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Grid Computing

Building compute clusters is a standard procedure today. We are now moving from compute clusters to powerful, managed Cluster Grids and computing resources are easily available via Web interfaces. Sun's Grid Computing strategy is based on an evolutionary and extensible cluster hardware and software architecture, starting with Cluster Grids, moving to Campus Grids, and going to Global Grids. Cluster Grids usually provide compute power for a single department, a team, a project, and so forth. The key objective is to maximize resource utilization.

When several Cluster Grids from several departments are combined into one virtual computing environment, another important objective appears—resource sharing. In the Campus Grid environment several teams from different departments on the campus or enterprise, with different applications and goals and deadlines, share one larger computing resource (for example, a cluster of clusters).

To guarantee fair sharing of the resources and take into account different deadlines, urgencies, and policies for the different teams, Sun will soon release the Sun Grid Engine, Enterprise Edition software which the acts like a broker among the teams, on top of the Sun Grid Engine clusters, to provide the intelligent resource management. The source code of this resource broker is already available at:

http://www.gridengine.sunsource.net.

Combining resources beyond a campus or enterprise leads us to the Global Grids. Besides the main objectives of maximum utilization and resource sharing, a new challenge rises—the use of the open Internet for transmitting applications and data. This application requires authentication of the user (to use others' resources remotely), secure transfer of information, and handling of distributed files, among others. That is where grid technologies such as Avaki and Globus come into play. For more information, see http://www.sun.com/gridware/.

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