Globus Toolkit roadmap detailed

The Globus Alliance in March plans to release an updated version of its Globus Toolkit for grid computing, adding performance, reliability and usability improvements and bug fixes since the 3.0 release last year, the group's co-leader said Wednesday.

After the March release of version 3.2 the Globus Alliance plans to release version 4.0 in the third quarter, said Ian Foster, speaking at the GlobusWorld 2004 conference in San Francisco. A beta for the 3.2 release is set to start soon, he said.

The 4.0 release of the Globus Toolkit will include draft WS Resource Framework (WSRF) specifications, announced earlier this week at the GlobusWorld event. WSRF encompasses the WS-Resource Lifetime and WS-Resource Properties specifications introduced at the GlobusWorld event and intended to converge Web services and grid computing.

WS-Resource Lifetime allows a user to specify a period during which a resource definition is valid and WS-Resource Properties defines how data associated with a stateful resource can be queried and changed using Web services technologies, according to a statement released Tuesday at GlobusWorld.

"We don't believe it is appropriate to wait for the specifications to wind their way through the standardization process to start implementing them," Foster said. However, this does mean that the toolkit software will need revision when the final standards arrive, probably some time next year, but the toolkit will always offer backwards compatibility, he said.

"We are very concerned with supporting our existing user base and improving our software," Foster said.

The open source Globus Toolkit is a bundle of software to enable grid computing. It includes software services and libraries for resource monitoring, discovery and management, plus security and file management. The toolkit is a central part of science and engineering grid projects and used by IT vendors for commercial grid products.

A Globus Toolkit 4.0 beta is slated for the second quarter, Foster said. A 4.2 release is planned for next year, he said.

Foster is senior scientist and associate director of the Mathematics and Computer Science Division at Argonne National Laboratory, professor of computer science at the University of Chicago, senior fellow in the Argonne/University of Chicago Computation Institute and co-leader of the Globus Alliance, according to the GlobusWorld Web site.

Grid computing allows users to treat groups of servers and storage equipment as if they were a single large machine and to assign computing resources to applications on an as-needed basis. Grid advocates say this will make applications more reliable and allow for more efficient use of computing resources, which should result in cost savings. Vendors including IBM Corp., Sun Microsystems Inc. and Oracle Corp. have outlined grid strategies.

More information about the Globus Toolkit can be found at:

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