August 14, 2007 (Computerworld) -- Depending on who describes it, grid computing has grown from its roots in high-performance computing into an enterprise technology that provides for shared resources. Or it's an overhyped, meaningless term that will soon disappear in the wake of advances in virtualization and utility computing.
Arguments abound on what constitutes grid computing. But at its core, grid is really an enabling technology that provides on-demand access to computing resources -- including systems, storage and networking -- and data, regardless of location. And because that sounds so similar to how most vendors currently define virtualization, some analysts say the term grid computing may not stick.
The concept behind the technology will likely live on, though, as customers tap into compute power available on underutilized servers, primarily through virtualization. William Fellows, an analyst at The 451 Group and author of a report entitled "Grid Computing: State of the Market" (download PDF), maintains that the term will likely be both more significant and less used in 2007. "Grid computing will be more relevant as grids are used to support far more than high-performance computing tasks, but less used as vendors seek to be associated with far more activity, far higher up the stack, than grid computing."
Grid computing: Term may fade, but features will live on