Monday, August 22, 2005

What Is West Coast Grid?

At a recent GridToday event, the group spent a lot of time discussing the definition of Grid Computing. For some reason, the different definitions seem to be regionally based.

When Europeans talk about grids, they tend to mean thousands of computers across many organizations (and countries). It's a daunting task, requiring amazing amounts of coordination to get working. And, of course, you need to find compute needs that start at the thousands of computers.

The North Americans (especially those on the East Coast) have been building grids for a few years, too, but they're not doing it like the Europeans. They're concentrating on building grids within an enterprise, using mostly *NIX operating systems. They scale down to the hundreds.

My company, Digipede Technologies, is doing something entirely different. We're building a grid computing product that aims at a much larger audience: people with Windows computers, and people with problems that might benefit from scaling out to as few as 10 or 20 machines. It's a new paradigm in distributed computing: kind of "Grid computing for the rest of us." Don't get me wrong--our solution will scale up to hundreds (and thousands) of nodes--but we think it's important to have a solution that's simple enough to implement that it also makes sense to apply it to problems that need "only" a one-order-of-magnitude increase in performance.

Since we're using an operating system written in Redmond, and we're located in Oakland, we decided it would be appropriate to nickname our particular brand of distributed computing: West Coast Grid.

This blog will follow Digipede as we turn the grid computing market on it's ear.

We've already had a launch announcement, a beta program, a public release, and gotten some great reviews. What's next?

To promote the Digipede Framework SDK, we're heading off to Microsoft's PDC 05 conference in Los Angeles, September 13-16th. We'll be demonstrating our SDK, showing the world how easy it is to grid-enable their .NET applications.

The next 4 weeks should be an adventure.