Website and application hosting are emerging as highly potential areas in the service industry. As hosting technologies are getting updated quite often, it is important for the techies to update themselves to keep pace with technology. Grid computing technology has been around for a long time but was never been properly introduced into the area of website hosting. In the 1990s, the ideas of the Grid were brought together by Ian Foster, Carl Kesselman, and Steve Tuecke, widely regarded as the ‘fathers of the Grid’. Let’s now look into the nitty-gritties of Grid computing, its specialities, features and the reason, which makes it the best ally for website hosting.
Basically, Grid computing or Distributed computing is a type of parallel computing that relies on computer infrastructure (with on board CPUs, storage, power supplies, network interfaces, etc.) connected to a network (private, public or the Internet) by conventional network interface, that manufactures commodity hardware. It connects computers from multiple administrative domains to reach a common goal and may also involve the aggregation of large-scale clusters. The size of a grid may vary from small to large, based on the size of the collaborations across many companies and networks. Grids are a form of distributed computing, whereby a ‘super virtual computer’ is composed of many networked loosely coupled computers acting together to perform very large tasks.
Grid computing is suitable for applications having independent multiple parallel computations that don’t have any need to communicate intermediate results between processors. The scalability of the geographically dispersed Grids, depends on the connectivity between the nodes relative to the capacity of the public Internet. If a complex application gets paralyzed, a ‘thin’ layer of Grid infrastructure allows conventional, standalone programs even if the problem partially persists on multiple machines. This makes it possible to write and debug on a single conventional machine and eliminates complications due to multiple instances of the same program running in the same shared memory and storage space at the same time.
The best possible infrastructure for Grid computing framework is the conjoining of hardware and software by a middleware. This improves the redundancy and scalability of the entire system. Above all, a number of technical areas have to be considered, which may or may not be related to middleware. Cross platform languages can reduce the need to make huge investment in software development, though potentially at the expense of high performance (due to run-time interpretation or lack of optimization for the particular platform). Diverse scientific and commercial projects are available to harness a particular associated Grid or for the purpose of setting up new grids.
The major features of Cluster computing can be employed in the Grid, nowadays called as Supercomputing or CPU-Scavenging. Cycle-scavenging or shared computing creates a ‘Grid’ from the unused resources among a network of participants (whether worldwide or internal to an organization). Creating an Opportunistic environment is another implementation of CPU-scavenging, where special workload management system harvests the idle desktop computers for computer-intensive jobs. In short, the high end applications and websites that utilize high resources can enjoy the benefits of modern Grid computing. With its newly emerging supercomputing concepts, it seems to outrun even supercomputers of modern age.
The development of Grid computing in areas of scientific research and related domains is in progress. We could see wonders in the general hosting base from this giant application in the near future.