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Network World - The Open Grid Forum, a standards organization focused on Grid Computing, counts EMC, HP, IBM, Intel and Microsoft among its members. Mark Linesch has taken leave from HP, where he had been vice president of the adaptive enterprise program, to head the organization. He discussed advances in storage-grid standards, the differences between storage grids and clusters, and the convergence of server and storage grids with Network World Senior Editor Deni Connor.
Storage grids are heterogeneous in nature. Is that what differentiates them from clustered file systems?
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Yes, but it's also the notion of location. In a gridlike structure, storage can be in one place or in many places, [and] it can be from one vendor or many vendors. When you talk about shared storage and clustered file systems, you are looking at a single-vendor solution.
What types of enterprises are deploying storage grids today?
Companies that are managing large amounts of customer data, for example, financial institutions, banks, brokerages and retailers. Grids started in the high-performance-computing area, primarily with engineers and scientists, then moved toward very-high-performance line-of-business applications in finance, pharma, energy and manufacturing.
What work is the OGF doing toward managing grids, file systems and virtualization?
We are working on a variety of standards for the compute, network and storage infrastructure, all the way from describing jobs to being able to move and manage data. We have working groups that are defining a grid file system and developing a naming scheme, which provides a way to manipulate storage without having to worry about the physical location of the storage. We're also doing work around a storage resource manager that can optimize distributed data within a grid.