Politics hampers Grid growth

Organizational politics – not technology – is slowing the widespread acceptance of Grid computing, which enables companies to utilize the combined computational resources of geographically dispersed computers.

According to a recent study of 50 global companies, non-technical fears surrounding Grid computing include a loss of control or access to resources, risks associated with enterprise-wide deployment, and a perceived loss or reduction of budget dollars.

“As a result of the political and organizational issues surrounding enterprise-wide Grid deployment, companies are missing major opportunities to dramatically reduce costs, leverage existing IT resources and increase competitive advantage through Grid computing technology,” said Ian Baird, the chief business architect for software firm Platform Computing, which commissioned the study.

The survey found respondents were optimistic about being able to overcome obstacles if the benefits of Grid computing were reinforced throughout the organization, and if senior executives understood the strategic value to the enterprise.

“We have been advocating a move to more service-oriented approaches, where organizations should care about service levels, not about which servers they own,” said Thomas Bittman a research analyst with Gartner Inc. “In many companies, organizational or culture issues are keeping them from becoming more efficient. We need to remove the perception of the application being directly linked to the box. As we move to virtualized and Grid environments, people need to adapt.”

According to industry estimates, the world-wide Grid computing market is expected to increase from US$180 million today to US$4.1 billion by 2005.