Consortium formed to promote enterprise grids

EMC, Network Appliance, Oracle and others have put together a consortium to promote grid computing in the enterprise.

The Enterprise Grid Alliance (EGA) is concerned with computing in the data center, including databases, servers, storage and other applications. The alliance is not concerned with the operation of inter-company grids, academic research or scientific computing.

EGA will look at two classes of grid computing - enterprise applications and technical grid applications. Some of the enterprise applications the EGA will focus on are enterprise resource planning and customer relationship management.

EGA will work this year on commercial enterprise applications that are relevant to any large business. Phase two will expand to add technical grid applications. The third phase will look at grid computing and capacity-on-demand between enterprises.

The consortium has five working groups: reference model, component provisioning, data provisioning, utility accounting and grid security.

They will cooperate with other organizations such as the Desktop Management Task Force and the Global Grid Forum. The EGA will differ from the Global Grid Forum (GGF) in that GGF has a very broad focus, while EGA is more narrowly focused on the enterprise-size business and the data center.

Analysts doubt the success of a new grid alliance.

"While an alliance makes sense, it needs to drive standards," says Jamie Gruener, senior analyst with the Yankee Group. "We don't need another alliance to drive standards. It needs to be consolidated through a smaller number of standard bodies. Otherwise, we will continue to have competing standards and slow enterprise adoption."

While EGA may develop specifications, it says its will develop mechanisms for testing interoperability between grid hardware and software components and documentation of best practices. The group says that if another forum or organization has another specification, the group will adopt it.

EGA board members are EMC, Fujitsu Siemens Computers (Holding) BV, Hewlett-Packard Co., Intel Corp., NEC Corp., Network Appliance, Oracle and Sun Microsystems Inc. Other members are Advanced Micro Devices Inc., Ascential Software Corp., Cassatt Inc., Citrix Systems Inc., Data Synapse Inc., Enigmatec Corp., Force10 Networks Inc., Novell Inc., Optena Corp., Paremus Ltd. and Topspin Communications Inc.

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