Grid proponents cross paths in Toronto

The Global Grid Forum last month accepted into its contingency a working group that is charged with developing a specification to enable applications to connect to and communicate with grid computing environments.

The working group, called Distributed Resource Management Application API (DRMAA and pronounced “drama”), met for the first time at the Global Grid Forum in Toronto during the week of Feb. 17. DRMAA consists of major hardware and software players, such as Intel Corp., Sun Microsystems Inc. and IBM Corp., as well as grid computing specialist Platform Computing Inc.

“Our objective is to make it easier for application builders to connect their applications to grids,” said John Tollefsrud, co-chair of the working group and a product manager for grid computing at Palo Alto, Calif.-based Sun.

Tollefsrud continued, saying that by creating the API the working group will enable applications to be deployed within grids and, in turn, will make it easier for grids to be created on a widespread basis. So when software companies and in-house developers build applications to the API, the programs will work with any grids that support the API.

DRMAA was scheduled to meet again in February and hopes to have a first draft submitted by mid-year, and then to start working on the specification later in the year.

The notion of grid computing has been garnering an increasing amount of attention lately from major hardware and software vendors. On Friday, Sun Microsystems unveiled the Technical Compute Portal, a combination of iPlanet, Sun’s Grid Engine and Sun ONE (Open Network Environment) technologies that the company said enables customers to build grid infrastructures. Compaq Computer Corp. and IBM have also made grid computing moves within the last several months.