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Why is everyone talking about grid computing? And what are you doing about it?

Posted by mister__m on November 26, 2003 at 7:11 PM PST

"Grid computing" - though it was quite an unknown concept till a few years ago, now everyone is talking about it. Some are saying it is everything we were missing, the next big thing. Others, as some bloggers, are simply skeptical and uncertain about its practical use. But the fact is many huge companies, such as Oracle and IBM, are investing a lot of money on that - and that's a good reason to take a closer look at it.

To begin with, what is grid computing? Grid computing is about spliting your work in small pieces - or jobs, as you prefer - and assigning those pieces to different computer on the network. After they have been processed, you get them together and your main task is done. But what is the big advantage of applying grid computing?

Have you ever thought about reducing the time your Ant builds take to run? What if you could use other developers' machines to run it in parallel while they are having coffee or are out in a meeting? Wouldn't that be great? And what if you could perform parts of a specific transaction in some machines available in a cluster instead of loading one box for a minute when the user could get the response in a few seconds? Those are the kind of things that may be accomplished with grid computing in an easier way.

So, what is the Java standard for grid computing? None. Soon, there will be one and then we will have to accept it, whether we agree with the way it will be or not. If you are among the ones who hate EJBs - I don't, just gave my own suggestions previously here -, or that think that JSPs are a big mistake, stop complaining! Get involved. Talk to the ones who are defining the standard. Go to grid forums, talk to the guys at Sun One Grid Engine, move! Download one of the many implementations available, such as Globus or Sun One Grid Engine, use them, share your thoughts about it! Tell the community what you like and what you don't and why.

Grid computing will be very useful to many people in the future, but if it is not useful for you tomorrow, well, maybe that's why you didn't try to shape its future when you had the chance...

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