Platform sends grid software into beta

In another step toward the commercial acceptance of distributed grid computing, Platform Computing Inc. on Tuesday at the Global Grid Forum in Toronto announced the beta availability of Platform Globus, a commercial software suite packed with technology from the Globus Toolkit.

The Globus Toolkit, developed by the Globus Project, a grid computing research organization, provides technology guidelines to deliver tighter integration between grid computing networks and Web service technologies, improvements to key grid protocols, database support, integration with J2EE (Java 2 enterprise Edition), and an array of other grid-oriented features, according to Globus.

With Platform Globus, Toronto-based Platform Computing has fine-tuned the Globus grid tools for commercial use, enabling companies to link both local and geographically distributed computing resources into a working computational grid capable of processing jobs faster than any individual computer on the grid, according to Platform officials.

Platform Globus is compatible with all major Unix and Linux operating environments and runs atop Platforms existing grid computing software tools.

Available to the industry next month, Platform Globus delivers the Globus Toolkit software, documentation and technical support for grid computing, professional services dealing with the installation and configuration of a grid network, customization procedures, and grid computing training. Platform Computing will also offer services for Grid security, design, planning, and integration, according to Platform representatives.

While Platform Globus advances the effort to standardize a flavor of grid computing for enterprise businesses, a true, universal grid computing standard may never be reached, said Geoffrey Fox, a grid researcher at Indiana University and a Global Grid Forum attendee.

“There are some standards, like security standards,” that will be firmly established, Fox said. “But as the core technologies are changing so fast it’s rather hard [to forge a standard]. Think of standards like Web services; they are less than a year old, yet they are a dominate theme [in grid computing]. So I think it’s hard to believe you could get viable standards under those circumstances.”

Fox added that he expects the companies involved in grid computing to agree on standards via a consensus, though some consensus standards won’t be made into formal standards.

Platform Computing in Toronto is at