Grid is a software environment that makes it possible to share disparate, loosely coupled IT resources across organizations and geographies. IT resources are freed from their physical boundaries and offered as services. They can potentially include almost any IT component -- computer cycles, storage spaces, databases, applications, files, sensors or scientific instruments.
Web services make it work
In grid computing, resources can be dynamically provisioned to users or applications that need them. Resources can be shared within a workgroup, department or enterprise; among different organizations and geographies; and even with groups outside the enterprise in collaborative projects. Grids can be designed to support various business processes. Grid technologies use emerging Web services standards such as XML, SOAP and WSDL.
Bringing grid to the enterprise
Grid technologies have long been used for scientific and technical work, where dispersed computers are linked to create virtual supercomputers that rapidly process vast amounts of information. Now, with the success of e-commerce and the Internet, the commercial enterprise is moving to an IT model based on Web services, in which software can be offered and consumed as services -- a service-oriented architecture.
HP is devoting considerable resources to bringing the benefits of grid computing to the enterprise. Grid is not a ready-made solution, but rather a set of components and protocols pulled together to create a solution. HP views grid computing as a powerful way to virtualize resources and create a service-oriented architecture, where IT provides resources to business on demand, like a utility.
As an enabler of the Adaptive Infrastructure, grid links the IT infrastructure dynamically to business process software, so that changing business needs can be met in real time.