The articles in this issue were selected to increase your awareness of the important technical issues involved in Grid computing and to convey a sense of its magnitude and complexity from both a management and technical perspective.
In the 1st featured article, titled “Grid Computing – a Services Perspective”, Michael Osias comments on the origins and growth of Grid computing as well as its connection to the Global Information Grid (GIG) construct. He then focuses on Grid services, enabled by the development of web services technology, that allow the development of virtual systems that can be composed and re-configured dynamically at run time. Embedded throughout this very technical venue is the notion of sharing resources and services in a utility framework. Note also his reliance on standards.
The 2nd feature article, titled “The Role of Standards in the Grid”, addresses the work of the Globus Alliance, the challenges they face, the importance of balancing short and long term needs, and their determination to have standards-based grids, with the accompanying rationale. It identifies and prioritizes standards work currently in progress, including the Globus toolkit, a product based on the Open Grid Services Architecture (OGSA), which is now used in most Grid implementations.
The 3rd feature article, titled “MCNC’s North Carolina Statewide Grid Initiative”, describes an actual Grid implementation. It represents a business perspective, focusing on both the actual and foreseeable benefits of using grid technology in addition to the specific challenges of that academic domain.
The last feature article, titled “TeraGrid Software Strategy: E Pluribus Unum”, presents the operational reality of a grid computing environment from the perspective of those who must put it together and keep it functioning. I felt this article was extremely important to provide a realistic perspective to our technical readers. It also points to “new science” that is emerging given the capabilities of a grid infrastructure, and again, the use of standards based components.