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Grid Computing Explained 28

An anonymous reader writes "What's different between Grid computing and P2P, CORBA, cluster computing, and DCE? This article provides a cursory analysis of the similarities and differences between Grid computing and such distributed computing systems as P2P, CORBA, cluster computing, and DCE."
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Grid Computing Explained

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  • CORBA? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by TheRealMindChild ( 743925 ) on Monday February 09, 2004 @11:37AM (#8225881) Homepage Journal
    CORBA doesn't even FIT into this article, and it is painfully clear when you read it. If this wasn't a free object model, I would say the autor is stretching to sell something, but since that can't be the case, then what is it?
    • Re:CORBA? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by neglige ( 641101 )
      In a way, it does fit somehow (or so the author reasons):

      Of all distributed computing environments, CORBA probably shares more surface-level similarities with grid computing than the others. This is due to the strategic relationship between grid computing and Web services in the Open Grid Services Architecture.

      Oddly enough, WSDL and SOAP are mentioned, but never really discussed. And the would be probably better suited than CORBA.
      • Re:CORBA? (Score:3, Interesting)

        by roboros ( 719352 )

        Oddly enough, WSDL and SOAP are mentioned, but never really discussed. And the would be probably better suited than CORBA.

        WSDL and SOAP are used [] in version 3 of the Globus Toolkit [], which is a well-known open source grid toolkit. In that version, all grid services are Web Services.

    • Indeed (Score:3, Funny)

      by JMZero ( 449047 )
      The author seems to have intuited their similarity by looking over their respective buzzword lists. All-in-all, the article seemed only vaguely in touch with reality. And it was targetted much more at management than technical folk, the kind of people who would ask "Should I be pushing my guys to use P2P or CORBA for the new CRM system?"

      I'm fairly sure I'm stupider now than when I started reading.
      • I would disagree.

        IBM have used CORBA for many of the internal interfaces in their larger systems; many people in IBM know what CORBA is and what it does.

        In this article it's worth mentioning as a means to contrast the whole grid idea with existing RPC designs; otherwise people are likely to think "what's the big deal about web-services as an RPC layer, anyway?"
        • by JMZero ( 449047 )
          In this article it's worth mentioning as a means to contrast the whole grid idea with existing RPC designs

          I guess. But it's confusing an implementation with an architecture. I suppose somebody might have asked "Couldn't we implement this sort of architecture using CORBA?" - but that train of thought seems out of place in the article.

          To fit with the article, it seems like it would have made more sense to compare "Grid computing vs. regular RPC" rather than "Our protocols for grid computing vs. one proto
  • Plan9 (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    For a real nice grid system, take a look at Plan9 []. Very nice, well-designed system.
  • 'seems like a reasonable choice,
    but does it exist... yet?
  • by duffbeer703 ( 177751 ) * on Monday February 09, 2004 @12:36PM (#8226465)
    The big problem that I see with "Grid Computing" is that 99% of articles about it point out that it is cool and leave it at that. A few articles will point out how GM does rendering for CAD/CAM stuff or how Folding@Home works.

    My question is what business problems can be solved with grids? Most people do not work in scientific computing facilities and most engineering departments are overseas anyway.

    • by dkf ( 304284 )
      Grid computing is still very new, and there is a lot of disagreement over what it means. Is it any wonder that the IBM guy just glosses over all that stuff to make a story that is journalistically stronger (but ultimately an utter crock, as you spotted.)

      The distinguishing factor about Grids is that they operate across organizational boundaries. There's no point in doing a single organization Grid. Beowulf clusters? You might have them on the grid as single nodes.

      BTW, there is one very well known (in t
    • Grid computing means several things:

      -the supply of compute power will equal the demand
      -shifts in supply happen automatically
      -you pay for what you use

      Don't think of cluster computing. That's the wrong idea. Don't think engineering. Those people need clusters, not grids.

      Grids are for people who run businesses. Their demand changes all the time, and it's expensive to have to buy computers that can handle the peak load. For example, some types of retailers will do 80% of their business in December. Why shoul
      • While that sounds good in principle, the problem is that for most companies the limiting fact is that they have too much information to deal with rather than not enough processing power.

        Grid requires that you are doing things that don't require too much data to be pushed around (at least not compared to the amount of work that has to be done on the data). For large databases and the like, the problem is just sorting through the data and sending it somewhere else won't help because the effort of sending it
        • It's not just the CPU that scales in a grid environment. Things like network connectivity, and database storage also scale. If you haven't looked at the cost of some storage solutions from EMC, then you might not know how expensive they are. Renting can be a way to reduce cost, since these grid solutions can host many many customers on a single piece of physical hardware, without their customers knowing that they don't have their own dedicated box.
          • But than how does it differ from normal outsourcing of your computer needs?
            • It's different because it's a all-in-one solution. Do you run 17 different versions of Oracle? Do run 9 different hardware platforms? The vendors who provide grid computing can not only provide the hardware resources, they can consolidate systems onto common platforms. This helps the grid computing move overall, and it helps the customer reduce the number of platforms they live on. Any large organization will be able to save costs this way.

              You're right on though. Grid computing is really similar to outsour
    • by DeepRedux ( 601768 ) on Monday February 09, 2004 @01:39PM (#8227104)
      On answer to the question of "what are Grids for" is given by the paper The Anatomy of the Grid. [] I think the paper can be summarized by the following quote from it:
      The real and specific problem that underlies the Grid concept is coordinated resource sharing and problem solving in dynamic, multi-institutional virtual organizations. The sharing that we are concerned with is not primarily file exchange but rather direct access to computers, software, data, and other resources, as is required by a range of collaborative problem-solving and resource brokering strategies emerging in industry, science, and engineering. This sharing is, necessarily, highly controlled, with resource providers and consumers defining clearly and carefully just what is shared, who is allowed to share, and the conditions under which sharing occurs. A set of individuals and/or institutions defined by such sharing rules form what we call a virtual organization (VO).
    • We are currently looking at grid computing for running CPU intense algorithms for preprocessing data streams. We are also looking at using P2P technologies for handling data between the systems (although this creates issues in our case for data backups - at least with our current implimentation). In our case, JXTA seems to be the appropriate route, but we are considering others as well.

      Most people do not work in scientific computing facilities

      True, most people are not involved in this sort of work.
    • Apart from raytracing [] the only other experiance I've had with grids is compiling using distcc []. Apple has also brought out xcode [] which does the same thing. Basically think of anything that takes a long time and can be done in parallel. For compiling it make allot of sense. It means that instead of taking 1 hour and 1 minutes to compile it only takes 10 minutes. Add up how many times you compile the product and it adds up to alot of time that can be spent testing or debuging instead of waiting for the progra

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