Open Grid Forum: Grids and Clouds
I recently heard about Irving Wladowsky-Berger's keynote speech at the Open Grid Forum and was pleased to see that the slides from his keynote were made available there as well. While I'd love to have the transcript from that talk available - Irving is a very engaging and dynamic speaker, the slides alone are also quite interesting. In particular, Slides 19 and 20 provide a nice little visual on something we are referring to as Ensembles, which I'll talk about more in the future. But the graphics give an interesting preview of the thinking regarding how we an simplify the data center. Yeah, they need the transcript or some discussion to enlighten the reader but I think it visually plants a useful concept on grouping of like resources as a means of simplifying the management of those resources. There are some other resources on grids and cloud computing which I think are worth reading, including some comments from Steve Crumb, the Executive Director of the Open Grid Form, and from Ian Foster who is a visionary and leader in the Grid computing space.
The short summary is: Clouds are more than Grids. But there are similarities and in some ways, Clouds build upon some of the thinking and concepts inherent in Grid Computing. Of course, Clouds build on a number of concepts, include autonomic computing, on-demand computing, virtualization, self-healing, and many of the other trends over the past several years. I think the biggest difference over many of the past views is that previously these technologies were focused on improving aspects of the computing environment - where cloud computing really focused on bringing those strategies together to provide value to the end user and to reduce the cost and effort of managing computing resources.
Of course, not all of the work is done, cloud computing is not something you can buy off the shelf today, and some of the work requires a paradigm shift across the industry. On the other hand, most of the work of cloud computing will be done by standing on the shoulders of other giant technology leaps in the industry, so in part, much of the work will be to integrate and reshape those technologies into a new and more accessible form. The journey promises to be challenging but the reward appears to be great!