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Grid Computing - What Is It?

scientific illustration Grid computing describes a seamless linking of SC processing facilities, data storage resources, and data producing facilities. A Grid enables cooperation through so-called Virtual Organisations across thematic, geographic, and organisational boundaries; it provides networked storage elements to tackle the data explosion problem; and it improves utilisation of computing facilities by connecting them and providing means for balancing the usage of both storage and computing equipment. When linking together various SC facilities, Grid computing provides a more powerful and holistic computational infrastructure. As data network infrastructures continue to develop, it becomes increasingly feasible to connect physically distributed facilities. Grid computing represents a point between centralised, large computer facilities and a distributed system where each research group has its own, albeit small, computer facility, which, however, is part of a larger holistic system. A virtual computer architecture is modelled, by networking/joining many heterogeneous resources across boundaries. In Denmark, as the Danish ICT network infrastructure (Forskningsnettet) becomes more powerful, it increasingly becomes not only possible, but also advantageous, to link together our shared facilities. Comparable efforts are being made in many other countries as well as on a regional and global scale. Such a process is termed Gridification of SC facilities and helps to increase flexibility, productivity, and throughput. For a computing problem to benefit from Gridification, the problem must require either large amounts of computation time or significant data handling, and it must be reducible to parallel processes that do not require intensive inter-communication. In a Gridified ICT infrastructure, scientists can submit computational jobs and access data while not really caring about where in the world, or on which systems, calculations are carried out, or where data is accessed or stored.