Thursday, 9 December 2010

Dead. Again.

Apparently 'Grid Computing is Dead'.


It wasn't Colonel Mustard, with the lead piping, in the library. It was David De Roure, with a posting, on the Nature eResearch blog.

To be fair on David: he is an eyewitness - not the perpetuator to the dastardly deed. He was highlighting a panel discussion at the IEEE eScience conference in Brisbane entitled "Grid Computing is dead: Let's all move to the Cloud".

That title looks like another round of that popular panel game: my vague terminology is better that your vague terminology. As Simon Hettrick has pointed out - Clouds computing has one big advantage over Grid computing - the Name. Clouds sound nice and fluffy; grids sound hard and rigid.

You cannot really discuss Cloud computing in general. You need to talking about the the various Somethings-as-a-Service.

Most cloudy discussions concentrate on IaaS - Infrastructure-as-a-Service. Through the wonders of virtualisation, imaginary computers are conjured up on a magic box somewhere on The Internet. You can ask for an imaginary computer and use and abuse it just like a real computer under your desk. This has changed the way computing is delivered.

It is not the only option. Some Research Institutions, and commercial companies, are offering access to High Performance Computing systems and calling it 'Cloud Computing'. More accurately, this is  SaaS - Software-as-a-service - and PaaS - Platform-as-a-Service. This is good when you need access to a particular application or the messy bits needed to build an application. 

A few years ago, they might have been called such an offering 'Grid Computing'.

The Grid is a Platform. We are offering it as a Service. 

It might be a slightly-rickety platform but we have used it to support many applications and enable new research.

The Grid isn't dead. It has PaaS-ed over to the other side.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

might as well read the post-conference post too...