The Anatomy of the Grid: Enabling Scalable Virtual Organizations

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Ian Foster, Carl Kesselman, Steven Tuecke
International Journal of High Performance Computing Applications 15(3), pages 200-222
August 2001

"Grid" computing has emerged as an important new field, distinguished from conventional distributed computing by its focus on large-scale resource sharing, innovative applications, and, in some cases, high performance orientation. In this article, the authors define this new field. First, they review the "Grid problem," which is defined as flexible, secure, coordinated resource sharing among dynamic collections of individuals, institutions, and resourceswhat is referred to as virtual organizations. In such settings, unique authentication, authorization, resource access, resource discovery, and other challenges are encountered. It is this class of problem that is addressed by Grid technologies. Next, the authors present an extensible and open Grid architecture, in which protocols, services, application programming interfaces, and software development kits are categorized according to their roles in enabling resource sharing. The authors describe requirements that they believe any such mechanisms must satisfy and discuss the importance of defining a compact set of intergrid protocols to enable interoperability among different Grid systems. Finally, the authors discuss how Grid technologies relate to other contemporary technologies, including enterprise integration, application service provider, storage service provider, and peer-to-peer computing. They maintain that Grid concepts and technologies complement and have much to contribute to these other approaches.