- Grid Computing is an emerging computing model that provides the ability to perform higher ‘throughput computing’ by taking advantage of many networked computers.
- It creates a model of virtual computer architecture that is able to distribute a process execution across a parallel infrastructure.
- Grids use resources of many separate computers connected by a network (usually the internet) to solve large-scale computational problems.
- Grids provide the ability to perform computations on large data sets, by breaking them down into many smaller ones, or provide the ability to perform many more computations at once than would be possible on a single computer, by modelling a parallel division of labour between processes.
COMMON FEATURES OF GRID COMPUTING
- It offers a model for solving massive computational problems by making use of the unused resources (CPU cycles or disc storage) of large numbers of disparate, often desktop computers treated as a virtual cluster embedded in a distribution telecommunication infrastructure.
- It is ability to support computation across administrative domains set it apart from traditional computer clusters.
- It has the design goal of solving problems too big for any single supercomputer, whilst retaining the flexibility to work on multiple smaller problems. Thus it provides multi-user environment.
- It involves sharing heterogeneous resources (based on different platforms, hardware/software architectures and computer languages) located in different places belonging to different administrative domains over a network using open standards. In short, it involves virtualising-computing resources.
- Today corporates small and large have realized, that to be ahead of the competition, they need to improve enterprise infrastructure both computational and storage and improve business processes.
- Grid computing offers a way to solve grand challenge problems like protein folding, financial modeling, earthquake simulation, climate modelling by optimizing use of information technology resources in organisation.
SOME EXAMPLES OF APPLICATIONS
- Meteorology or Climate Modelling: It offers way to solve massive computational problems, by means of combining unutilized power in thousands of personal computers, world-wide.
- Educational Institutes: It is cheaper option of a cluster of standard computers, which can achieve teraflop performance by clever distribution of the task at hand, as they cannot afford the cost of supercomputer.
- Government Agencies: It can be used to combine geographically spread high performance computing resources to tackle national tasks like electoral rolls or tax data bases.
CURRENT DEVELOPMENT IN GRID COMPUTING
- The various industry groups are making concerted efforts as grid computing is not within the power of any one player to deliver, but an ecosystem where low cost and high volume processors, combine with ‘blade server’ technology, and storage options like storage area networks, with connectivity technology like Ethernet or Fibre Channel, all driven by a cost-effective and enterprise ready operating system.
- Oracle has marked on its flagship database and what has emerged, is version 109, claimed to be the industry’s first relational database optimized for grid computing.
- Storage networking leader Network Appliance (Net APP) has launched technology called Snapshot, which allows several ‘cloned’ data sets to share the same ‘physical data block’.
- With an increased awareness of technologies, Indian Companies are leading the world in perceptions of shifting towards a “Grid IT environment” with about 48% of organisations polled in an oracle survey stating that they had already opted for or were in process of embracing grid technology.
- The results of the Latest Oracle Grid Index Research indicate an increased awareness of enabling technologies. The Grid Index maps the grid computing maturity based on three underlying indices foundation readiness, knowledge and interest and adoption life style.
- India Oracle Grid Index moved from 2.9 to 4.4, registering the fastest grid index growth worldwide (52%)
- Grid computing has been identified by C-DAC as next thrust area and government has approved recently a prototype Grid Computing Initiative (GARUDA) for implementation over the next 12 months.
- It provides an underlying network fabric at 100 mbps at 17 locations to enable remote access to Param-Padma and Param-I0000 Computers and other systems.