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Bill St. Arnaud is a consultant and research engineer who works with clients around the world on a variety of subjects such as next generation Internet networks and developing practical solutions to reduce CO2 emissions such as free broadband and dynamic charging of eVehicles. He is an author of many papers and articles on these topics and is a frequent guest speaker. For more details on my research interests see

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The end of Grid Computing

[I have always been a skeptical of grid computing and networking when it is narrowly defined as "utility computing" or "bandwidth on demand" networks. Both concepts remind me of the bad old days of computing service bureaus and circuit switched networks. In both cases extensive centralized administrative processes are required to ensure adequate capacity and support. Virtualization on the other hand provides a lot more user control of both the computation and network facilities. It also enables greater convergence between cyber-infrastructure and the next generation of the Internet. For a good example of this approach is 4WARD. the EU has just launched a very exciting program on network virtualization which is very similar to CANARIE's UCLP initiative called 4WARD -- BSA]

Grids: On Demand or Virtual?

Convergence of Cyber-Infrastructure and Next Generation Internet

The Success of the Internet is also its Failure

The End of Grid Computing?
In the year 2003 the MIT Technology review ranked "Grid Computing" among the 10 Emerging Technologies That Will Change the World [1]. We are now four years later and something is not going well with "Grid Computing". An indication that there is a problem can easily be seen by looking at the "Google Trends" plot for the term "Grid Computing":

(click on the image to get the current trend).
This finding can be compared with another buzz word, "Virtualization", which is older than "Grid Computing" and yet is gaining more and more momentum:

There is however one exception. The Academic Grid is still having lot's of glory thanks to the huge heavily funded European (EGEE) and other US projects. When LHC data will start to be taken at CERN it will reach it's top importance. But, it seems that for other scientific projects Grid Computing is not going to be such a success. It will remain as "Nice to have" but will never replace High-Performance Computing (HPC) on one hand and classical distributed computing tools such as Condor [2] which exists for more than 20 years on the other hand. Once the governmental fundings will be removed then all the hype of the academic Grid Computing will decline very quickly as well. As was pointed in an interesting talk by Fabrizio Gagliardi about the future of grid computing, at the GridKa07 School, other kinds of Grid Computing infrastructures that will stand on stable financial ground may emerge as the successors, for example Amazon's S3 and EC2 and the joint IBM and Google's cloud computing.