Why Grid Now?
     Technology Enables
     Business Drivers
Why Enterprise Grids?
What are the benefits of Grid?

  What is Enterprise Computing?
Grid Computing History
Grid Terminology
Grid vs. Distributed Computing
Grid vs. Clustering
Grid vs. Utility Computing
  Oracle "Grid Overview" (1 min.)
  eWeek - "Grid in the Enterprise"
InfoWorld - "Getting Down to Grid Computing"
Computerworld - "Grid Poised for Primetime"
MIT Sloan - "Grid Computing"
  Oracle Grid Computing
Oracle 10g: Infrastructure for Grid
IBM: Fundamentals to Grid Computing
IBM: The Era of Grid Computing

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 to you.

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 virtual organization.

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 viable:

  1. 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 lives.
  2. 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.
  3. 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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?

Business benefits:

  1. Accelerate time to results:
    1. can help improve productivity and collaboration
    2. an help solve problems that were previously unsolvable
  2. Enable collaboration and promote operational flexibility:
    1. bring together not only IT resources but also people
    2. allow widely dispersed departments and businesses to create virtual organizations to share data and resources
  3. Efficiently scale to meet variable business demands:
    1. create flexible, resilient operational infrastructures
    2. address rapid fluctuations in customer demands|needs
    3. nstantaneously access compute and data resources to "sense and respond" to needs
  4. Increase productivity:
    1. can help give end users uninhibited access to the computing, data and storage resources they need (when they need them)
    2. can help equip employees to move easily through product design phases, research projects and more - faster than ever
  5. Leverage existing capital investments:
    1. can help you improve optimal utilization of computing capabilities
    2. can help you avoid common pitfalls of over-provisioning and incurring excess costs
    3. can free IT organizations from the burden of administering disparate, non-integrated systems

Technology benefits:

  1. Infrastructure optimization:
    1. consolidate workload management
    2. provide capacity for high-demand applications
    3. reduce cycle times
  2. Increase access to data and collaboration:
    1. federate data and distribute it globally
    2. support large multi-disciplinary collaboration
    3. enable collaboration across organizations and among businesses
  3. Resilient, highly available infrastructure:
    1. balance workloads
    2. foster business community
    3. enable recovery and failure


Are you ready to get on the GRID? Contact AvarSYS to apply for a free half-day GRID workshop!
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