of an "Enterprise Grid service."
Think of this service as you do for a service you receive in the
consumer sense; you have a need for it, you find it, you request
or purchase it and finally it is provided to you. All parts of what
we think of as IT can be rendered as Enterprise Grid services; computer
systems, a quantity of computer cycles, storage space, a printer
or some printed pages, an application, a data file, a database or
set of records in a database, and so on. Once these IT entities
are in the form of a Enterprise Grid service, then the Enterprise
Grid infrastructure itself will allow them to be registered, discovered,
provisioned, accessed, shared, removed, managed, monitored, metered,
and even billed for. These last sentences describe, albeit briefly,
a very powerful concept. There is however, yet another aspect. Enterprise
Grid services and the supporting Enterprise Grid technology enables
the secure sharing and access to these services by members of a
A virtual organization is one or all of the following: ephemeral,
geographically distributed, in separate ownership or management
domains, and has specific membership. The high-level view is then
that Enterprise Grid enables a loosely-coupled, service-based IT
world. AvarSYS is focused on the industrial-strength management
and execution of Enterprise Grid services in the commercial enterprise.
Why Grid now? Technology Enablers
There are three important enablers that make Grid technologies
- The global reach of the Internet. Geographic proximity
is no longer required to conduct commerce, science or business.
The ability to access IT resources from anywhere, to anywhere
is today almost pervasive. This is a direct result of the growing
use of IP (Internet Protocol) addressing being used on IT resources.
Over the coming years it will be even more so as IP addressing
will be applied to even more things in our business and personal
- Abundant bandwidth between entities connected to the Internet.
This permits the exchange of substantial amounts of information
which could be in the form of data or applications. The available
bandwidth is growing at significant rates further "shrinking"
the distance between IT resources where ever they reside.
- The development of open standards for "Web Services"
and "Grid Services." These terms refer to a broad
set of definitions, at various stages of evolution and industry
acceptance, to permit applications to communicate. The core Web
Services specifications permit applications to discover each other
and communicate over the internet using standard languages and
protocols such as XML, WSDL, SOAP, and UDDI. The adoption of this
core technology by the Grid community, and development of extensions
such as OGSI (Open Grid Services Interface) designed to meet Grid
requirements, has been a key development over the past two years.
Grid Services extend Web Services with a set of interfaces and
behaviors defined by OGSI, in areas such as service state and
transient service instances.
Why Grid now? Business Drivers
With the above enablers and the maturing state of Grid technologies
we see them, in concert, being directed toward solving several emerging
mega-trends in IT:
- The rate of accumulation of IT gear is significant.
Servers, storage, PCs, laptops, printers, switches, routers, PDAs,
etc. are filling up data centers and offices. With this volume
comes complexity and difficult management and utilization issues.
- Centralization will be the bane of tomorrow. Co-located
resources managed by a single central authority will eventually,
if not already, become unsustainable. Multi-national companies
are not centralized. Corporate data centers are, of necessity,
not all in one location.
- The ownership of the content of science, commerce and consumers
is dispersed, but not necessarily public. It resides in geographically
removed locations, within separate ownership domains and separate
management domains. However, if it is not accessible to collaborators,
partners, customers and colleagues then it has little value.
- Geographic dispersion of virtual teams is essential, and
it's happening today. Very few of us only interact with colleagues
in the office next door.
- The Earth's rotation leads to a "follow the sun"
model. While it is sleep-time at one organization's data center
it is prime-time at another. Spreading computing load across otherwise
lightly loaded resources provides better ROI. Somewhat glibly,
we can envision all roads, driven by the business enablers we
mentioned and aided by the technology enablers, leading to a distributed
and dynamic resource sharing model that is loosely-coupled.
Why Enterprise Grids?
If you are a CIO or IT manager you're probably being asked to do
more with less. Global management of IT requires that CIOs be able
to guarantee the security and reliability of the systems and support
every aspect of a business. So this really places a new level of
importance and focus on the IT function. It must be able to simultaneously,
in three dimensions-predictably, flexibly and reliably-provide a
significant return on IT. The corporate IT function is accountable
for driving down costs, creating new value, making IT as a service
more agile, secure, reliable, flexible and adaptable, to any sort
of change. In today's business environment that is the only constant.
Virtually all CIOs are faced with one thing, and that is, they demand
more from their IT infrastructure and from their IT partners.
What is needed is a platform for managing change, which links business
and IT together in real time.
HP's late CIO, Bob Napier, who successfully managed HP's own internal
IT infrastructure through the largest merger in IT history,
coined a phrase that we think really captures the problem: "every
business decision that you make triggers an IT event or a series
of IT events." One of the things that the Grid will
allow you to do is tie the business architecture through service
level agreements to the IT architecture. At that level it allows
for the necessary operations to provide a flexible and agile architecture,
on a global basis. Proprietary architectures with vertically integrated
IT stacks have become islands of automation today. They are prohibitively
expensive to manage and maintain through any significant change.
CIOs are specifically demanding a new enterprise architecture, one
that's open, one that welcomes change and modularity so that it
can be evolved in an incremental fashion. Grid technology
can provide this.
What are the business benefits of GRID?
- Accelerate time to results:
- can help improve productivity and collaboration
- an help solve problems that were previously unsolvable
- Enable collaboration and promote operational flexibility:
- bring together not only IT resources but also people
- allow widely dispersed departments and businesses to create
virtual organizations to share data and resources
- Efficiently scale to meet variable business demands:
- create flexible, resilient operational infrastructures
- address rapid fluctuations in customer demands|needs
- nstantaneously access compute and data resources to "sense
and respond" to needs
- Increase productivity:
- can help give end users uninhibited access to the computing,
data and storage resources they need (when they need them)
- can help equip employees to move easily through product
design phases, research projects and more - faster than ever
- Leverage existing capital investments:
- can help you improve optimal utilization of computing capabilities
- can help you avoid common pitfalls of over-provisioning
and incurring excess costs
- can free IT organizations from the burden of administering
disparate, non-integrated systems
- Infrastructure optimization:
- consolidate workload management
- provide capacity for high-demand applications
- reduce cycle times
- Increase access to data and collaboration:
- federate data and distribute it globally
- support large multi-disciplinary collaboration
- enable collaboration across organizations and among businesses
- Resilient, highly available infrastructure:
- balance workloads
- foster business community
- enable recovery and failure