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What Is The Grid

'What Is The Grid'
What is the Grid? A Three Point Checklist Ian Foster Argonne National Laboratory different administrative units of the same company; or different companies; and addresses the issues of security, policy, payment, membership, and so forth that arise in these settings. Otherwise, we are dealing with a local management system.) 2) … using standard, open, general-purpose protocols and interfaces … (A Grid is built from multi-purpose protocols and interfaces that address such fundamental issues as authentication, authorization, resource discovery, and resource access. As I discuss further below, it is important that these protocols and interfaces be standard and open. Otherwise, we are dealing with an application- specific system.) 3) … to deliver nontrivial qualities of service. (A Grid allows its constituent resources to be used in a coordinated fashion to deliver various qualities of service, relating for example to response time, throughput, availability, and security, and/or co-allocation of multiple resource types to meet complex user demands, so that the utility of the combined system is significantly greater than that of the sum of its parts.) Of course, the checklist still leaves room for reasonable debate, concerning for example what is meant by “centralized control,” “standard, open, general-purpose protocols,” and “qualities of service.” I speak to these issues below. But first let’s try the checklist on a few candidate “Grids.” First, let’s consider systems that, according to my checklist, do not qualify as Grids. A cluster management system such as Sun’s Sun Grid Engine, Platform’s Load Sharing Facility, or Veridian’s Portable Batch System can, when installed on a parallel computer or local area network, deliver quality of service guarantees and thus constitute a powerful Grid resource. However, such a system is not a Grid itself, due to its centralized control of the hosts that it manages: it has complete knowledge of system state and user requests, and complete control over individual components. At a different scale, the Web is not (yet) a Grid: its open, general-purpose protocols support access to distributed resources but not the coordinated use of those resources to deliver interesting qualities of service. On the other hand, deployments of multi-site schedulers such as Platform’s MultiCluster can reasonably be called (first-generation) Grids—as can distributed computing systems provided by Condor, Entropia, and United Devices, which harness idle desktops; peer-to- peer systems such as Gnutella, which support file sharing among participating peers; and a federated deployment of the Storage Resource Broker, which supports distributed access to data resources. While arguably the protocols used in these systems are too specialized to meet criteria #2 (and are not, for the most part, open or standard), each does integrate distributed resources in the absence of centralized control, and delivers interesting qualities of service, albeit i
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