Standards body to push grid to enterprise

Deployed by research communities to share supercomputers and large databases, grid computing will soon be marketed to large organizations as well. A group of IT companies has formed the Enterprise Grid Alliance, a consortium to help prepare enterprise grid tools for public- and private-sector use.

The alliance will concentrate on developing standards to run business intelligence, customer relationship management, enterprise resource planning and other enterprise applications over grid networks, said Donald Deutsch, an Oracle Corp. vice president and president of the alliance board, during a press briefing today.

The alliance, initiated by Oracle, includes Advanced Micro Devices Inc. of Sunnyvale, Calif.; Cisco Systems Inc. of San Jose, Calif.; EMC Corp. of Hopkinton, Mass; Hewlett-Packard Co. of Palo Alto, Calif.; Intel Corp. of Santa Clara, Calif.; Network Appliance Inc. of Sunnyvale; Novell Inc. of Provo, Utah; and Sun Microsystems Inc. of Palo Alto.

The nonprofit organization is "pay to play," Deutsch said; its open to all parties, and different tiers of membership are based on levels of payment.

The alliance will develop reference models, best practices and provisioning, security and accounting standards. The standards it develops will be available on a royalty-free basis.

Grid computing is a set of network tools that lets parties in locations remote from one another share large-scale processing capabilities and storage.

A number of bodies are already in place to develop grid-computing standards, most notably the Global Grid Forum.

The forum released a statement saying it would work with the Enterprise Grid Alliance, although it noted it has already developed standards and best practices for deployment.

"The Enterprise Grid Alliance has elected to establish a separate organization to tackle issues regarding grid deployment in the enterprise," the forum statement said.

Deutsch said the alliance would adopt standards already developed by the Global Grid Forum and other standards bodies when feasible, but enterprise applications have unique characteristics not fully addressed by current standards. For instance, enterprise apps tend to be less batch-oriented and more interactive and data intensive.

Basic provisioning, or allocation of storage or processing power, also tends to be executed differently for enterprise apps than for scientific computing apps, said Bernd Kosch, board member and vice president of Fujitsu Siemens Computers, a joint subsidiary of Fujitsu Ltd. of Tokyo and Siemens AG of Munich, Germany.

The alliance has thus far attracted 20 members and will be talking with other major IT vendors, Deutsch said. At least one prominent vendor was conspicuous in its absence: IBM Corp. Deutsch said the alliance is talking with IBM.

"IBM is in the process of evaluating the goals and mission of the organization," an IBM spokesman confirmed, refusing to comment further.

About the Author

Joab Jackson is the senior technology editor for Government Computer News.

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