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

History of Grid Computing:

Grid had its beginnings in the mid 1990's in scientific computing but the notion of distributed computing has been around for decades. Grid was originally conceived and designed in this community to allow access to computing resources that were geographically dispersed. The notion was that underutilized resources in places other than where the researchers were physically located could be used. Also fundamental in the formative thinking was the prospect of sharing access to data, typically in the form of files that were being jointly produced and used by collaborators in disparate locations.

Before discussing more about Grids lets go back to birth of distributed computing:

In the early 1970's when computers were first linked by networks, the idea of harnessing unused CPU cycles was born. A few early experiments with distributed computing — including a pair of programs called Creeper and Reaper — ran on the Internet's predecessor, the ARPAnet.

In 1973, the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) installed the first Ethernet network and the first full-fledged distributed computing effort was underway. Scientists John F. Shoch and Jon A. Hupp created a worm, as they called it, and envisioned it moving from machine to machine using idle resources for beneficial purposes.

In another effort, Richard Crandall, now a distinguished scientist at Apple, started putting idle, networked NeXT™ computers to work. Crandall installed software that allowed the machines, when not in use, to perform computations and to combine efforts with other machines on the network. In 1991, Zilla won the ComputerWorld Smithsonian Award for Science.

In another project started in 1995, I-WAY (Information Wide Area Year) was an experimental high-performance network linking many high-performance computers and advanced visualization environments. The idea was not to create a new network, but to integrate existing high bandwidth networks. So I-WAY unified resources at multiple supercomputing centers. It was designed to provide an infrastructure to a range of high performance applications. The reason why I-WAY is so important is that it is the precursor of Globus, which is the de facto standard for developing grid applications.

The Internet brings new scale.
Distributed computing scaled to a global level with the maturation of the Internet in the 1990's. Two projects in particular have proven that the concept works extremely well — even better than many experts had anticipated.

The first of these revolutionary projects used thousands of independently owned computers across the Internet to crack encryption codes. This project, the first of its kind, was called distributed.net — affectionately known as "dnet".

The second, and the most successful and popular of distributed computing projects in history, is the SETI@home project. Over three million people — the largest number of volunteers for any Internet distributed computing project to date — have installed the SETI@home software agent since the project started in May 1999. This project conclusively proved that distributed computing could accelerate computing project results while managing project costs.

Since 1999 grid computing has further developed to encompass more of IT than just computers and data. As we detail later, Grid enables a loosely-coupled, service-based IT environment. It is the broad spectrum of IT "resources" that can be a "service" that elevates Grid beyond just scientific computing. Importantly, Grid will have applicability in a larger cross-section of the IT world, specifically the enterprise. Enterprise is the commercial, large and medium business IT space.

AvarSYS is focused on delivering Grid technology to the enterprise to enable our customers to derive benefits in the form of reduced costs and complexity and to allow for doing things that could not be efficiently achieved before.


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